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The Systempunkt
Alex Steffen, 13 Jan 05

John Robb has invented a new and disturbing term, which is nonetheless pretty vital for understanding how asymetric conflict works now -- the systempunkt:

"In Blitzkrieg warfare, the point of greatest emphasis is called a schwerpunkt.  It is the point, often identified by lower level commanders, where the enemy line may be pierced by an explosive combination of multiple weapon systems.  Once the line is pierced, armored forces dive deep into enemy territory to disrupt command, control, and logistics systems.  Once these systems are disrupted, the top-heavy military units they support collapse in confusion. 

"In global guerrilla warfare (a combination of open source innovation, bazaar transactions, and low tech weapons), the point of greatest emphasis is called a systempunkt.  It is the point point in a system (either an infrastructure or a market), always identified by autonomous groups within the bazaar, where a swarm of small insults will cause a cascade of collapse in the targeted system.  Within infrastructure, this collapse takes the form of disrupted flows that result in immediate financial loss or ongoing supply shortages.  Within a market, an attack on the systempunkt destabilizes the psychology of the market to induce severe inefficiencies and uncertainties."

If you're not reading John's blog, Global Guerrillas, and you have an interest in how warfare and peacekeeping are changing, you're cheating yourself. I don't always agree with him, but the guy's sharp.

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John Robb definitely is worth following. I think he has a better grasp of the global guerrilla mindset and a clearer vision than Thomas Barnett. I check in on them both regularly.

Posted by: gmoke on 13 Jan 05



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