The 8/26/2011 issue of netgov (http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20110826_6276.php) had an article “Analysts say online ‘hactivism’ is becoming a preferred tool of protests”. The article proposes that Computer Network Attack (CNA) has emerged as a powerful force for protesters. The article talks about the protests against the San Francisco centered Bay Area Rapid Transit System which appear to be organized by the group Anonymous.
That group has innovated in its TTP (tactics, techniques and procedures) by combing CNA with on ground activity. The attack vectors are dependent on the desired result. If the group is looking to harm a target whose actions it opposes, it has turned to cyber attack as in the case of attacking Visa because it decided to stop accepting donations to Wikileaks.
Where the goal is more traditional – say blocking traffic, protesting on subway platforms or interfering with the daily commute the organization will demonstrate physically. They shield their identities in a number of ways with the Guy Fawkes mask featured in the movie “V for Vendetta” being a common means.
When dealing with urban AOs today’s MISO needs to be at least as flexible and techno savvy as our adversaries and enemies. We must appropriately employing digital influence and digital PSYACTs. Unlike non-state actors, military organizations must play by the rules. Unfortunately, in the case of the digital world the laws, rules, and doctrine have not kept pace with the battle. Computer Network Operations (CNO) are still pretty much behind the 21st century ‘green door’ and tactical MISO soldiers are not likely to have the CNO tools and authority.
MISO is often marked by innovation on the ground, SWC and the MISO chains of command need to support digital influence in a big way. Perhaps the new MISG can establish a joint ‘center of excellence’ with the other PSYOP Groups to develop doctrine, and TTP. This Digital MISO Center of Excellence should be located at the Naval Post Graduate School so that it could benefit from the latest in IO thought leadership. Fort Hunter Liggett should be considered as a proving ground where the technique could be honed in relative isolation and supported by both Active and Reserve personnel.