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ROFCB Commander

Leadership 101: THE DIGITAL WARRIOR

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Today is Day Seven of the twenty-day "Leadership 101" series I'll be posting. This series expresses my thoughts on some topics important to the successful leadership of a local unit, and asks other unit leaders to post their thoughts, ideas, and experiences on the same subject in hopes that together we can help those who are starting from scratch with unit-building.

 

Today's topic--"The Digital Warrior".

 

Today's militia is all too often lost in yesterday's methodology. The idea that we should train in the woods for conflict that is likely to occur in the urban environment, for instance, is outdated; but this is what many of us still do. Why? In part because it's convenient (it's a bit difficult to go into the city and move from building to building while shooting our guns); but also because "that's how we've always done it".

 

Today's battlefield is very different from the one we're used to and have been expecting. And today's battlefield exists across all the geographical terrains--and a few that have no geography at all. The "virtual space" that encompasses every aspect of our lives these days is a vast and far-reaching battlefield--of ideas, of communication, of terroristic activity, of information warfare, and even of actual battle coordination for those units that are fighting with guns.

 

And it's a battleground we're far, far behind in learning how to compete within.

 

It is the realm of The Digital Warrior...that non-soldier who will defeat and destroy the soldier just as surely as a sniper or a mortar round. He has to be accounted for, and neutralized. And it won't happen by shooting our guns in the woods.

 

So who is The Digital Warrior? What does he do?

 

I'd like to share with you one recent example. How many of you saw this headline (right here on this site)..."Heavily-armed thousand-man unit marches on Stone Mountain" (or something to that effect)?

 

It was, of course, detailing the NFAC action that took place at Stone Mountain, GA on July 4th. The headline was taken directly from mainstream media sources, and scared the bejeezus out of a lot of us. In fact, a headline very similar to that is what drove me to MyMilitia in the first place...because if thousand man heavily armed units are on the march, we all need to get ready!

 

Except it wasn't. What it was was in part "digital warfare"; a disinformation campaign carefully crafted and parroted by a complicit media to have exactly the effect it had. Scary video was shot of scary "warriors" with scary weapons, highlighted by a charismatic and threatening "face" who seemed to be the leader. Many people were taken in by this display of--what, exactly?

 

Psychological Operations.

 

So how do I know it was theater (and therefore part of a psyop) rather than the actual threat it was purported to be (don't get me wrong...there is a threat there, but not what it looked like)?

 

Because ANOTHER Digital Warrior (this one on our side) analyzed the video in it's entirety, as well as supplemental videos that were shot at the same time. The truth of it? The "thousand men" were actually about 130. The "scary weapons" were a mixture of some actual heavy weaponry, together with shotguns (not the most effective battle weapon), .22 caliber AR-style rifles (which look every bit as imposing as the real thing, but simply aren't), and an assortment of airsoft rifles painted to look like assault weapons. The "leader"? An attention-seeking rapper who has run for President (no, we're not talking about Kanye West--this particular rapper is essentially a nobody). How about their "march"? It was in some formation, which shows they had some preparation at least; and they were all wearing a green armband, which would suggest they were pre-vetted to make sure they were actually supposed to be there, or had been given their roles to play, or both. The entire event was a coordinated show. We know all of this because someone with the knowledge to do so and the time and equipment to do the analysis took the time to do it. I'd name him here, but I haven't cleared it with him to make sure it's okay. He's a Digital Warrior, and may not want to be identified.

 

That's just one relatively minor example of the type of warfare we're going to have to anticipate and participate in from this point forward. And that's an easy one; digital warfare gets much, much more complicated--and our enemies are expert at it.

 

How expert? They can take small details about a person, track them down, and threaten their family or ruin their lives. A picture, a name, an IP address. It's called "doxxing", and it's devastatingly effective--the ultimate terror weapon. The can organize a "flash mob" of hundreds or thousands of people, all showing up at the same place at the same time--for whatever purpose they choose. They can communicate real-time instructions in the heat of a riot (or battle) directly to the phones of people on the ground--from three states away. And not long ago, a collection of digital warriors took an image of a masked man in a crowd, cross-referenced it with other videos and images taken at the same time, and managed to identify the individual. Fortunately, the person they identified was an ANTIFA agitator who had been beating people (including old ladies) in the head with a bike lock on a chain. That college professor is now serving time in prison. That collection of Digital Warriors operated for the greater good--but can you imagine those skills applied with less than honorable intentions?

 

It gets worse. Right now, anyone with the knowledge and software can chat, share files, steal/trade credit card and other banking information, download anything from bomb-making instructions to hate propaganda, even buy weapons--all without you, me, or even the government being able to know or do anything about it. These digital warriors use the "dark web". If you've heard of it but doubted it's power or effectiveness, don't. It's real, and it's just as potent as it sounds. Digital Warriors know how to use it to cover their tracks, commit crimes, coordinate events, etc. without anyone being able to trace or otherwise track them. With very few exceptions, they do it with complete impunity.

 

This is the "new battlefield", and it can affect your life and the lives of your team members just as surely as any bullet. And without expert assistance of your own--a "Digital Warrior Legion", if you will--there's little you can do to prevent it, let alone fight back.

 

This is why you, as a leader, cannot dismiss those who don't seem able to do battle. The battle they may be capable of is every bit as important as the folks able to run ten miles with packs on their backs and shoot two inch groupings at three hundred yards. These warriors may be the librarian, the accountant, the high school math whiz you absently dismissed the last time you saw them. It could even be your son or daughter. These are the people who aren't traditionally sought by the Militia, and don't traditionally seek the Militia out. But it's imperative that you find them and get them involved. This is, again, why it's so vital that you step out from the shadows and begin interacting within your community. Gain respectability, recognition, and support. Uncover assets just like these who could prove invaluable to your organization now, and in the future.

 

Imagine for a moment being able to send one of your "Digital Warrior Teams" into cyberspace to infiltrate ANTIFA's communications and organization network, to provide you with actual ACTIONABLE intelligence so you know where to be with your squad? Or the psy-ops campaign your Digital Warriors could initiate that has the other guy running around like a headless chicken, acting on information you've fed them. These possibilities are nearly endless...and they'll be to someone else's benefit if you don't get into your community and start recruiting more than just infantrymen.

 

There are many battles ahead, and many battlefields upon which they will be fought. The cyber landscape is one of the most important, most widespread, and it's ground you cannot afford to cede to the enemy. Everyone wants to train to use a gun, or fight hand-to-hand; hopefully this post has convinced you that you must be just as prepared to fight keyboard to keyboard in the 21st century.

 

Tomorrow I'll talk about "soft power".

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