"The United States and Israel have each fought conventional armies of nation-states and shadowy terror organizations. But Hezbollah, with the sophistication of a national army (it almost sank an Israeli warship with a cruise missile) and the lethal invisibility of a guerrilla army, is a hybrid. Old labels, and old planning, do not apply. Certainly its style of 21st-century combat is known — on paper. The style even has its own labels, including network warfare, or net war, and fourth-generation warfare, although many in the military don’t care for such titles. But the battlefields of south Lebanon prove that it is here, and sooner than expected. And the American national security establishment is struggling to adapt.
“We are now into the first great war between nations and networks,” said John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, and a leading analyst of net warfare. “This proves the growing strength of networks as a threat to American national security.”
In a talk that Mr. Arquilla calls Net Warfare 101, he describes how traditional militaries are organized in a strict hierarchy, from generals down to privates. In contrast, networks flatten the command structure. They are distributed, dispersed, agile, mobile, improvisational. This makes them effective, and hard to track and target.
A net war differs from all previous wars, which were about brute confrontation of forces, mass on mass — what Matthew Arnold called bloody contests of “ignorant armies” meeting on the “darkling plain.”
Net war is the battle of the many, organized in small units, against conventional militaries that organize their many into large units. These network forces are not ignorant. They are computer literate, propaganda and Internet savvy, and capable of firing complicated weapons to great effect.
“The pooling of information is certainly a characteristic of these kinds of insurgencies,” said Daniel Benjamin, who served on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton before joining the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “In Iraq, for example, the lessons on how to build and place I.E.D.’s have spread and been assimilated in record time. There is certain to be the insurgent equivalent of a PowerPoint presentation on Hezbollah’s successes that will make the rounds of the insurgent and terrorist Web sites.”
and... at the end of the column, the most prescient quote:
“Most critically, we have to get better at — it’s such a cliché — winning hearts and minds,” said a military officer working on counterinsurgency issues. “That is influencing neutral populations toward supporting us and not supporting our terrorist and insurgent enemies.”"Winning hearts and minds" is also the central business problem of customer facing business in the GME.