The Civilian Battlefield and the Internet of Things

As part of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to rebuild our depleted armed forces, the administration called for a significant military budget increase.  Trump signed the fiscal 2018 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) into law during December 2017.  It authorizes about $700 billion for the U.S. military.  That number is a rough estimate.  For the sake of argument, let’s just say it’s in excess of a half trillion dollars.  Hey, what’s a few hundred billion between friends?

There exists a provision that could force the federal government to upgrade its out-of-date IT systems.   If you’re unaware that IT stands for information technology, don’t bother continue reading.

The U.S. government currently spends about 80 billion dollars per year on IT.  That’s a relatively hefty sum.

The Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act is part of the NDAA.  But it’s facing some roadblocks in Congress.  One of its goals is to establish a $500 million fund for updating IT systems.

A premise of the new initiative is to improve technological connectivity.  This falls under the wireless heading of the “Alliance for the Internet of Battlefield Things Research on Evolving Intelligent Goal-driven Networks” (or AIBT REIGN for short).  Oh, those helpful GAT KOG LALs (government acronyms that keep on getting longer and longer)!

AIBT REIGN has been assigned the task of devising applications for “wireless rifles.”  The ultimate objective being to have them securely and remotely manned via the internet.  If you ask me, that’s a bit unsettling.  Seems like it could literally back-fire.  Conducting short range arms fire from Colorado in places like Afghanistan?  But I do suppose it would realistically prevent loss of life and reduce future health care costs.  Regardless, you’ll soon understand why this is relevant.

Oh, and by the way, remote warfare is already here.  It’s been here for quite some time.  Newsflash: U.S. CentCom is headquartered in Tampa.  Lots of “stuff” going on down there.

My point — tactics and strategies evolve, weapons evolve, the military itself evolves.  This has been happening since the dawn of civilization.  It’s called military theory.  And there’s one thing we can say with absolute certainty.  As long as war exists, warfare will never be stagnant.  The historical evidence is irrefutable.

PIVOT.

When I’m asked about the “artificially generated stampede,” I often get two specific questions.  The first one — How would they get everyone’s cell phone number?  I’ve written a plethora of articles about that one.  So I’ll address the other commonly asked question — Has anything like this ever happened before?

“Well of course it has!  Don’t you remember last year’s Super Bowl when a cellular-induced panic led to a massive stampede at NRG Stadium in Houston (43 dead, 320 injured)?  Surely that was the real headline!  Not the New England Patriots record 2nd half comeback and stunning overtime victory.

My true reply — “You need to analyze that question with a long-term event horizon.”  The superior question is… “Will something like this ever be attempted?  And if so, shouldn’t we do something about it?  What steps are being taken to prevent it?  And most importantly, why is such generic subject matter largely unavailable for public consumption?  Why is it undiscussable?”  The answers are disturbing… but important.  Hey, that’s kinda the reason I created the site.

In keeping with that spirit, here’s a thought.  Military rifles and cell phones have something in common.  Both are still evolving.

Most people never envisioned a cell phone being used as a high resolution camera.  Or to execute a stock trade.  Or to monitor blood glucose levels.  Or function as a television remote control.  Or activate your outdoor lights.  Or offer precision geo-location via tri-lateration (cellular scavenger hunts).  Or be attached to a drone and capture and transmit real-time video, to best analyze the projected path of wildfires and devise rapid response plans.

Back in the day, cell phones were only used for “wireless talking.”  But over time, things change.  Much like Peter Brady’s unique vocals during a riveting studio performance of The Brady Bunch Kids — When it’s time to change, you have to rearrange.

Alright, now in the words of a slightly more prolific rock’n’roll band, Led Zeppelin, let’s bring it on home.

Cell phones can function as weapons.  People just don’t know it… yet.

Civilian planes were hijacked and used as weapons… to target large buildings.
Cell phones can be hijacked and used as weapons… to target large buildings.

At a brief glimpse, it would appear that U.S. military interventionism worldwide is on the upswing.  This has been the case for several decades.  It’s called “empire.”

All military conflicts have one thing in common.  That being a resistance.  People don’t appreciate being invaded, attacked and occupied.  Hint: They fight back.  Sometimes in ways that are unanticipated and unpredictable.

Think about the evolution in play.  Give it some thought.  If you successfully completed this article, you’ll probably get there.