Shadow Globalization – Bazaars of Violence

Shadow Globalization – Bazaars of Violence

Andrew’s Note: Today we return to our crystal ball…or at least the closest thing that the Department of Defense (DOD) has to it…namely the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) 2010. The JOE is the DOD’s keystone document used to project the world in which it will operate up to 25 years into the future.  As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s a sobering read for the prepper and likely to turn the non-prepper into one.  The following is excerpted from PART IV: THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE JOINT FORCE, War in the 21st Century.  Links have been inserted by me to provide additional reading for context.  Read on to learn what the Department of Defense thinks about Shadow Globalization: “Bazaars of Violence”:

Shadow Globalization: “Bazaars of Violence”

The globalization of trade, finance, and human travel across international boundaries in the commercial world has an analogous dark side as well.  Criminal and terrorist networks are intermingling to construct their own “shadow globalization,” building micro markets, and trade and financial networks that will enable them to coordinate nefarious activities on a global scale. The ubiquity and ease of access to these markets outside of legal structures attract shadow financing from a much larger pool, irrespective of geography.  In these markets, rates of innovation in tactics, capabilities, and information sharing will accelerate and will enable virtual organizational structures that quickly coalesce, plan, attack, and dissolve.  As they grow, these markets will allow adversaries to generate attacks at a higher level of rapidity and sophistication beyond law enforcement’s capability to interdict. For example, we have seen Somali pirates hiring indigenous spotters to identify ships leaving foreign harbors as prime targets for hijackings. We should expect shadow globalization to encourage this outsourcing of criminality to interface increasingly with insurgencies, such that actors in local conflicts will impact on a global scale, with perhaps hundreds of groups and thousands of participants.

The line between insurgency and organized crime will likely continue to blur. This convergence can already be seen in the connections between the FARC and cocaine trafficking, MEND and stolen oil, and the Taliban and opium production. This convergence means that funding for violent conflicts will interplay and abet the growth of global gray and black markets. The current size of these markets is already $2-3 trillion and is growing faster than legal commercial trade; it has the potential to equal a third of global GDP by 2020.    If so, violent insurgencies will have the ability to trade within this economic regime, amassing financial resources in exchange for market protection, and to mobilize those resources to rival state military capabilities in many areas. This gives them the increased ability to co-opt and corrupt state legal structures.

Shadow globalization may not be merely an Internet phenomenon, as groups are able to buy or lease their own commercial aircraft, fast boats, submarines, and truck fleets, and to move people and cargo across regions outside state-controlled legal trade regimes. Moreover, collaboration among younger generations through ever more powerful social media will likely be globally mainstream by 2025. The sophistication, ubiquity, and familiarity of these technologies will enable faster and more efficient market formation.  This means that micro-market interaction will be both natural and habitual to its participants, creating opportunities for “flash micro-markets” and symbiosis between legal and illicit market elements.

 About the Study:

Joint Operating Environment 2010The Joint Operating Environment is intended to inform joint concept development and experimentation throughout the Department of Defense. It provides a perspective on future trends, shocks, contexts, and implications for future joint force commanders and other leaders and professionals in the national security field. This document is speculative in nature and does not suppose to predict what will happen in the next twenty-five years. Rather, it is intended to serve as a starting point for discussions about the future security environment at the operational level of war.

Distribution Statement: Approved for Public Release

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