Military eyes virtual war on terror

Military eyes virtual war on terror

Terrorists are turning our own inventions against us, says military theorist Capt. Terry Pierce, an associate dean at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

'The 9/11 terrorists took existing technology that we invented'airliners'and turned them into bombs,' he said. 'Terrorists are using other technologies we invented, such as the Internet, mobile phones and instant messaging, that have a global reach.'

The U.S. military is 'very good at fighting force-on-force or state-on-state,' Pierce said. 'The terrorists can't compete with us at that level, so they go to a different level. They become embedded within the population. We have to go to a different method' to separate them from the civilians.

Pierce said the postgraduate school, Office of Naval Research and Homeland Security Department are all working on so-called precipitating technologies to decloak the terrorists. 'We've accepted that terrorists are operating in this new domain,' he said.

Although Pierce cited technological innovations such as unmanned aerial vehicles and microsatellites as 'potentially very disruptive,' he said it is equally important to develop social science constructs by studying how terrorists form worldwide networks.

Another weapon, he said, is the joint expeditionary strike group, commanded by leaders who are not afraid to exploit technology in unexpected ways.

In one ESG exercise he participated in, Pierce said, 'we took advantage of the fact that we were so far away from Washington and could do some innovative things. The sailors and Marines experimented with technology in different ways without the typical oversight by contractors telling them how to use it.'

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