U.S. Navy Recruits Gamers to Help in Piracy Strategy


Published: 18 May 2011,  07:15

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Navy is turning to the wisdom of the crowd to forge military strategy, inviting the public to join an online game in which Somali pirates have hijacked commercial ships.

The Office of Naval Research plans this month to launch theU.S. military’s first online war game to draw on the ideas of thousands of people instead of the traditional strategy session held inside the Pentagon’s offices.

The approach “is designed to produce ideas and potential solutions to our toughest problems and challenges,” Lawrence Schuette, director of innovation at Office of Naval Research, told AFP.

“Piracy off the Horn of Africa has been an enduring problem that has many stakeholders. We selected this topic for the pilot scenario,” Schuette said.

The scheduled starting date for the project had to be delayed by a month as about 9,000 people have signed up, instead of the 1,000 that planners expected, officials said.

The Navy hopes the project will take advantage of a wide range of expertise not only from military officers but also academics, politicians and technology specialists, he said.

Exert:  Read more at http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6541908&c=SEA&s=TOP

Tengu says: OK all you geeks! Stop drooling!

Nobody is going to get to take out a skiff filled with pirates using a 50 cal. machine gun remotely controlled from their X-box – not yet anyhow, but this article offers food for thought on a number of levels.

First and foremost, it is a long overdue attempt to tap into the imaginations and creativity of the vast numbers of gamers out there, most of whom have very little in the way of credentials, academic or otherwise, but who eat, drink, sleep and live gaming, and who can be sure to have come up with ideas that would never occur to a conventional naval war planner.

It goes almost without saying that the vast majority of those ideas will be unworkable, impractical, illegal, immoral or all of the above – but some of them won’t be, and when those are found, cleaned up and put to practical use, interesting things are bound to happen.

Then there is the point of cyberspace as a war-fighting medium, which apparently is not getting anywhere near the level of serious consideration in the United States as it is in China, North Korea and apparently quite a few other countries.

Just how seriously is theUnited Statestaking the threat of cyber-war? Does anyone know?

We can hope that they are taking it extremely seriously, and we are just not hearing about the successes, but I fear that is simple wishful thinking. The apparent ease at which US Department of Defense computers have been penetrated, and the massive amounts of data that have been and are being swiped, leads me to believe that we are definitely on or ahead of the power curve — and that needs to change.

Part of the reason we are not, in my massively humble opinion, is that we are not, nor have we ever (to the best of my knowledge) made proper use of our vast numbers of stay-at-home, pimple-faced, chicken-necked, coke-bottle-glasses GEEKS – many of whom would break into a sweat lifting anything heavier than a glass of Pepsi, but who are absolute Titans at hacking, slashing, cyber-burning, etc.

OK, not totally. A Strategy Page story from Jan. 20, 2011 states, in part, “The American government has provided $30 million dollars for hackers seeking to create software that will enable people to evade Internet surveillance and censorship.”


Now, that’s a step in the right direction, but it is a long way from the kind of attack dog mode we need to combat the aggressive cyber-warriors of our potential enemies and thereby do unto them, before they do unto us.

What we need is a new uniformed service branch (and won’t the geeks have fun designing their uniforms) that will focus on, plan for and be prepared to wage full-fledged cyber-based warfare. Once it’s in place, we should track down the most nasty, malignant, tricky hackers we can find, and sign them up! In other words, pay them to piss out of the tent instead of in it.

Oh sure… there will be a lot of problems at first, and riding herd on a bunch of cyber warriors is bound to be harder than herding cats. But it’s something that needs to be done!

Tokyo Tengu 


About Tokyo Tengu

I'm a 58-year-old lovable fuzzball that enjoys spending time (when not working) reading and writing political commentary, enjoying good books, cooking, eating and bashing stupidity whenever and wherever I find it. (Not that I have to look very hard these days.) Despite being a long-term (25 years) resident of Tokyo, I am an unashamed and unabashedly Pro-Life American Conservative with an intense interest in the politics of the day -- in Japan, the United States and throughout Asia. My writings here and in other places focus primarily on how things are seen from Japan and around Asia, with special emphasis on Japanese national, political and defense issues, US Forces in Japan and Asia, and the burgeoning military power of China.
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