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A-to-Z Rule Set for Processing Politically Bankrupt States

  1. UN Security Council indicts
  2. G-20, acting as functioning executive, unleashes the Leviathan and finances reconstruction
  3. Leviathan intervenes
  4. SysAdmin stabilizes and begins nation-building
  5. International Reconstruction Fund oversees rebuild
  6. International Criminal Court adjudicates identified war criminals


Asymmetrical Warfare

A conflict between two foes of vastly different capabilities. After the Red Army dissolved in the 1990s, the U.S. military knew it was basically unbeatable, especially in a straight-up fight. But that meant that much smaller opponents would seek to negate its strengths by exploiting its weaknesses, by being clever and "dirty" in combat. On 9/11, America got a real dose of what asymmetrical warfare is going to be like in the twenty-first century.


Big Bang

Refers to the strategy (alas, seldom articulated) of the Bush administration to trigger widespread political, social, economic, and ultimately security change in the Middle East through the initial spark caused by the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and the hoped-for emergence of a truly market-based, democratic Arab state. Thus, the Big Bang aimed primarily for a demonstration effect, but likewise was also a direct, in-your-face attempt by the Bush administration to shake things up in the stagnant Middle East, where decades of diplomacy and military crisis response by outside forces (primarily the United States) had accomplished basically nothing. The implied threat of the Big Bang was “We’re not leaving the region until the region truly joins the global economy in a broadband fashion, leading to political pluralism domestically.” The Big Bang was a bold strategic move by Bush, one that I supported. All terrorism is local, so either deal with that or resort to firewalling America off from the outside world.


Caboose Braking

The situation that arises when a country's elites or more competitive segments (the engine) wire themselves up to globalization more quickly than the weaker portions of society (the caboose) can accommodate.  The "caboose" is typically the inland, rural, more agricultural base of the population, which likewise constitutes the bulk of poverty in any country--including the US. Caboose braking can range from voting more populist candidates into office in democracies (e.g., India's Congress Party) to political unrest and violent protest in authoritarian states (e.g., tens of thousands of peasant riots in China).



The enormous changes being brought on by the information revolution, including the emerging financial, technological, and logistical architecture of the global economy (i.e., the movement of money, services accompanied by content, and people and materials). During the boom times of the 1990s, many thought that advances in communications such as the Internet and mobile phones would trump all, erasing the business cycle, erasing national borders, erasing the very utility of the state in managing a global security order that seemed more virtual than real, but 9/11 proved differently. That connectivity, while a profoundly transforming force, could not by itself maintain global security, primarily because a substantial rise in connectivity between any nation and the outside world typically leads to a host of tumultuous reactions, including heightened nationalism and religiosity.


Core/Functioning Core

Those parts of the world that are actively integrating their national economies into a global economy and that adhere to globalization’s emerging security rule set. The Functioning Core at present consists of North America, Europe both “old” and “new,” Russia, Japan and South Korea, China (although the interior far less so), India (in a pockmarked sense), Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and the ABCs of South America (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile). That is roughly 4 billion out of a global population of more than 6 billion. The Functioning Core can be subdivided into the:


  • Old Core, anchored by America, Europe, and Japan; and the
  • New Core, whose leading pillars are China, India, Brazil, and Russia.


There is no substantial threat of intra-Core war among these great powers. However, there remain competing rule sets regarding what constitutes proper Core interventions inside the Gap, as recently indicated by Russia’s contested intervention in Georgia’s ongoing civil strife.


Department of Everything Else

A back-to-the-future proposal (first offered in Blueprint for Action) to return to the past structure when the Army was the Department of War and the Navy was the “Department of Peace” (especially business continuity). This department would fill the gap between the current Departments of Defense and State, engaging in unconventional pursuits such as nation-building, disaster relief, and counterinsurgency. In many ways, it could be a virtual department, bringing together various resources from the government, nongovernmental organization, and business sectors, along with foreign governments and the linchpin SysAdmin force. Compare the virtual department with the way movie companies work, coming together to make a film, then dissolving. Such a virtual department would work an Iraq one way and a Sudan very differently. In contrast with the Department of Homeland Security, our first and greatest strategic error in the long war on terror, the Department of Everything Else would realize that our American networks are only as secure as every network they are connected to. Such a department would feature many more civilian and older, wiser roles when compared with the current Defense Department.



In this century, it is disconnectedness that defines danger. Disconnectedness allows bad actors to flourish by keeping entire societies detached from the global community and under their dictatorial control, or in the case of failed states, it allows dangerous transnational actors to exploit the resulting chaos to their own dangerous ends. Eradicating disconnectedness is the defining security task of our age, as well as a supreme moral cause in the cases of those who suffer it against their will. Just as important, however, by expanding the connectivity of globalization, we increase peace and prosperity planet-wide.


Frontier Integration

Globalization has entered into an extended period of frontier integration—as in economic and network integration of previously off-grid or poorly connected societies. The historical example par excellence is the settling and taming of the American West after the Civil War. The chief activities are infrastructure building, the extension of social networks and rule of law, state building, the generation of permanent and pervasive security, the squelching of insurgencies and criminal mafias, and the formal marketization of existing and new economic activities—to include both “exploiting” the labor of and selling to the so-called bottom-of-the-pyramid population. America’s frontier integration was continental-sized, involving millions. Today’s project targets the globe’s entire Gap, involving billions in so-called emerging or frontier economies. It also involves the impoverished rural regions of New Core pillars such as China and India. In general, neither Americans nor Europeans will lead this frontier integration effort. We price out too high. Instead, the frontierintegrators of the age will be mostly Asians, who know better how to jump-start development in these harsher environments. America’s role can be to mentor and enable the integrators, helping especially on security, or we can sit the whole thing out and hope for the best in terms of resulting political outcomes.


Gap/Non-Integrated Gap

Regions of the world that are largely disconnected from the global economy and the rule sets that define its stability. Today, the Non-Integrated Gap is made up of the Caribbean Rim, Andean South America, virtually all of Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and most of the Southeast Asian littoral. These regions constitute globalization’s “ozone hole,” where connectivity remains thin or absent in far too many cases. Of course, each region contains some countries that are very Core-like in their attributes (just as there are Gap-like pockets throughout the Core defined primarily by poverty), but these are like mansions in an otherwise seedy neighborhood, and as such are trapped by these larger Gap-defining circumstances.



The worldwide integration and increasing flows of trade, capital, ideas, and people. Until 9/11, the U.S. government tended to identify globalization primarily as an economic rule set, but thanks to the long war against violent extremism, we now understand that it likewise demands the clear enunciation and enforcement of a security rule set as well.


Globalization I, II, III & IV

The history of globalization can divided into three parts, each governed by its own rule set:


  • Globalization I (1870 to 1914), was ended by the start of World War I;
  • Globalization II (1945 to 1980), was initiated by the United States at the end of World War II, and continued until the effective end of the Cold War;
  • Globalization III (1980 -2001) was an era of relative peace and enormous economic growth around the world that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, but whose rule sets have now been challenged by rogue states and international terrorists, as exemplified by 9/11; and
  • Globalization IV (2001-present), is defined by the enormous structural changes wrought by the simultaneous rise of numerous great powers and the emergence of a global middle class



Grand Strategy

As far as a world power like America is concerned, a grand strategy involves first imagining some future world order within which our nation’s standing, prosperity, and security are significantly enhanced, and then plotting and maintaining a course to that desired end while employing—to the fullest extent possible—all elements of our nation’s power toward generating those conditions. Naturally, such grand goals typically take decades to achieve, thus the importance of having a continuous supply of grand thinkers able to maintain strategic focus.


Greater Inclusive

What we need to create as we expand our definition of national security crises in the age of globalization. After more than half a century of almost complete isolation from the rest of the world as it sought to guard against the terror of nuclear war, the Pentagon needs to reconnect to the world--to war within the context of everything else. We need to break up the old hierarchies between the "big one" and all the lesser includeds. We need something that covers the whole enchilada--that makes us one with everything. We need a greater inclusive.


Lesser Included

Pentagon long-range planning during the Cold War had been very simple: always keep our forces ahead of the Soviets by matching the size of their forces and pursuing the latest technological advances. World War III constituted the "Big One" against which all long-range planning proceeded. Everything else the U.S. military did in terms of operations around the world was bundled together in the concept of the "lesser includeds." Even though the U.S. military spent over ninety percent of the Cold War engaged in such lesser includeds, its force-sizing principle remained the Big One with the Soviets. The forces of globalization and 9/11 made clear that there wasn't going to be a Big One--the lesser includeds were the whole ball game.



The U.S. military’s warfighting capacity and the high-performance combat troops, weapon systems, aircraft, armor, and ships associated with all-out war against traditionally defined opponents (i.e., other great-power militaries). This is the force America created to defend the West against the Soviet threat, now transformed from its industrial-era roots to its information-age capacity for high-speed, high-lethality, and high-precision major combat operations. The Leviathan force is without peer in the world today, and—as such—frequently finds itself fighting shorter and easier wars. This “overmatch” means, however, that current and future enemies in the long war on violent extremism will largely seek to avoid triggering the Leviathan’s employment, preferring to wage asymmetrical war against the United States, focusing on its economic interests and citizenry. The Leviathan rules the “first half” of war, but it is often ill suited, by design and temperament, to the “second half” of peace, to include postconflict stabilization-and-reconstruction operations and counterinsurgency campaigns. It is thus counterposed to the System Administrators force.


Military-Market Nexus

The seam between war and peace, or the link between war and the "everything else" that is globalization. The nexus describes the underlying reality that the warrior culture of the military both supports and is supported by, the merchant culture of the business world. I express this interrelationship in the form of a "ten commandments for globalization":


  1. Look for resources and ye shall find, but...
  2. No stability, no markets;
  3. No growth, no stability;
  4. No resources, no growth;
  5. No infrastructure, no resources;
  6. No money, no infrastructure;
  7. No rules, no money;
  8. No security, no rules;
  9. No Leviathan, no security; and
  10. No (American) will, no Leviathan.


Understanding the military-market link is not just good business, it is good national security strategy.


Military Operations Other Than War

How the Pentagon defines crisis response activity, nation-building, peacekeeping, counterinsurgency and so forth--everything outside of major warfare. Abbreviated MOOTW (pronounced "moo-twah"), it held a very low priority before 9/11.


Rule Set

A collection of rules (both formal and informal) that delineates how some activity normally unfolds. The Pentagon’s New Map explores the new rule sets concerning conflict and violence in international affairs—or under what conditions governments decide it makes sense to switch from the rule set that defines peace to the rule set that defines war. The events of 9/11 shocked the Pentagon and the rest of the world into the realization that we needed a new rule set concerning war and peace, one that replaces the old rule set that governed America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union. The book explained how the new rule set will actually work in the years ahead, not just from America’s perspective but from an international one.


Rule-Set Reset

When a crisis triggers your realization that your world is woefully lacking certain types of rules, you start making up those new rules with a vengeance (e.g., the Patriot Act and the doctrine of preemption following 9/11). Such a rule-set reset can be a very good thing. But it can also be a very dangerous time, because in your rush to fill in all the rule-set gaps, your cure may end up being worse than your disease. The world is currently engaged in such a reset concerning international financial flows, in response to America’s subprime crisis.


Seam States

The countries that ring the Gap--such as Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Some are already members of the Core, and most others are serious candidates for joining the Core. These states are important with regard to international security, because they provide terrorists geographic access to the Core. The U.S. security strategy regarding these states is simple: get them to increase their security practices as much as possible and to close whatever loopholes exist.


SysAdmin/System Administrators

The “second half” blended force that wages the peace after the Leviathan force has successfully waged war. Therefore, it is a force optimized for such categories of operations as “stability and support operations” (SASO), postconflict stabilization and reconstruction operations, “humanitarian assistance/disaster relief” (HA/DR), and any and all operations associated with low-intensity conflict (LIC), counterinsurgency operations (COIN), and small-scale crisis response. Beyond such military-intensive activities, the SysAdmin force likewise provides civil security with its police component, as well as civilian personnel with expertise in rebuilding networks, infrastructure, and social and political institutions. While the core security and logistical capabilities are derived from uniformed military components, the SysAdmin force is fundamentally envisioned as a standing capacity for interagency (i.e., among various U.S. federal agencies) and international collaboration in nation-building, meaning that both the SysAdmin force and function end up being more civilian than uniform in composition, more government-wide than just Defense Department, more rest-of-the-world than just the United States, and more private-sector-invested than public-sector-funded.


System Perturbation

A system-level definition of crisis and instability in the age of globalization; a new ordering principle that has already begun to transform the military and U.S. security policy; also a particular event that forces a country or region to rethink everything. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 served as the first great “existence proof” for this concept, but there have been and will be others over time. Some are purposeful, like the Bush administration’s Big Bang strategy of fomenting political change in the Middle East, but others will be accidents, like the Asian tsunamis of December 2004, or America’s recent financial crises.


Zero-sum versus Nonzero-sum

Zero-sum refers to situations/transactions/environments where the resource in question is actually or just perceived to be fixed in size and therefore cannot be enlarged.  As a result, competition is more intense:  If I get 80% of the resource, you can only have 20%, or everything that I "win," you must "lose."  Humans tended to view economics exclusively in this manner until the Industrial--and "industrious"--Revolution began at the start of the 19th Century.  A good example is the concept of mercantilism--as in, the only "good" trade is that which generates a surplus of a precious commodity (throughout history, the focus here was on accumulating gold, a perceived fixed-sum resource because the world's supply grew irregularly).  Until the Industrial Revolution alerted humanity to the possibilities of escaping the limits of organic growth by creating new resources (i.e., the 19th century is considered the century of chemistry, resulting in all sorts of new chemicals and compounds, as well as substances and production processes made possible by them), Malthusian logic held (the notion posited by scientist and philosopher Thomas Malthus that wealth and demographic growth were inversely related--meaning, the more people a society accumulated, the poorer it became in aggregate, because there was only so much wealth to go around).  But with the Industrial Revolution, the causal relationship between population and economic wealth was broken: portions of humanity (primarily the West) got very rich and populous (exporting immigrants globally).  Now, as globalization spreads to those parts of the world previously denied deep economic connectivity, new Malthusian fears arise, creating suspicions of future zero-sum contests over resources.  But, as in the past, such fears will prove groundless:  when certain resources become "exhausted" in the sense that the cost of accessing them becomes too high (like oil), humanity will move on to new technologies that exploit resources in different and more efficient (and less pollutive) ways.  As a final note, when it comes to matters of threat, consider defense to be more zero-sum in perception (i.e., the more defense I have, the less you perceive yourself to have), while the interdependency of globalization shifts the matter from individual (or even collective) defense to that of shared security, which is truly nonzero-sum (i.e., the more security I build into my system, or into yours, the safer we both are).