Is War in the Sixth Domain the End of Clausewitz? (Blogs of War)

Dec 16th, 2012 technology

A few days ago I posted a link to a Wired article by Chloe Diggins & Clint Arizmedi concerning the (possible) sixth domain of warfare: the human mind.  Trolling around Twitter, I came across Blogs of War, and in doing so, I came across another great article by Diggins & Arizmendi concerning the very same topic.

I highly recommend Diggins & Arizmendi’s Blogs of War article as it goes into greater depth concerning the potential of manipulating Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) as a component of information operations.  Unbeknownst to me, the 21st USENIX Security Symposium took up this very same topic.

I don’t know if people reading this blog–or NatSec types in general–think this idea is too speculative, too out there.  Hacking into the brain?  Really?  We can’t even figure out how to protect our IP or electrical grids, and we’re talking about this?

Well, the National Intelligence Council thought BCI technology was worth discussing in its Global Trends 2030 report.  Granted, the aim of that publication is to speculate, but speculate in a manner that gives us “some long-term, strategic guidance to the folks shaping America’s security and economic policies.”

In his fantastic book Wired for War, P.W. Singer recounts how a paralyzed man had a computer chip implanted into his head.  The chip allowed the man to “move[] a cursor on a computer screen . . . play video games ‘by just imaging it’ . . . even [have] the scientists link his brain to his TV’s remote control.”  Singer goes on to say that:

This ability to link up to a computer directly opens up some wild new possibilities for war, which is why the Pentagon’s DARPA helped pay for the research.  It’s Brain-Interface Project is ‘the most lavishly funded of nearly all the DARPA bioengineering efforts.  A project run out of the National Institutes of Health took it to the next step, where two severely disabled patients played a video game against each other, both controlling their sides solely by thought.

Quoted material comes from pages 71-72 of Singer’s Wired for War.

The potential applications of this technology is both fascinating and terrifying, and I feel like this is the next big legal/ethical/technological event on the NatSec horizon.  I gotta imagine this would make a sexy law review note topic, but I have no idea what sort of material you could write it with.  Then again, maybe I’m just reading too much Neuromancer . . .


Via Wikimedia



Please follow and like us:

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “Is War in the Sixth Domain the End of Clausewitz? (Blogs of War)”

  1. […] Is War in the Sixth Domain the End of Clausewitz? […]

  2. […] while back I wrote on the concept of brain-computer interfaces, or BCIs (here too).  I’m really fascinated with this technology because it could bring a revolution that […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Untitled Document
Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography


Follow by Email