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Psychology of Future Warfare: Asymmetric Risk and Decision-Taking (From CyberWar 3.0: Human Factors in Information Operations and Future Conflict, P 49-76, 2000, Alan D. Campen, Douglas H. Dearth, eds, -- See NCJ-191421)

NCJ Number
J. P. MacIntosh; Mils Hills
Date Published
28 pages
This essay discusses asymmetric risk and suggests ways to move toward competitive strategies, which can successfully engage risk in network societies.
Asymmetric risk is the condition whereby good risks are taken, rather than continuing business as usual. Risk is the product of probability and impact. Risk is the exposure of value to uncertainty for gain. Until recently, national governments have preferred to operate regimes for dealing with risks that seem to permit tight regulation and mass intervention. Tight regulation is viable where data can be collected and used on what is a static or slowly evolving population of agents or events. Under hierarchical structures, judgements are made by an active elite, often claiming to act on behalf of the more passive masses. The resulting mass interventions tend to exploit economies-of-scale to deliver one-size-fits-all solutions. Then there is the dogged desire for unfettered capitalism, which begets loose regulation and non-intervention. Evolutionary regulation and targeted intervention provide the outline for other emerging options. Competitive strategy points out the continuing necessity for vision and leadership. The competitive risk framework usefully distinguishes good and bad risk, as well as virtual and actual dimensions. These support approaches to guarded openness, which could recast the security dilemma for people, firms, and States in a more realistic and constructive manner. The security challenge is to embrace and engage risk so that society learns to live and thrive with evolving immunity. Human capital is key to learning about the evolving risk environment. To get the best from people and enterprise, investment is going to have to deal with the risk of knowledge-intensive investments. Networks of finance and trade make risk regulation and intervention options sensitive, but nonetheless essential. The courage to experiment in an evolving environment can be vital among the competitive asymmetries of defense and security. 2 figures, 62 endnotes