Great Wave off Kanagawa
20 January 2022

Introducing Silent Transformation in Military Affairs: An Indirect Strategy of ‘Letting Happen’

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Original blog post can be found here:

This is an excerpt from a design monograph that addresses design, NATO operational planning and Joint planning methodologies (NATO-OPP, JPP, and various service-specific deviations therein). This monograph is pending publication and was produced through the Joint Special Operations University where the author is a design educator (contractor) for the U.S. Special Operations Command. The title of the monograph is: Disrupting Modern Military Decision-Making: Deconstructing Institutionalized Rituals through Design Synthesis.” 

omplexity theorists, systems theorists, sociologists as well as organizational theorists have since the 1970s explored and proposed an ever-increasing range of strategic alternatives that break decisively with the traditional Western approach to strategy and complex human affairs. Most all security affairs, national strategic themes, and overarching war paradigms of western industrialized (and those still developing) nations subscribe to a natural order of war based upon the theories and models of Carl von Clausewitz, Antoine-Henri Jomini, Alfred Mahan, Gerhard Scharnhorst, Giulio Douhet, Basil H. Liddell Hart, and later still Aleksandr Svechin, John Boyd, Shimon Naveh and numerous other military thinkers.[1] These war theorists, spanning several centuries of modernization, industrialization, and professionalization of the military institution drew inspiration from natural science theories and models that had transformed western society out of earlier Feudal Age reasoning. This was done by militaries so that war itself could become understood as the timeless ‘nature of war’ regulated by observable tenets, principles and rules; war would become scientifically framed and rigorously tested instead of ideologically or philosophically (logic-derived) and ritualized through routinized practice.

War would be described not exclusively through divine decries, but those of measurable edicts of Newton and other experts of natural science. A consequence of this embrace of a ‘Newtonian style’ of interpreting reality is that the framework becomes “both acontextual and ahistorical”[2]- one can formulate principles or rules that appear to function universally and across all of time. Jomini’s ‘principles of war’ and Clausewitzian maxims apply to every single battlefield in every period in the past, present, and future. Warfare thus becomes a ‘science’ that mimics natural science objectivity, uniformity, and analytical optimization in description, collection, and prediction. Warfare would undergo not just methodological and organizational change in this great shift, but deeper epistemological and ontological transformations that would soften or even abandon earlier, ancient and highly institutionalized constructs curated and protected by generations of believers. Older ways of warfare would be lost or rejected, with some aspects retained as the military community of practice would professionalize to join contemporary fields and disciplines also using natural sciences to advance their abilities and expertise.

Today, the modern war paradigm maintains this epistemological framework in how it formulates decision-making, organization, administration as well as rationalizing how warfare must (and must not) be expressed. Yet within this dominant frame, the military as an institution created a scalable and uniform way to establish similar baselines for explicit knowledge across an organization or institution. This became the established military decision-making encapsulated in doctrine that direct how one will (and will not) think about warfare. Naveh et. al remark: “Just as literacy facilitates bureaucratic, administrative centralization, it also makes possible the codification and logical centralization of doctrine.”[3] This codification thus cuts off any consideration of ideas outside or beyond the institutional limits of the modern war paradigm. Modern, industrialized (Western) militaries understand all strategic thought and action exclusively and at the expense of alternative modes of strategic thinking. Chia defines this with:

Planned change is usually associated with highly visible, ‘top-down’, and large-scale, system-wide initiatives involving significant disruptions such as structural reorganization, downsizing, a disruption of existing routines and/or an overall emphasis on the radical discontinuing of existing organizational practices…Much of the extant literature on the management of change continues to emphasize high-profile and often ‘heroic’ change initiatives as a modus operandi in achieving desired organizational outcomes; change is thought of as an exceptional event that must be made to happen through decisive intervention. Advocates of this ‘Planned’ approach to change insist that radical change cannot take place gradually or in a piecemeal manner, but must be rapid, disruptive, and even revolutionary in order for it to be effective.[4]

Military strategic thinking informs all operational and tactical activities in part due to the emphasis on centralized hierarchies,[5] the organizational form and function of security forces as well as the shared history of western military forces over the ancient, Feudal Age into modern military developments. This mode of thinking disregards nonlinear and emergent or unintended but favorable outcomes that often occur through spontaneous and entirely unplanned developments. Essentially, if an organization did not previously identify something, target, and action it through strategic (down to tactical) designs to cause the change through direct action, the change itself is marginalized or ignored as a useful happenstance (luck). Yet this issue of unintended or unforeseen consequences works both ways so that “large-scale, high-profile and planned interventions develop a curious propensity for generating internal resistance and reactions that often work to thwart the very aims of such change efforts.”[6]

Chia and Holt find that “the more directly and deliberately a specific strategic change is single-mindedly sought the more likely it is that such calculated actions eventually work to undermine their own initial successes, often with devastating consequences.”[7] The negatives of focusing direct, action-centered strategic change through deliberate (systematic) intervention as illustrated by modern military decision-making methodology may paradoxically exceed their apparent advantages when considered systemically. This requires not just a cataloging of a series of activities and tactical results in isolation, but a holistic and broad framing of system-wide change within areas that NATO or Joint Forces are focused for complex security challenges. In a critique of military technological overmatch against terror networks in Afghanistan and Iraq, Gorka remarks: “we are peerless in our capacity to apply kinetic force on target…But counting Reaper hits against jihadi high-value targets is just as bad a metric of victory today as counting Viet Cong body bags was during the Vietnam War.”[8] Atran, in addressing revolutionary movements and their resistance to previously well-engineered, modern military solutions to security challenges, observes that contemporary terror networks such as the Islamic State[9] are paradoxically able to exist and even thrive under conditions that used to entirely defeat and destroy previous adversaries:

During the surge of American troops in Iraq, up to three-fourths of the fighters were neutralized in al-Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate, which would become ISIL, and an average of about a dozen high-value targets were eliminated monthly for 15 consecutive months, including its top leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Yet, the organization survived and the group went on to thrive beyond all expectations amidst the chaos of Syria’s civil war and Iraq’s factional decomposition.[10]

The desire to understand ‘change’ as exclusively nested in large-scale interventions is, according to Chia irresistible “because it is intimately linked to an inherent ‘heroism’ prevalent in the Western collective psyche”[11] that is not limited to military and defense contexts; most all commercial, political, ideological, and academic communities view ‘change’ in this shared view. Dishman, in studying criminal and terrorist organizations notes that analysts used to be better at determining the goals, motives and impacts of terror groups and criminal entities like drug cartels because they used to follow a modern centralized hierarchical form; one that was familiar to those using the modern war paradigm and seeking similar structured adversaries.[12]

Counter-drug activities in the last 25 years have dismantled large, centralized hierarchical cartels such as the Medellian and Cali criminal organizations, yet Colombia has seen a “rapid fragmentation and dispersion of criminal networks that have proven far more difficult for law enforcement authorities to track down and dismantle than their larger and more notorious predecessors…the basic lesson to emerge from Colombia appears to be that smaller criminal networks are less vulnerable.”[13] What worked before no longer does, and the destruction of legacy forms and functions appears to promote emergent ones that differ so that they avoid the same fate. Is NATO-OPP or JPP an obsolete decision-making methodology for complex security challenges purely because it was previously too successful in earlier security contexts? Or instead, are contemporary adversaries able to understand and anticipate how the modern military enterprise approaches warfighter activities, and in turn operationalize differently to mitigate the effects that previously were far more effective strategically? Note that tactical and technological effectiveness is not in question here; strategic effectiveness in dynamic, complex security challenges is the primary interest.

NATO-OPP/JPP is an example of a decision-making methodology based on a Cold-War Era period of utilization where in a previously bipolar world, state and non-state actors appeared more susceptible to this western mode of strategy and direct-action employment of military instruments of power. Farah argues that the new relationships between adversarial nation-states and criminal as well as terror groups has changed, and along with it, the dynamics for understanding and acting for security challenges in this new world (a postmodern, post-structural, or perhaps post-industrial transformation).[14] He observes: “In the construct of the new rules they are writing for their game, none of the state-sanctioned or state-sponsored activities with transnational organized crime (TOC) groups or terrorist groups are illegal or questionable- they are revolutionary tools to obtain a strategic objective.”[15]While the modern military institution continues to employ technical rationalism so that future wars might be better predicted, managed, controlled and dispatched using scientific principles and more efficient lethality, postmodernists disrupt this stance. Postmodernists posit that the appearance of objectivity in scientific texts is misleading, and “there is no methodology capable of achieving an unmediated, objective representation of the facts.”[16] Exposing this illusion is just the first step in realizing alternative modes of thought and action.

That NATO and Joint Forces struggle with applying their decision-making methodologies in practice, operational design for campaigning, as well as strategic design for national policy while tied to legacy theory, models, methods and indoctrinated military language is troubling. One telling aspect is that modern military strategists and analysts are expected to apply the very same strategic and operational constructs and methods to state and non-state actors, regardless of whether such correlation is relevant or applicable. All competitors and adversaries, whether near-peer nation state or decentralized, self-organized online eco-terror group must be susceptible to all existing (legacy) decision-making methodologies. But is this sound reasoning in complex warfare? Can one group impose a series of laws upon what is “infinitely changeable phenomena” where an expansion of knowledge does not also produce an expansion of ignorance?[17] Or, is complex reality dynamic enough where nimble, clever adversaries might innovate in ways that clearly escape the logical limits of an institutionalized war frame so that regardless of any overmatch of technological, resourcing and skill, wars remain unpredictably chaotic?

Along with nation-states, non-state actors are increasingly able to assume state-like capabilities and characteristics for applying organized violence despite not being ‘states.’ Today, as framed by Dishman, non-state actors are: “ungoverned by hierarchical rules… today’s networked actors are increasingly polymotivated and pursue a spectrum of criminal and terrorist activities.”[18] Antagonist groups such as Hezbollah, previously understood as a ‘proxy’ under the Iranian nation-state and a regional threat tied to particular geo-political and cultural frameworks is now presented as an entirely new sort of threat requiring new thinking, new terminology, and a change in how militaries understand and act in order to deal with it. Should NATO and Joint Forces continue to wrestle with legacy models and methods, particularly when so few adversaries and competitors wish to operate in familiar ways that play to western tactical and strategic advantage on today’s battlefields? Are legacy frames, terms, and methods still applicable? Or is the ‘cause-effect’ and deliberate change agent mentality no longer as relevant as in earlier context settings?

Levitt posits: “The challenge Hezbollah poses has become global in nature…[it] can no longer be seen as an Iranian proxy and terrorist organization alone; it is now a powerful military force, a globally lethal terrorist organization, and a complex criminal and money laundering network.”[19] Fussell and Lee illustrate the paradoxical “cause-effect” relationship of terror attacks across the world in 2003 prior to the invasion of Iraq where the most technologically advanced, resourced, and trained military force arguably in human history commenced direct action against Iraqi conventional forces. U.S. Special Operations Forces should be highly qualified to conduct an analytic optimization for kinetic actions, sensitive activities and other SOF-exquisite activities (even in 2003), yet “by the end of the year, there had been more terrorist attacks in Iraq alone than there had been in the entire world in 2003. And it only got worse. The forces that comprised the Special Operations Task Force had clear and undeniable points of superiority…despite all of these advantages, it was clear by 2004 that [Al Qaeda in Iraq] was somehow outpacing some of the world’s most highly trained and well-funded units.”[20] This pattern continues today, with powerful, well-trained forces winning tactical engagement after tactical engagement, still trapped in a briar patch of unwinnable operational and strategic morass that bleeds political and popular support over time.

The very best in modern, high-technology and sophisticated special warfare were only able to keep pace with the growth and adaptation of one of the poorest, least trained, and under-resourced rivals employing a different operating logic and defying the rules of the established game. McFate offers another interpretation with: “traditionalists cannot contemplate wars without states, even though such wars surround us.”[21] The most technologically sophisticated and lethal forces are generated by first world nations able to afford them, yet even these exquisitely lethal assets become frustrated by third world innovation below the poverty line. As special and elite forces occupy only a fraction of broader, general purpose military force projection, the modern nation state’s sunk cost into strategic capacity and capability is a wickedly complex challenge.

This institutional desire to consider direct, dramatic, and spectacular actions as the primary (if not exclusive and analytically quantifiable) means to accomplish transformation fits within traditional centralized hierarchical organizations, such as militaries, corporations, academia, government agencies and most all national to local political structures. In all of these, leaders are positioned to make overarching decisions so that desired change can be accomplished through orchestrated activities to bring about select future (and desired) states. “Leaders are construed as specially endowed causal agents armed with the capacity to take decisive actions in bringing about significant changes, thereby warranting their elevated status and their sometimes excessive rewards.”[22] Chia goes onto frame characteristics of modern organizational strategies with:

The typical approach favours direct, frontal engagement; (a) identify problems and obstacles to the attainment of pre-specified organizational goals; (b) face them head-on with the maximum concentration of effort, energy and resources; (c) and then decisively eliminate or overcome them in the most expedient and efficient manner possible…[this] management of change is often expressed in heroic and/or ‘spectacular’ terms…when success ensures, it is the decisive actions of significant individuals… that are deemed to be causally significant in bringing about the successful state of affairs… Such a Western tendency to causally assign success to the high-profile actions of identifiable individuals has been historically linked to the influence of significant changes in the method of warfare that took place in ancient Greece.[23]

‘Strategic indirection’ takes a paradoxical approach, thus threatening to upend many of the cherished beliefs of modern military organizations. Change becomes what Tsoukas and Chia describe as: “The reweaving of actors’ webs of beliefs and habits of action as a result of new experiences obtained through interactions…organization is an attempt to order the intrinsic flux of human action, to channel it towards certain ends, to give it a particular shape, through generalizing and institutionalizing particular meanings and rules.”[24] Indirect strategy requires a different way of using war theories, complete with new mental models that break from existing (legacy) ones, where NATO or Joint Forces might construct entirely different decision-making methodologies that accomplish what their current decision-making methodologies seek in profoundly dissimilar ways. To do this, both institutions must consider alternative language and metaphoric devices to apply ‘strategic indirection’ towards military activities in security applications.

Strategic indirection shifts strategists toward a reversal where large-scale, high-profile[25], planned actions are not sought after for short-term effects or “quick wins” that appear to advance institutional self-relevant beliefs, values, and interests. In strategic indirection, an organization revises its appreciation “of the crucial role that such nuanced forms of responses and indeed non-action can play in shaping outcomes…[which] will help reorient and re-educate our attention toward the mundane and the everyday in accounting for success in human endeavors.”[26]Modern military organizations should consider strategic action by “paradoxically [letting go] of the attempt to control and to predetermine outcomes. Managing change then consists not so much of willfully imposing our pre-designed order onto reality and forcibly making it conform to our will and fancy.”[27] Instead, NATO and Joint Forces will want to resist this urge to confront reality with a strategic ‘head on’ mindset and as Chia advises, “let change happen of its own accord.” The key for complex military decision-making considerations now is precisely how one might go about accomplishing warfighter activities using this strategic shift to indirectness.

First, there must be a new emphasis on unintended consequences of localized, seemingly insignificant actions. Chia describes this with: “the key implication… is that successful outcomes can be attained without any intention on the part of actors and it is an acknowledgement of this possibility, rather than whether it is incremental or planned and large-scale that truly differentiates the Emergent approach from the Planned approach to change.”[28] This is of paramount concern for NATO and Joint Forces in that currently, NATO-OPP, JPP and most analytical thinking on associated military activities continues to use the ‘modern’ style of thought that “accentuates a view of social reality as comprising discrete, static, and hence describable phenomena… according to this thought style, social phenomena such as ‘individuals’, ‘organizations’, ‘cultures’ and ‘societies’ are concrete and isolatable real entities or attributes which can be systematically described and explained, and therefore, meaningfully compared.”[29] This is why nearly all analytical mapping of networks, groups or target ‘chains’ have tangible actors, groups or things inside each bubble or geometric shape depicted, and even the linkages are linear, causal and systematically (input leads to output) related to form a system. Modern military forces should shift away from an institutionalized mindset of modern strategic thinking toward a postmodern one[30] as depicted below.

[31] This graphic is the original work of the author and used in other unrelated academic applications in 2021.

The graphic above illustrates the core tensions between how NATO and Joint Forces previously would form and understand strategic decision-making concerning warfare in earlier (legacy frame’s apex in both World Wars) security challenges and those emerging since at least the Vietnam War. Even using the term ‘postmodern’ in addressing security and foreign policy matters is disruptive in that these concepts have been routinely dismissed as irrelevant or incompatible with the modern military frame for making sense of reality. However, this highlights the ontological tension (illustrated in the above graphic) on whether war itself gone from a modern to postmodern form and function. This would mean that many of the beliefs, models, theories, and methodologies that were previously employed during modern war are vulnerable to evaluation and possible elimination for something new and potentially different. This postmodern stance threatens the very bedrock of military doctrine, theory, and practice in that everything Clausewitz, Jomini, Douhet or others declared about war were no longer necessarily applicable. There is a reason that this postmodern model of new war is radical and considered so adversarial to modern military beliefs that rarely are these ideas taken seriously or even considered in most military educational platforms, professional reading lists,[32] mainstream academia or military training centers.

Postmodern theorists span a wide range of disciplines, fields, and academic communities of which only a scattered minority take up a focus on war, security affairs and military organizations. It is within this smaller group of postmodern thinkers that military designers in the last three decades have taken inspiration, information and ideas to apply in transforming the modern military. Briefly, postmodernist military scholars that argue the transformation of modernity into a postmodernity subsequently bring the entire understanding of ‘war’ along with it as part of the shift. They primarily posit that this occurred either at the height of the two World Wars spanning a generation in the early twentieth century, or immediately following the use of atomic weapons in 1945. Select others choose the Vietnam War as the first postmodern war, some place the shift at the collapse of the Berlin Wall, while still others offer the First Gulf War as that changing point into postmodernity. Gray captures this suggested transformation of war from the modern context to the postmodern in not just the accelerated speed of information, technology and violence but the meaning and prominence of information set within postmodernity:

I call it postmodern war. Why choose “postmodern” over the other possible labels? There seem to be two good reasons. First, modern war as a category is used by most military historians, who usually see it as starting in the 1500s and continuing into the middle or late twentieth century. It is clear that the logic and culture of modern war changed significantly during World War II. The new kind of war, while related to modern war, is different enough to deserve the appellation “postmodern.” Second, while postmodern is a very complex and contradictory term, and even though it is applied to various fields in wildly uneven ways temporally and intellectually, there is enough similarity between the different descriptions of postmodern phenomena specifically and postmodernity in general to persuade me that there is something systematic happening in areas as diverse as art, literature, economics, philosophy and war.[33]

While Gray positions the start of ‘postmodern era of war’ as 1945[34] and the conclusion of World War II with atomic bombings, other military academics differ and promote postmodernity occurring later with the Vietnam War,[35] the end of the Cold War,[36] or later still with the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001.[37] Gray himself later offers that the Vietnam War would be the first ‘postmodern war’, although he may merely see the period of 1945 through the American withdraw of forces from Vietnam in 1975 as one major shift in how society understands and conducts war. Readers should consider the application of ‘postmodern’ in this monograph as indicative of these specific arguments on the reality of war and transformation of society to include how we make sense of reality (including war and security affairs), and not become distracted by other postmodern endeavors that focus on topics well outside of this particular area of study.[38]

Once more, the methodological options for devising the current military decision-making methodologies used by all NATO, Allied and Joint Forces come exclusively from historical and Department of Defense doctrinal origins; the dominance of ‘modern warfare framing’ is universal and all-encompassing in the manner that natural sciences inspired such form and function. All models, methods, theories, and language share in the ontological and epistemological choices that enable this modern warfare perspective on reality. Militaries in reviewing contemporary doctrine and methods might continue to rearrange concepts and reinterpret contested language, such as redefining ‘competition’ as ‘integrated deterrence’ for socialized or even political shifts in the institutional climate that NATO is a stakeholder within so that this modern frame remains intact. Or these organizations can attempt to dismantle and reform modern military decision-making for the ever-expanding range of complex security activities in a bold, postmodern way forward. To accomplish this, commanders, analysts, and planners require not just symbolic word changes to appease shifting winds in broader political or social stances (where nothing beyond the terminology is challenged or replaced). They require real and different theories, models, language, and metaphors to generate a different military decision-making methodology (or methodologies) that generates dissimilar outcomes in war. To shift from modern strategic (legacy) constructs, one must build a bold and different path into uncharged and perhaps unrecognized (unimagined) directions in strategic thought.

The first concept offered for NATO and Joint Forces in breaking from the legacy war paradigm is to introduce a ‘Silent Transformation: Indirect Strategy’ postmodern concept in this section of the monograph. With this as the overarching paradigm shift in security activities and decision-making, NATO and Joint Forces might consider the following new postmodern strategic concepts explained in subsequent sections: emergence and nonlinearity, rhizomes, multiple futures (scenario planning/strategic foresight), semiotic squares, Deleuzian folds, and several additional observations and suggestions. None of these concepts exist in contemporary NATO or Joint Planning doctrine, nor in strategy or policy for the U.S. Department of Defense. Their introduction here positions these military organizations in a unique, game changing as well as higher conceptual risk space to present alternative decision-making and organizational behavior activities for policy, national, strategic and other primary stakeholders in military activities throughout complex reality. The tensions and paradoxes illustrated in the above graphic will be reoccurring and significant features in any emergent path forward should NATO or Joint Forces move to experiment with the following concepts.

This excerpt is part of a larger monograph pending publication in 2022.

For more, follow Ben Zweibelson, subscribe to ‘Think JSOU’ on YouTube, consider JSOU courses, research and educational outreach by visiting , and also connect with Ben on LinkedIn to learn more about this monograph and the planned publication in 2022.

[1] Clearly, this is an abbreviated list; however readers interested in primary military theorists utilized in most all modern military decision-making should see: Shy, “Jomini”; Peter Paret, “Clausewitz,” in Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, ed. Peter Paret (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1986), 186–213; Liddell Hart, Strategy; White, Scharnhorst: The Formative Years, 1755–1801.

[2] Tsoukas and Hatch, “Complex Thinking, Complex Practice: The Case for a Narrative Approach to Organizational Complexity,” 990.

[3] Naveh, Schneider, and Challans, The Structure of Operational Revolution: A Prolegomena, 23.

[4] Robert Chia, “Reflections: In Praise of Silent Transformation- Allowing Change Through ‘Letting Happen,’” Journal of Change Management 14, no. 1 (2013): 11.

[5] Kelly and Brennan, “Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy.”

[6] Chia, “Reflections: In Praise of Silent Transformation- Allowing Change Through ‘Letting Happen,’” 13. Chia cites Flyvbjerg, 1998, Jullien, 1999, and Scott, 1998.

[7] Chia and Holt, Strategy without Design: The Silent Efficacy of Indirect Action, x.

[8] Sebastian Gorka, “Adapting to Today’s Battlefield: The Islamic State and Irregular War as the ‘New Normal,’” in Beyond Convergence: World Without Order, ed. Hilary Matfess and Michael Miklaucic (Washington, D.C.: Center for Complex Operations; Institute for National Security Studies, 2016), 355.

[9] By 2021, the Islamic State is a far less dangerous terror threat in comparison to the height of their power in 2015. However, they are a useful example here in that surrogates and other emerging rival organizations learned from their successes and failures and continue to improve upon their model.

[10] Scott Atran, “The Islamic State Revolution,” in Beyond Convergence: World Without Order, ed. Hilary Matfess and Michael Miklaucic (Washington, D.C.: Center for Complex Operations; Institute for National Security Studies, 2016), 67.

[11] Chia, “Reflections: In Praise of Silent Transformation- Allowing Change Through ‘Letting Happen,’” 13.

[12] Christopher Dishman, “Terrorist and Criminal Dynamics: A Look Beyond the Horizon,” in Beyond Convergence: World Without Order, ed. Hilary Matfess and Michael Miklaucic (Washington, D.C.: Center for Complex Operations; Institute for National Security Studies, 2016), 137–53.

[13] Bruce Bagley, “The Evolution of Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime in Latin America,” Sociologica: Problemas e Praticas 71 (2013): 108.

[14] Mary Ann Tetreault and Harry Haines, “Postmodern War and Historic Memory” (Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, Montreal Quebec, Canada: International Studies Association, 2004), 1–22; Gray, Postmodern War: The New Politics of Conflict; George Lucas Jr., “Postmodern War,” Journal of Military Ethics 9, no. 4 (2010): 289–98.

[15] Douglas Farah, “Convergence in Criminalized States: The New Paradigm,” in Beyond Convergence: World Without Order, ed. Hilary Matfess and Michael Miklaucic (Washington, D.C.: Center for Complex Operations; Institute for National Security Studies, 2016), 181.

[16] Kilduff and Mehra, “Postmodernism and Organizational Research,” 464.

[17] Kilduff and Mehra, 466.

[18] Dishman, “Terrorist and Criminal Dynamics: A Look Beyond the Horizon,” 137.

[19] Matthew Levitt, “Hezbollah’s Criminal Networks: Useful Idiots, Henchmen, and Organized Criminal Facilitators,” in Beyond Convergence: World Without Order, ed. Hilary Matfess and Michael Miklaucic (Washington, D.C.: Center for Complex Operations; Institute for National Security Studies, 2016), 173.

[20] Christopher Fussell and D.W. Lee, “Networks at War: Organizational Innovation and Adaptation in the 21st Century,” in Beyond Convergence: World Without Order, ed. Hilary Matfess and Michael Miklaucic (Washington, D.C.: Center for Complex Operations; Institute for National Security Studies, 2016), 372.

[21] McFate, The New Rules of War, 182.

[22] Robert Chia, “In Praise of Strategic Indirection: An Essay of Oblique Ways of Responding,” M@n@gement 16, no. 5 (2013): 667.

[23] Chia, “Reflections: In Praise of Silent Transformation- Allowing Change Through ‘Letting Happen,’” 14. Chia cites Burgelman & Gove, 2007; Jarzabkowski, 2008; Hanson, 1989; and Jullien, 2000 in this section.

[24] Haridimos Tsoukas and Robert Chia, “On Organizational Becoming: Rethinking Organizational Change,” Organization Science 13, no. 5 (2002): 570.

[25] Although many sensitive activities are clandestine and might not be considered ‘high profile’ in execution, the term is used here in how an organization conceptualizes the role such a direct activity might have with expected (direct) effects upon the system targeted.

[26] Chia, “In Praise of Strategic Indirection: An Essay of Oblique Ways of Responding,” 668.

[27] Chia, “Reflections: In Praise of Silent Transformation- Allowing Change Through ‘Letting Happen,’” 10–11.

[28] Chia, 12.

[29] Chia, “From Modern to Postmodern Organizational Analysis,” 586; Tsoukas and Vladimirou, “What Is Organizational Knowledge?,” 977.

[30] Kilduff and Mehra, “Postmodernism and Organizational Research,” 453–59.

[31] This graphic is the original work of the author and used in other unrelated academic applications in 2021.

[32] Zweibelson, “Professional Reading Lists: Thinking Beyond the Books and into Military Paradigmatic Biases.”

[33] Gray, Postmodern War: The New Politics of Conflict, 22.

[34] Gray, 125.

[35] Gibson, The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam.

[36] Charles Moskos, John Williams, and David Segal, “Armed Forces after the Cold War,” in The Postmodern Military: Armed Forces after the Cold War, ed. Charles Moskos, John Williams, and David Segal (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 4–7.

[37] Mäder, In Pursuit of Conceptual Excellence: The Evolution of British Military-Strategic Doctrine in the Post-Cold War Era. 1989–2002.

[38] Historic arguments against postmodern theory by military academics posits either an objection to the alien terms and concepts to those of the modern military ‘Newtonian Styled’ worldview, or dismissal due to academic rejection of some single postmodern position as indicative of the entire multidisciplinary postmodern movement. This is akin to arguing that because bull fighting is a sport, and the murder of live animals for modern entertainment is disgusting to a particular observer, all sports are therefore repulsive and support the wanton killing of innocent animals by association of ‘sport’.

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