I know of three ways to get from today to a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all — all three merit consideration as a whole.
01. Open Source Everything (OSE). This is the technical solution. The US Government is ignorant and arrogant in part because the cult of secrecy and the ineptitude of chief technical officers, combined with the corruption of political figures that have no interest in knowing anything useful (they attend to those that pay to be heard), have resulted in Washington operating on less than 2% of the relevant information [a typical Country Team collects 20% at most and spills 80% of that in how it handles it] and in the case of the secret world, producing “at best” 4% of what the President or a major commander needs. The future of governance is to be found in bottom-up information sharing and sense-making across all boundaries. Only OSE is affordable, inter-operable, and scalable. This is where the BRICS, the EU, and NATO should be focusing as they create 21st Century Alternative C2 (collaboration and consensus have replaced command and control) — one must give up unilateral command and control in order to gain multilateral command and control.
Robert Garigue (RIP) understood what none of the US cyber-chiefs understand: in a decentralized technical environment, human trust is the measure of merit, and security must be embedded such that it is NOT reliant on centralized points that are often asleep, ignorant, arrogant, under-funded, and generally useless. As Col Dr. Max Manwaring and his various contributing authors point out in The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century (Praeger, 2003), the primary foundation for both prosperity and peace is LEGITIMACY. A Nobel prize was awarded to the economist that demonstrated that trust lowers the cost of doing business. In brief, proprietary and predatory forms of capitalism have become one. The time has come to create Open Source Ecologies (a fine model is provided by Open Source Ecology, creating a toolkit for civilization), starting with an Autonomous Internet and Liberation Technologies that enable the five billion poor to create infinite wealth. If freedom is our objective, rather than fraud, it demands open source everything. My long-standing vision for an Open Source Agency (OSA) has morphed toward the nurturing of all of the opens as I have discovered that no one open alone will do — they form an unbeatable force for good when combined.
02. Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2). I have benefited, as no other American intelligence officer can claim, from the wisdom of over 800 speakers and over 1,800 authors whose non-fiction books I have reviewed at Amazon. Two books in particular stand out for me. The first, out of Cambridge by Professor Philip Allott, The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State (2002). This is the book that focused me on the positive value of withdrawing from the artificial political boundaries of the colonial era, and the progress that could be made of nurturing a deconstructive restoration of the natural and tribal boundaries that have persisteed for millenia. The other book, out of Vintage by Charles Mann, is 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (2006). The latter book outlined the vast knowledge of the indigenous tribes in the Americas — including 25,000 kilometers of stone roads running through the Amazon — and confirmed for me that the emergent interest in collective intelligence and 360 degree consensus circles is not new, it is a return to the wisdom of millenia. Although I had been thinking about the changing paradigm of effective governance since the late 1980’s, and designed this graphic in the mid-1990’s, it was these two books, not the many others I have reviewed on collective intelligence, that persuaded me that the Western governance model is pathologically bounded by a mix of authoritarian stovepipes and corrupt information-handling methods. As a very published arch critic these many years of the waste and fraud that defines the US secret intelligence community, and as the leading global proponent for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), my focus has always been on enabling effective governance. Until the truth is on the table, you cannot deal with it. Until all points of view — most deeply rooted in cultural, historical, and linguistic nuances no American is every going to understand on their own — you cannot deal with the minutia that is necessary to achieve a sustainable decision. Anyone backed up by power can make a bad decision. A good decision is one that is sustainable at least possible cost of time, wealth, and violence. The US (and I would venture to say most governments less the Nordics, NL, and SG) is unable to make good decisions because those decisions are not rooted in fact and take no account of the plethora of stakeholders, most without a voice within their own respective dictatorships. In my view, we have gone as far as we can go under the “controlled” model of top-down governance, and the fastest route toward a sustainable model of governance across all domains is the M4IS2 model. This is where the EU and NATO have the power to take initiatives as well as to make overtures to the BRICS and the regional organizations. The US Government — if it is moderately open to trying something new since the true costs of its decisions these past twelve years are now known — would be wise to stand aside and see what its allied might achieve with Alternative C2.
03. Hybrid Public Governance Rooted in Open-Source Decision-Support. I have been distracted from my new book, INTELLIGENCE with INTEGRITY: Enabling Hybrid Public Governance with Open-Source Decision-Supoort, by the intense need to find employment. Despite my being at my most valuable in terms of knowledge today, I am also in the most disconnected state I have ever been, isolated from my own government and all those that might employ me to good effect against the above objectives. As I respectfully lectured LtGen Dr. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret) — to general applause at the Wilson Center — nothing the USA does matters if we do not craft a Strategic Analytic Model that is useful to the BRICS. This means nothing less than making all information in all languages inter-operable and secure at the datum level. It means harnessing the distributed knowledge of the eight tribes, and creating intelligence (decision-support) with integrity. No one — not the Pope, not the Secretary General of the United Nations (or the top minds in the major regional associations and alliances) is addressing this challenge.
The BRICS are busy — despite their internal difficulties as they experience the unrest that only a middle class armed with information can generate — creating alternative communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sources and methods. It can safely be said that what the BRICS are doing now is the opposite of what NATO and the USA have been doing. They are focused on the non-military (as is the EU but in isolation from NATO). They are focused on the 182 languages other than English. They are focused on long-term breeding (at least in the case of China in Latin America) rather than eugenics. They have created an alternative banking system, a new development bank, and are well on their way to creating a new cellular network that could be secured and impenetrable by NSA. What does it say when the best path to secure commerce is via Chinese telecommunications rather than US telecommunications? We have got to re-embrace intelligence with integrity. We have got to restore the public interest as the “seed corn” without which all else is unsustainable. In my view, this means embracing the BRICS as a legitimate and most worthy counter-force, one whose concerns and objectives must be understood, recognized, and embraced as our own if we are to protect and further that which is good within our Western traditions.
The EU and NATO are, as is the US, at a fork in the road. I do not expect the Americans to come to their senses before 2020. To the extent that we can achieve a strategic pause and restore some sensibility to how we do strategy, policy, operations, and acquisition, I look to the EU and NATO, not to the US, for a starting point. The BRICS are moving forward on their own. The West appears to me to be adrift.without a compass. St.