Symbiosis of Terrorist Tactics and High Tech

Monday, 16 July 2018: 14:45
Location: John Bassett Theatre (102) (MTCC NORTH BUILDING)
Oral Presentation
Randall COLLINS, University of Pennsylvania, USA
The increasing power of military weapons, combined with aerial surveillance, satellites, sensors and long-distance global communications, has dispersed the military battlefield. Resource-poor forces have responded, first with guerrilla tactics against isolated bases and supply lines; and then with terrorist tactics, hiding in the civilian population and attacking civilians as softer targets. Terrorism grows in symbiosis with high tech weapons and communications because the weaker side cannot win on conventional battlefields. Insurgents also use the global internet and GPS for their own battle communications, targeting IEDs by mobile phones via distant Internet cafes. Cyber-war grows as a cheap resource for insurgents, because they operate within the same global communications as their resource-rich enemies. Western militaries now anticipate that GPS and the Internet will be shut down during a major war, either by enemy cyber attack, or by Great Power initiative to pre-empt insurgents from using it. The next move may be away from relying on global networks in war, returning to low-tech backup systems: high-tech stalemate driving a return to earlier forms of warfare.