22 June 2014

Asymmetric Warfare: Board Room to Battlefield...

The planet Earth is experiencing a multitude of historical and 21st century "Asymmetric Wars" from the Board Rooms of the Global 500, Internet Cafes of Third World countries and the Miranshah.

Operational Risk Management (ORM) doctrine will continue to be a factor:


  [ey-suh-me-trik, as-uh-]  Show IPA
not identical on both sides of a central line;
"Asymmetric warfare" can describe a conflict in which the resources of two belligerents differ in essence and in the struggle, interact and attempt to exploit each other's characteristic weaknesses. Such struggles often involve strategies and tactics of unconventional warfare, the "weaker" combatants attempting to use strategy to offset deficiencies in quantity or quality.[1] Such strategies may not necessarily be militarized.[2] This is in contrast to symmetric warfare, where two powers have similar military power and resources and rely on tactics that are similar overall, differing only in details and execution.
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) perfected the car bomb against the British.  Now "Improvised Explosive Devices" (IED) and suicide bombers continue to be the single greatest threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan as we withdraw and in Iraq as we engage once again. The Middle East has been embroiled in conflicts with the modern use of "Social Media" and an asymmetric rebel element to initiate change in labor laws or to overthrow a nation states leadership.

A laymen may not understand the relevance of "Asymmetric Warfare" on the corporate battlefield. Some would describe the age old tactic of industrial espionage, competitive intelligence or even patent litigation as a method for a small unknown company to gain an advantage over a much larger and established institution. This is a strategy of Asymmetric Warfare, nothing new. In any case, the perception is that the small and agile still have the means, tools and tactics to defeat the large and overbearing with the benefit of time, resources and the will of the people.

So what are some good examples of modern day asymmetric conflicts:
  • Apple vs. Google
  • NATO vs. Putin
  • Sunni vs. Shiite
  • BMW vs. Jaguar
  • Earth vs. Anonymous
  • Taliban vs. Afghans
  • United States vs. Jones
Each of these represent a conflict between two able parties, regardless of the perception of who is the "David" and who is the "Goliath". So what can your organization or nations state do to prepare yourself for the inevitable risks that will be associated with doing business or operating your enterprise across countries and in hostile environments? By providing your employees and stakeholders the best education, research, training and exercise programs; technology test and evaluation and capability improvement programs that your resources can offer.  Why?  In a few words, to make faster and more informed "Trust Decisions".

The desire to Deter, Detect, Defend and Document is prudent doctrine in Operational Risk Management (ORM). You may call these steps or tactics by other names in your particular process; such as Observe, Orient, Decide Act. What matters most is that the environment and landscape for the "Asymmetric Threats" and "Asymmetric Warfare" will continue to be challenging and dynamic.
WASHINGTON — Judges around the country are grappling with the ripple effects of a 2-year-old Supreme Court ruling on GPS tracking, reaching conflicting conclusions on the case’s broader meaning and tackling unresolved questions that flare in a world where privacy and technology increasingly collide. 
The January 2012 opinion in United States v. Jones set constitutional boundaries for law enforcement’s use of GPS devices to track the whereabouts of criminal suspects. But the different legal rationales offered by the justices have left a muddled legal landscape for police and lower-court judges, who have struggled in the last two years with how and when to apply the decision — especially at a time when new technologies are developed at a faster rate than judicial opinions are issued. 
The result is that courts in different jurisdictions have reached different conclusions on similar issues, providing little uniformity for law enforcement and judges on core constitutional questions. Technological advancements are forcing the issue more and more, a development magnified by a heightened national debate over privacy versus surveillance and the disclosure of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records.

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