War 2.0
Irregular Warfare in the Information Age
by Thomas Rid, Marc Hecker
May 2009, 280pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36470-9
$55, £41, 48€, A75
eBook Available: 978-0-313-36471-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

After the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, Web 2.0 rose from the ashes. This newly interactive and participatory form of the web promotes and enables offline action that can be used in new and creative ways—with resounding implications for the way wars are fought.

War 2.0: Irregular Warfare in the Information Age argues that two intimately connected grassroots trends—the rise of insurgencies and the rise of the web—are putting modern armies under huge pressure to adapt new forms of counterinsurgency to new forms of social war.

After the U.S. military—transformed into a lean, lethal, computerized force—faltered in Iraq after 2003, a robust insurgency arose. Counterinsurgency became a social form of war—indeed, the U.S. Army calls it “armed social work”—in which the local population was the center of gravity and public opinion at home the critical vulnerability.

War 2.0 traces the contrasting ways in which insurgents and counterinsurgents have adapted irregular conflict to novel media platforms. It examines the public affairs policies of the U.S. land forces, the British Army, and the Israel Defense Forces. Then, it compares the media-related counterinsurgency methods of these conventional armies with the methods devised by their irregular adversaries, showing how such organizations as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hezbollah use the web, not merely to advertise their political agenda and influence public opinion, but to mobilize a following and put violent ideas into action.

Thomas Rid is a research fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in the School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Previously, he worked at the RAND Corporation, the Institut français des relations internationales, and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. He is author of War and Media Operations and coeditor of Understanding Counterinsurgency Warfare.

Marc Hecker is a research fellow at the Security Studies Center of the Institut français des relations internationales, Paris, France. Among his publications are La presse française et la première guerre du Golfe, La défense des intérêts de l'Etat d'Israël en France, and Une vie d’Afghanistan.


"Clear and pleasant to read in an elevated American style, War 2.0 will probably establish itself as indispensable not only for all students of the transformation that warfare will continue undergoing in coming years but also to the armies themselves, for whom the adaptation process will be long and arduous."—Défense et Sécurité Internationale, September 1, 2009

"This book is excellent."—ICSR.com, June 29, 2009

"This book traces the contrasting ways in which insurgents and counterinsurgents use novel media platforms in irregular conflict. In three case studies based on government and policy reports and interviews, the public affairs policies of US, British, and Israeli conventional forces are examined, and their media-related counterinsurgency methods are compared with the Web-based methods devised by al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hezbollah to advertise their political agenda, influence public opinion, and put violent ideas into action. A chronology overviews landmarks in the recent history of telecommunications and irregular warfare. The book is written for a general audience as well as for scholars of modern armed conflict, political advisors, officers, and journalists."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2009

"Timely, evidence-driven, clear and concise, War 2.0 challenges the ideas and protocols of the 20th century, dragging us into the modern reality inhabited by ‘digital natives’, and is recommended reading for all, young and old, involved in or studying the conduct of irregular warfare. And along with their doctrinal notes from staff college, public affairs officer should now add one more book to their compulsory reading list." —CB3Blog, October 17, 2009

"This is an interesting and provocative work. . . . This is a well written and researched piece. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections."—Choice, February 1, 2010

" . . . worthwhile . . . Rid and Hecker's War 2.0 is clearly a must read. . ."—Parameters, March 25, 2010

"In irregular warfare public opinion has become the center of gravity. This sharp and challenging study explores how the new media enforce this old truth more than ever before."—Gérard Chaliand
author of History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to Al Qaida

"Thematically rich and masterfully constructed, War 2.0 evokes a world in which everything including war now has a 'digital touch'. In this book the authors show how our wired-up world has changed the operational environment, making both war and insurgency more complex, decentralised and bottom-up. Few other books have grasped so effectively the seismic change in the character of war. This is Clausewitz rebooted for the 21st century."—Christopher Coker
Professor of International Relations
London School of Economics

"A highly original and important book. Rid and Hecker aptly com-pare Hezbollah, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda--and juxtapose the mili-tants’ PR with that of the world’s most powerful armies. The find-ings of War 2.0 are pioneering."—Dominique Moïsi
a founder of Ifri
inaugural Pierre Keller Visiting Professor at Harvard University
Author of The Geopolitics of Emotion

"High-tech revolutions are rocking the military and the media, top-pling hierarchies, and upending traditional players. Until now, no one has shown how these twin upheavals are linked--and feeding one another. War 2.0 reveals how the old ways of war and commu-nications are coming apart, and what the chaotic, self-organizing, networked future is likely to be."—Noah Shachtman
Wired magazine
Editor of Danger Room, a security blog

"Since war flows from society as a whole, it is constantly evolving. Winning wars requires understanding the changing environment and adapting faster than the enemy. Rid and Hecker provide powerful case studies on how our primary enemies have understood and adapted to the changes Web 2.0 is driving. It would behoove professionals to read and understand this remarkable book."—T.X. Hammes
Colonel (Ret), U.S. Marine Corps
Author of The Sling and the Stone

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