Christine A.R. MacNulty
adapted from a paper given at
May 1999

"I have studied the enemy all my life. I have read the memoirs of his generals and his leaders. I have even read his philosophers and listened to his music. I have studied in detail the account of every damned one of his battles. I know exactly how he will react under any set of circumstances. And he hasn't the slightest idea of when I'm going to whip the hell out of him." - GEN George S. Patton, Jr.


In the West, with all our emphasis on information technology, battlespace knowledge, and battlespace dominance, we seem to expect that most warfare in the future will be fought on our terms. We seem to believe that we will know as much about the enemy as did George Patton... but will we? George Patton could make that claim since "the enemy" to which he was referring was a Western Nation, sharing a similar cultural heritage, and a similar experience in warfare. In the future, our enemies are likely to come from different cultures with different priorities and different approaches to warfare.

With knowledge superiority and the latest technology, we expect to shape the battlespace to our advantage - we are planning to use technology to give us that asymmetric edge - but information technology may level the playing field rather than tilt it in our favor. In most Western countries the Armed Forces are considering a Revolution in Military Affairs brought about by a combination of technology-push and budget cuts - which will result in fewer people, fewer large platforms, but more information technology and "smart" weaponry. This concept of a high-tech battlefield brings to mind warfare between opponents who are reasonably well matched in terms of technology, their understanding of the principles of warfare, and their rules of engagement (Waterloo and Belleau Wood come to mind). Or we may expect to fight in a similar way, but asymmetrically, against enemies who have fewer capabilities and resources, or who are unable or unwilling to use their capabilities, as in the Gulf War. But will this be the way wars are fought in the future? Or, will we see warfare fought increasingly in urban areas, or through the use of terrorism, or by the use of information warfare? Are we properly prepared for such forms of warfare? Will we know who or what we are fighting - sovereign states, partisan terrorists, or state funded organized crime, for instance? Do we have knowledge of the many types of battlespaces in which we will find ourselves and will we know how to shape them?

There are many similarities between terrorism as a form of warfare and information warfare:

  • There are few "generals" whose lives and military careers can be examined and understood in the way that Patton suggests - we are dealing with relatively obscure individuals who may be very private people about whom little is known

  • Those engaged in these kinds of warfare choose civilians as targets either directly (with bombs or germs) or indirectly (by affecting the economy, industry, technology…) while we do our utmost to prevent or minimize civilian casualties and impacts

  • The enemy seeks to exploit whatever weaknesses he can find; he does not play by our rules of engagement

  • The enemy may be fighting for religion, idealism, dogma, freedom, freedom of speech - all of which can be powerful motivators, or for just the "heck of it" - and we must not assume that we will understand his logic or motivation.

  • In these kinds of warfare, the enemy will have the asymmetric advantage, despite our technological capabilities, because we find it difficult to fight in the same way, and with the same rules (or lack, thereof).

What will give the enemy that asymmetric advantage? Knowledge superiority - or a perception of knowledge - that he has, and that we don't, or a knowledge that we have and are unwilling to use. Let us examine some recent events…

As I wrote this paper back in April, the bombardment of Yugoslavia and Kosovo were in their third week. Most members of the Armed Forces that I know always said that an air campaign on its own would not work, especially in a country like Yugoslavia with rugged terrain where troops could hide themselves and their equipment. Yet we made a political decision not to engage troops on the ground, and even if we had sent in ground troops, it was likely that their hands would have been tied, in terms of what they would have been permitted to do by our rules of engagement. Did we have the correct intelligence? There is evidence to suggest we did - and yet we failed to act on it, as it was not politically acceptable.

Also, that weekend, the alleged author of the Melissa Virus was captured in New Jersey. We may never really know whether he understood the magnitude of disruptions to email systems that he would cause, or whether he saw it as a demonstration of "free speech" and simply never cared or considered the consequences.

A few months ago, it was reported in a magazine that a hacker infiltrated the computer system of a manufacturer of specialty steel used in bridges, and changed the formula. Had the hacking gone undetected, bridges all over the world made from the steel that manufacturer would have produced could very well have collapsed. The hacker has not been caught, and no one has any idea of his motivations. When most people talk about information warfare on a national scale, they usually mention causing crashes of the stock market, or other major disruptions of economies by attacks on the banking system. Some think about potential attacks on power grids or other infrastructure. But changing formulae in steel plants??? This idea opens up many other potential targets - pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, other construction material companies…the list is endless. Think of the effect on the reputation of American industry. Who might make these attacks and why?

There is another dimension to the situation. Last year when nuclear weapons were tested by both India and Pakistan, and more recently, when the Taepo Dong was launched by N. Korea it appeared that we didn't have the appropriate intelligence, and that we might not have believed it, even if we had had it. India and Pakistan both were open about their operations. If we factor in the possibility of operational deception, then our ability to be correct in our interpretation and understanding becomes an order of magnitude harder.

Why do we ignore some intelligence, misinterpret some, believe others and come to the particular kinds of conclusions that we do? What is it that causes us to be so good at technology, so effective in some aspects of life, work and governance, and so naïve and stupid in others? It seems to me that the biggest problem is that we have lost sight of the "people aspects" of all these situations. Technology enables us to understand, or at least to know about, the "what" and sometimes the "how". What it can never tell us is the "why". If we don't understand the "why", then rarely can we anticipate or predict what will happen. This problem is magnified when we face an enemy from outside our Western cultures as we have real difficulty understanding their intentions. We need to know much more about cultures - our enemies', our allies' and our own.

Understanding cultures is at the heart of our intelligence problems, whether we are dealing with information warfare or other future forms of warfare. It is no accident that the U.S. Marine Corps and Special Operations Forces are paying much greater attention now to education in languages and cultures, following their experiences in many parts of the world. The problem is that we are so enculturated into our own culture that we find it very difficult to view other cultures and their ways of doing things objectively. We see them through the filter of our own belief systems. We can see an example of this thinking in World War II with the Maginot Line; despite its obvious limitations, the French just couldn't imagine an invasion occurring from anywhere else. A similar situation occurred in Singapore, where the British expected attacks only from the sea, not over land. Of more immediate concern, the study of the Middle East - "Arabia" - which has been underway in the West since the sixteenth century has produced little understanding and agreement among scholars. For example, there are people such as Bernard Lewis , who exhibit such an in-depth understanding of Arab cultures that they can anticipate how leaders of various Islamic countries will react under specific circumstances. Yet, despite their insights, Edward Said , an Arab, sees the Western understanding of Islam as a romanticized view - of a region that is mysterious, dangerous, beguiling, yet inferior to the West - rather than as it really is. These two scholars have not been able to resolve their differences over the validity of their views; yet, in different ways, they are probably both correct.

What we all need to understand is that in this situation there is asymmetry in two dimensions - technological and cultural. Viewed in this context, a society's potential for conducting information warfare, or even terrorism, can be determined by its position on these two dimensions. In the accompanying diagram one dimension, the ordinate, measures each society's awareness of other cultures, and particularly of the cultures of potential enemies. The other dimension, the abscissa, is a complex one including the availability of technology and the awareness of its capabilities. The positions of the various countries are speculative, based on my experience and discussions with a number of colleagues - what is important is not the precise positioning of the countries, but the fact that there are countries which are far better at understanding cultures than are we. As one colleague pointed out - if we don't understand the enemies' cultures, then our ability to gather information rapidly, and our ability to make and implement decisions much faster than the enemy become even more important than they usually are. We have to get inside the enemy's decision loop.

This paper discusses two aspects of the cultural dimension which are of critical importance to future warfare and information warfare - that of "knowing your enemy", and that of not letting your enemy know much about you. Indeed, the content of the paper is about cultures and people, and the implications of their different values and belief systems for information warfare. There are many people far more qualified than I who can discuss the technological aspects of information warfare.

People of other countries and cultures know a great deal about us, and how to "defeat" or fool us. This is because we share information with them, and we publish and broadcast widely. They see the technologies and read the professional journals; some attend our universities and live in western countries for many years; they see our television programs and movies. All this gives them a good understanding of what we do, how we are likely to do it, and even why we do it; because they can impute motivations to us on the basis of what they have learned.

We know very little about the real motivations of people who are not from the West, and we find it difficult to understand their reactions to us. We understand the American and other Western cultures reasonably well (although perhaps not so well as we like to think), and we attribute Western values and motivations to many other countries (especially to our allies). In fact, in countries outside the West the cultures and even the beliefs about issues such as democracy, life, and death are very different from ours. This is not surprising. It is rare for us to read non-Western newspapers and professional journals, to see their movies, to attend their universities, and live in their countries for more than a few months. Because we have been so successful technologically, economically and materially, we believe that others share our desires for similar successes. Thus we assume others will not undertake actions which harm their own future as we define it in our own terms. We believe that democracy is a panacea for all cultures. In trying to foster democracy around the world, we have lost sight of the intense patriotic, tribal and religious fervor that is more important than life itself to some people, and which is at the basis of their political systems.

There is a third concern, and one that also has to do with culture - and it applies to the culture of the other Western democracies as well as to United States. We tend to be "nice guys"; we play by the rules, rarely doing things that are not above board. Our Armed Forces are under the control of civilians - either directly or through our democratically elected governments. That means that what the Armed Forces are asked to do, and how they are asked to do it, are based on what the governments and the people want them to do. If the people want "brief, bloodless bargains" then the Armed Forces are constrained in their actions. Our potential enemies may have no such cultural limitations.

At the moment, the business of information warfare in its broadest sense is in its infancy. We do not yet have any rules of engagement for IW. We tend to be focused on electronic warfare with respect to other countries' military establishments. We don't like the idea of conducting IW against commercial or civilian targets; we tend to believe that intelligence and psychological operations are sneaky and underhand. Again, other countries and their governments, terrorist groups and organized crime may have no such compunctions.

Unless we can anticipate and pre-empt the activities of foreign cultures in the fields of information warfare and terrorism, we in the West will be vulnerable to other countries and organizations that have vastly different values and motivations which we can scarcely comprehend. We must understand more about others' cultures to enable us to identify their strengths and weaknesses; and we must understand more about our own culture so that we can identify our own strengths and weaknesses.

Others' Cultures - How Can We Learn More?

"It is a purpose of all successful civilizations to avoid understanding competitors, since the greatest ethical and practical freedom of action historically has been obtained by denying the Other a valid identity" - Ralph Peters

We have been unwilling to look at other cultures, partly for the reasons that Ralph Peters gives, and partly because it is inherently very difficult, time consuming and costly to go beyond demographics. Detailed examination of cultures requires more than intelligence, it requires anthropologists and psychologists who can research the values, beliefs and motivations of a culture - and of the various groupings within a culture, for rarely are cultures homogeneous. It requires an understanding of the power and command structures, relationships and alliances with neighboring countries. Then it requires people who can pull all these ideas together into a system's view - a view that enables interpretation of implications. For instance, through meticulous research of Japanese material (and luckily there were vast quantities of it) Ruth Benedict was able to provide answers to questions relating to World War II such as: "What will happen if the Emperor of Japan surrenders? Will the Army stop fighting?" "Should we bomb the Emperor's Palace? What will the Japanese do?" There are cultural anthropologists around today who will be able to advise on many countries. But there may be very few people who know about the cultures and sub-cultures in which we are likely to be interested, some of which may be small, relatively new, and which may cut across national boundaries. Some organized crime syndicates and Osama bin Laden's personal terrorist group are examples.

Having painted that gloomy picture, we should note that there are ways of understanding cultures that do not require such in-depth research, ways that can provide at least an initial understanding of values and motivations. I will describe three such approaches below - the first two relate to societies at large, or to particular groups within societies, the third relates to their leaders.

Approach 1 - Changing Values and Motivations

Since the early '70's Applied Futures' studies of the future have included research into changing values, beliefs and motivations. Our studies included a statistical model of the UK society where our headquarters was located until 1993. During that same period, associates in other industrialized nations, including the United States, developed similar models. (Until recently, it has been very difficult to obtain data about the newly industrialized countries, and it is still almost impossible to obtain data from Third World countries, so the model is somewhat limited in that respect. It would be very useful, from an intelligence point of view, to try to develop such models for other countries.) A brief overview of one of our social models will serve as a framework within which to understand the changes taking place in society and their impacts on organizations.

The model we will consider is based on Abraham Maslow's theory of motivation and it has been validated by data from periodic surveys of random samples of the UK population conducted since 1973 . In the United States, similar surveys, conducted from 1968 - 1986 showed very similar results. Discussions with Professor Ronald Inglehart (University of Michigan) about two of his recent books provide further validation for this model , . Maslow's contention was that every individual has within his psychological framework a hierarchy of needs, as represented in the accompanying diagram.

The individual must satisfy, at least in part, the needs at one level of the hierarchy before he can be even conscious of those at the next level. Maslow saw this as a process of development that takes place throughout life; so that by learning to satisfy the needs of progressive levels the individual can, in time, realize his full psychological potential. Maslow also made the distinction between "deficiency needs", which the individual perceives as some sort of lack, and "growth" needs, which are recognized as experiences needed for the realization of one's individual potential . As we shall see later, these different needs may, in some circumstances, be sufficient motivation for engaging in warfare. At the moment, however, it will be useful to consider some other aspects of the model.

The fundamental idea which underlies Applied Futures' social model is that every individual possesses a set of values and beliefs. These are based on the needs the individual perceives; and if they change at all, they change only slowly - as he works his way through the hierarchy of needs. These values and beliefs motivate almost everything the individual does. These long-term values (by long-term, we mean values which are held for a period of from five to twenty years) are manifest in the medium term as attitudes and lifestyles, and in the short term as behavior. In addition to these social values being the most fundamental driving force for change, it is the very fact that they change slowly that makes them so important and valuable when taking a longer term view; they are a relatively stable element in a world of "fast changing" data. Our model proposes that by understanding the values of individuals in a society and the way those values are changing we can observe the developments taking place within that society, identify the way in which they are occurring, and (in a general way) assess the manner in which the society will behave.

Conceptual Social Model

We recognize three major groupings of social values within the United States, United Kingdom, other Western countries and Japan, and their estimated size in each country is shown in the adjacent figure . We refer to these groups as inner directed, outer directed, sustenance driven. In the paragraphs below we describe briefly the principal identifying characteristics of each of these groups, set out what our understanding of their role in society is, and suggest how we expect them to influence the future. While Maslow saw that every individual has the potential for moving through the entire hierarchy of needs, he also recognized what he called "dominant motivation" - the tendency of an individual to have a "center of gravity" around which he operates. The three groups we have identified are named for the dominant motivation of the people who espouse them. While we do not have any survey data for the newly industrialized countries and the developing countries of the Third World, from observation of their societies we would anticipate that they are predominantly Sustenance Driven, although some newly industrialized countries are moving very quickly into a more Outer Directed posture. The descriptors below will provide very brief insight into how the people who espouse the different sets of values are likely to behave.

Inner Directed Group

The Inner Directed Group is so named because its members derive their sense of personal direction, their personal rewards, and their criteria for success from within themselves. The standards by which inner directeds measure themselves, and the world, tend not to be the materialistic standards of wealth, social class, income, status, or possession; but rather they are standards involving such things as integrity, honesty, quality, and appropriateness to the situation. Inner directeds are the most psychologically mature of the groups, yet they are still seeking greater maturity. Although most are not anti-materialistic, they consider people rather than things to be of paramount importance; so they tend to see people in ways which have far greater human significance than the social role of membership in a class or the economic role of producer/consumer.

Their introspection is a characteristic that makes these people very easy to misunderstand; and it is important not to confuse inner directedness with introversion or self-centeredness. What they do is to try to maximize their own, individual, potential; but they generally seek to do that in a way that is not exploitive of others.

Inner directed people are difficult to observe because the thing that distinguishes them from the rest of the population is their motivation rather than their behavior; and as a result of this the media has real difficulty in presenting inner directedness. Inner directeds tend to be self confident; and, although they are by no means anti-social, they do not feel obliged to conform to stereotyped social "norms".

It seems likely that it is the combination of their self confidence and their inner sense of what is important in their lives which gives the inner directed group its significant role as "trend setters" in society. During the past thirty years almost every major trend in Western societies has been started by this group, although the trends have then been picked up and driven, as fashion, by outer directeds. In almost every area, the inner directed group has influence out of all proportion to its size. Indeed, the 1998 Yankelovich Monitor, in describing "America's New Agenda" suggests that Generation X has adopted many earlier inner directed approaches to life. The inner directed group has been growing slowly for the past thirty years; and, although the growth rate has slowed recently, we expect it to continue to grow slowly in most industrialized countries. However, it is possible that, if industrialized countries experience significant immigration, then the proportion of inner directeds may decline, although we expect they will maintain significant influence.

Inner Directeds and Information Warfare, for instance.

Inner directeds are "infoholics" - they love information: they can't get enough of it; they are voracious readers, listen to the radio and occasionally watch television. Because of their broadly based information gathering habits and multiple sources, they are unlikely to be fooled by misinformation unless it is very widespread. Of all the groups, they have the greatest ability to take a system's view, and they are capable of synthesizing material into a coherent whole.

In an information warfare situation, they are likely to be among the most able, from a technological perspective, in conducting such warfare. Although they are the most likely to have ethical concerns about it, an inner directed "gone bad" could pose one of the most serious IW threats. Inner directeds are among the least likely to be overwhelmed by IW attacks, as they have the greatest flexibility and adaptability in dealing with the unexpected, and some may have thought about the problems ahead of time and have alternate courses of action.

Their interests in their fellow-men, and their broad understanding of what is going on in the world probably gives them a greater understanding of, and empathy for, other cultures than the other value groups.

Outer Directed Group

In contrast to inner directed people Outer Directed people rely heavily on external indicators of their own self worth. To put it another way, an outer directed person's concept of himself depends upon his being able to compare himself with others; and his self esteem depends upon finding himself to be "better off" - usually in some materialistic way. Since they are, especially in the West, characterized by the idea that "you are what you consume" , they form an easily visible group. Display, and particularly the display of possessions and "badges" is a necessary element in establishing their place in society. This shows clearly in their homes, which tend to be neat, tidy and well organized, with their most prestigious possessions, particularly consumer goods, openly exhibited. Display can also be seen in evidence of recent exotic vacations or activities, or in the use of high quality fitness and sporting gear.

As the notation on Maslow's diagram indicates, outer directed needs are centered on esteem. Therefore, at work the outer directed person is conscious of, and seeks actively to acquire, status and the symbols related to it. Such people are very much at home in structured, hierarchical organizations in which they can establish their position clearly and then display their position and measure their progress relative to others. In identifying themselves with a peer group in this way outer directeds automatically judge themselves to be up to the group's level, and they generally use the group as the source of the standards by which they judge their world. The people in this group are of vital social importance; they are the dynamo, the energy source in our society. They are the ones who feel the need to compete, who need to prove themselves against the opposition, who have the drive to win at virtually any cost. This outer directed energy is essential to business as it operates today and to society in general, if it is not to stagnate. This group grew very quickly during the '80's, declined a little during the last recession, but now it appears to be bouncing back. For the next decade, at least, we expect it to continue to grow in most of the industrialized and in the rapidly developing countries as long as their economies are viable.

Outer Directeds and Information Warfare

Political and business leaders tend to be outer directeds - we might speculate that some leaders of terrorist organizations and organized crime may be outer directeds, also. This puts them in positions where they may well be the initiators or the recipients of information warfare. These people need and want information, but frequently they want only enough to enable them to make decisions. They do not have the generic interest in information that inner directeds have. This may make them vulnerable, as they may disregard information they don't like, or that doesn't fit with their preconceptions. Depending on their leadership styles, their subordinates may filter information for them, or be unwilling to be the bearers of bad news.

Outer directeds in leadership positions of nations, terrorists or organized, and even of commercial enterprises, are more likely to use information warfare than are members of other groups.

Sustenance Driven Group

Everywhere we look in Western industrial society the two groups which we have just considered are growing at the expense of a third group which we call the Sustenance Drivens. This pattern has been a consistent trend for some time. Because of its declining size, we consider the direct impact of the sustenance driven group on the long term future of Western countries to be relatively small. However, they are influential at the moment, and to neglect them would be to miss the essential role by which they will influence the future. Indeed, if the industrialized countries experience significant immigration from the developing world, this group may increase in size.

Sustenance driven needs are deficiency needs, and the distinguishing characteristic of sustenance driven people is a desire to "hold what you've got". This orientation tends to make them form homogeneous groups with well defined characteristics and relatively impermeable boundaries. The typical picture that this idea brings to mind is the tightly knit, clannish, working class community. A little reflection will indicate that these characteristics also describe a good many company directors of the "old school", a lot of the traditional "professions", not to say a good part of the hereditary peerage in the UK. In fact, we find that the sustenance driven groups include a substantial number of people from all these conventional classifications; and the thing that they have in common is that they resist change. Not only do they hold on to their possessions, but to their institutions as well.

The majority of the populations of developing countries are likely to be sustenance driven, not just because some of them are poor, but because of close-knit tribal values, and a political power structure that works to keep them dependent. With a few exceptions, the leaders of countries in the developing world seem to be outer directeds. They appear to be motivated by the need to acquire and maintain power - and the wealth that goes with it - for themselves and often for their families. They do not seem interested in wealth for everyone.

Sustenance Drivens and Information Warfare

On the whole, sustenance driven people do not want to be exposed to large quantities of information - they become overwhelmed by it. This is as true of the corporate executive or politician (some of whom are sustenance driven) as it is of Joe six-pack. They have their sources of information which are familiar and comforting, and they tend not to look elsewhere, because they don't like change and they don't like to change their minds. This makes them very vulnerable to misinformation.

From the perspective of people engaging in IW, the most likely sustenance driven proponents are terrorists, leaders of organized crime, and some leaders of countries, rather than corporate executives. These will be people who have achieved their positions through family or tribal connections. Although they, themselves, may not be particularly technologically able, they may well be able to employ people who are. They are likely to engage in IW for monetary gain, revenge or zealotry.

It is important to understand that these statements of function are not value judgments. Nor is it sufficient to think of these groups as being in competition one with another, although the sustenance drivens, particularly, might be prone to that view. Rather it is necessary to take a system's view of society and understand that each of these functions is both essential and beneficial to the overall well-being of society. We are looking at a symbiosis in which the sustenance driven inertia keeps the outer directed enthusiasm in check, while the outer directeds in their turn provide a focus which prevents an inner directed evaporation into personal space. Conversely, the inner directeds constantly provide the outer directeds with new ideas and opportunities, while the outer directeds in their turn provide the energy to drive businesses which service their material needs and those of the sustenance drivens. What we have here, in fact, is a psychological view of the great dynamic of society; it is the interplay of these three forces which really keeps the wheels moving throughout our industrialized world and which, in our view, provides the major driving force for change. .

Approach 2 - An Anthropological View of Society

There is another view of society, complementary to our own, which I will introduce here because I believe it will enrich our understanding of some of the issues involved in national security. The Dutch anthropologist, Geert Hofstede , has analyzed the cultural differences between 50 countries, using four different cultural dimensions: Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism (IDV), Masculinity Index (MAS), and Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI). He has rated each country on a scale from 0 to 100.

Using the mapping technique that we employ to diagram our own model of the values in the UK, one of my colleagues has combined these different dimensions into a single map. The abscissa is given by the dimension PDI to IDV (UAI comes out to be close to PDI) and the ordinate by the scale MAS. In this representation of the data (adjacent) we have plotted the MAS (masculinity) scale as "Maternalism" since, reversed in that way, the map correlates very nicely with a second of our social models (which we have not space to discuss here). A glance at the figure above will give an indication of the characteristics of each part of the "value space". The "Scandinavian" group is both "individualistic" and "caring", and the highly developed social welfare systems of those countries is an easily available confirmation of those values. The "British" group (including the USA) is also "individualistic", but this group is more inclined to expect people to "take care of themselves". The "Germanic" group is rather more "institutional" and less "caring", while the "Gallic" and "Balkan" groups are progressively more compliant and somewhat more dependent on social support. Your own knowledge of these countries will enable you to enrich your understanding of this value space.

Interpreting the map in the context of our social model outlined above we would say that the right hand side of the map tends to be inner directed, the central part of the map is outer directed, and the left hand side of the map is sustenance driven.

When the other countries are mapped into the same space (see the Cultural Map below) the similarities and differences between them become apparent. While this analysis provides only a single snapshot of the countries, nonetheless the fact that all the Western countries are in the east of the map - the area of individualism - confirms the sort of individual development that Maslow identified. The groupings Hofstede found of Scandinavian countries in the more maternal part of the map fit with our view of "caring" inner directeds, while the UK and US are more inclined to be "autonomous" inner directed, and are much less maternal.

There are two important things to note here. The first is that the countries governed by democracies that work reasonably well tend to be in the eastern part of the map. This fits with an idea we have had which suggests that democracies and market economies are really effective only in countries in which a substantial number of people begin to adopt inner directed values and have strong growth needs. Japan, which has experienced a large shift from sustenance driven to outer directed values in the last 45 years, seems to be an exception to this idea. We are inclined to think that the prominent role that its long-standing spiritual tradition has played in Japanese life has had an effect similar to a substantial inner directed population in other societies. The second important element to note here is that almost all the countries in the world which are experiencing conflict and problems of all kinds (especially religious, ethnic/tribal and resource wars) are in the hierarchical (PDI) left side of the map, and have strong deficiency needs. We first prepared this Cultural Map and made this point about ten years ago. The situation in Kosovo and Serbia is instructive in this context. This fits with our idea that most of those countries are sustenance driven and likely to be strongly "tribal" in their orientations. Their people respond to authority, they are not likely to take individual risks unless they are told to do so by the country's leader, and then they will do so unquestioningly. Although almost all these countries have adopted the trappings of democracy, they will not find it easy to operate that system smoothly; and they will probably exhibit characteristics which will limit the growth and success of their market economies.

More recent research suggests that some countries (especially the newly industrialized ones) are moving in a direction towards the right hand side of the map, towards individualism, and also in a more masculine direction. But overall, the countries which are already to the right of the map are moving faster in that direction than most of the rest of the world. Thus the gap in values is increasing as much as the more widely recognized gap in incomes.

Hofstede developed one other dimension on which he assessed countries. Unfortunately, the data was not taken from a sample comparable to his earlier work, and so it cannot be represented on our maps. This dimension is long-term orientation , which is a propensity to make decisions that require a very long period to come to fruition. East Asian countries were at the top of the long-term scale - China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea. The Netherlands was the highest of the European countries, with the U.S. and the U.K. well down on the scale. India was very high, while Pakistan was the lowest of the 22 countries examined. Pakistan's short-term orientation may stem from its fairly recent (1947) separation and independence from India. This long-term dimension suggests that people (and especially governments) from the countries that are high on the long-term scale can be expected to set in motion strategies that will be played out over many years if not decades. By contrast, we in the U.S. and U.K. are more likely to want shorter term approaches. Given the potential for hiding "bombs" of various kinds within information technology and via biological or agro-terrorism, we may, in the future, become the victims of strategies that were set in motion many years earlier by people from long-term oriented countries. We will need to be vigilant for evidence of these kinds of long-term problems, as well as for immediate attacks.

Approach 3 - Personality and Psychological Profiles of Leaders

A colleague, John Nolan, who used to be in military intelligence, has recently published a book on business intelligence. Chapter Fourteen of this book is devoted to psychological and personality profiling of business leaders . In this chapter, he discusses the way some intelligence staffs conduct "remote psychological profiling" and he suggests how it might be done by business people. In fact, this approach can be used by anyone, providing that there is access to people who have some knowledge of the leader being "targeted".

Nolan suggests that one of the best approaches to remote psychological profiling is the Kiersey-Bates version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This indicator provides an understanding of individuals across four dimensions:

  • Extravert to Introvert
  • Sensing to Intuition
  • Thinking to Feeling
  • Judging to Perceiving

And provides a total of sixteen personality types.

The psychological profiling tool is a questionnaire that is usually completed voluntarily by the person undergoing the profiling test. What the intelligence services discovered is that if there are people who know the "target" reasonably well, they can act as surrogate targets, complete the questionnaire as if they were the target, and the results are remarkably consistent and useful. While the ideal is to try to find a large number of sources to act as surrogate "targets" (Nolan suggests 100+), it can also be done with fewer people. Depending on the nature of our target, we can identify some of the people who may be selected. For instance, if we need to understand how the leader of a potential enemy country is likely to respond to some action (Milosevic responding to bombing, for instance), then it would be useful to interview people who know him - émigrés, refugees, defectors, people who have worked with him, people who were at college with him, and who don't share his views. If we were to want the profile of a terrorist leader, then we would need people who had been close to him at different times in his life. And if we were to be concerned about a particular hacker, and we thought we knew his identity, then we might be able to profile him on the basis of people who knew him.

In addition to this approach to profiling, it is possible to conduct a rough assessment of people and groups using the first two models - the inner directed, outer directed and sustenance driven groups, and Hofstede's dimensions. We have used these concepts in the commercial world to identify customer, competitor and other stakeholder behavior, and we have used them in the military world to assess motivations and behavior of both potential enemies, and of key stakeholders such as the American people. The approach is unlikely to give a 100% correct answer, but it has proven to be much better than simple intuition.

Recently, I have met Dr Caroline Ziemke at the Institute for Defense Analyses who has applied the Myers-Briggs personality types to countries. Her analyses show real promise for providing a broad understanding of how countries are likely to respond to events and external influences.


So what are the implications of all these ideas? The first is that we should try to gain as much of this kind of subjective information as possible about potential enemies, so that we can understand their motivations with respect to us.

An example will be useful. When I first heard that the late Ayatollah Khomeini was calling the United States "the Great Satan" I assumed that it was for political reasons. We had supported the Shah's regime, and he blamed us for what he perceived as both terrible injustice and an attempt to westernize (in political and economic terms) a strongly Islamic culture. I was surprised to learn, many years later, that he called us the Great Satan because he saw us as the source of temptation for young Muslims. This temptation is delivered through our television programs depicting easy sex and promiscuity, through our "symbols of individual freedom" such as Levi jeans, bikinis and Coca Cola, and through our blatant materialism. We tend to forget or ignore that fact that most Islamic countries are deeply and sincerely religious States. The rapid growth of fundamental Islam seems, to me, to be in many ways associated with a reaction against the perceived immorality of the West, which is threatening to the traditional Islamic culture. In addition, the Ayatollahs were also concerned about what they saw as American economic imperialism. In other words, our outer and inner directed values, manifest in these cultural symbols (described above) and in our "interference" around the world, offended and threatened a strongly sustenance driven culture.

We should also note that enemies of today may become allies of tomorrow, and vice versa. With allies we tend to share many secrets - technological, political, and strategic. We invite them to work with us, to attend our War Colleges, to visit our factories, and to get to know us in myriad ways. But, as situations change, what happens when they become enemies? What do they know about us that could be dangerous? Without developing paranoia, we need to think about these kinds of things ahead of time, so that we are not put in a position of embarrassing potential allies, nor of giving away secrets to potential enemies.

Many of our actions, whether taken unilaterally or in conjunction with other countries, may have all manner of unintended consequences of which we are unaware, and which create enmities for reasons we don't understand. We need to understand other cultures, and in that way understand the implications of our actions, for they are likely to create our Achilles' heels.

Our Own Cultures - What Drives Us and Motivates Us?

We have as much need to understand ourselves as we do to understand others. Countries and societies are not homogeneous. In the United States in the late 1970's and '80's it was clear that Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan lived in very different worlds - one of pessimism and the other of optimism. Today, we can see partisan battles between political parties over whose worldview is the most successful economically, socially, morally…and so on. In many cases these different worldviews can be attributed to the different values and beliefs held by individuals. Indeed, much of the apparent confusion over a variety of issues ranging from education to social welfare to defense, can be attributed to the fact that Western populations have almost one third inner directeds, one third outer directeds and slightly more than one third sustenance driven people. As mentioned earlier, the inner directeds have a significant influence in society, especially over the outer directeds. In addition, there are significant differences between generations and, although it is not politically correct to say so, there are differences in values and beliefs between races, too .

All the approaches described in the last section of the paper apply to the Western countries and cultures, as well as to the rest of the world.

The more we familiarize ourselves with all these ways of slicing the cultural pie, the more we are likely to understand and to anticipate the situations in which we find ourselves as nations. Leaders of the Armed Forces will find it very important to understand the psychological profiles of our political leaders in order to anticipate what sort of missions the Armed Forces might be assigned and what might accompany them. In addition, we will need to understand the values and motivations of our own population. It seems to us that it is no accident that it is the more inner directed countries which try to prevent conflicts around the world, which try to engage in nation-building and the development of democracies, and which sometimes seem to create more conflict in the process. These humanitarian concerns raised by the inner directeds are then taken up by outer directed politicians who want to amass power and prestige as world leaders. In addition, the family-oriented inner directeds, together with the sustenance drivens, are likely to be those who are reluctant to send their children into ground battle. The results of the Gulf War - and the live broadcasts on television - have convinced these groups that wars can and should be won with few casualties. Thus we see Americans trying to fight and win with unrealistic rules of engagement (the equivalent of hands tied behind their backs) because body-bags don't work well in political polls.

In information warfare we have perhaps an even greater problem. We, in the West, are so dependent on information that we are highly vulnerable to attack. In order to live the good life, to have conveniences, to save time (all good inner and outer directed needs) we have placed large chunks of our lives at the mercy of systems and technologies that are vulnerable to attack or disruption. As mentioned earlier, there are obvious infrastructure-type targets - but what might be the others? In what areas could potential enemies perceive that we are vulnerable? How could they inflict the greatest physical or psychological damage on us? What might they know about us that we don't even know are our weaknesses? It is interesting to see, in anticipation of Y2K problems, that a significant number of people (probably sustenance driven ones) are talking of "The End of the World as We Know It". While the glitches associated with Y2K are unlikely to bring this about, what could? How would we respond? Would there be rioting in the streets? How would we face up to civil disorder brought on by some infowar attack?

We don't have the answers. We can speculate about them, and so we should, using all the tools and techniques we can muster.

The final area for consideration is our propensity to give away so much information. In some respects, this is perhaps the most clearly inner directed problem. Many scientists are inner directed, and in their search for answers to whatever problems they are working, they want to discuss things with their peers. They often regard the scientific community (people with whom they can share ideas and concepts) to be more of a community, even more of a family than people in their own countries with whom they may have little in common. This is a real dilemma - the very characteristics which make brilliant scientists successful are those which create security problems. What can an organization do? How can it attract and retain great scientists, yet ensure that they take care of security? Only by working together, by ensuring that all the stakeholders arrive at a shared solution.

The other way in which we give away information is via the media. We may well get bored with news programs that give us details of all kinds of things, but be assured, our potential enemies won't be bored. They will be listening to every word, watching every nuance, and putting it all together to create a larger picture. We can well imagine that countries such as Iraq, and North Korea were interested to learn from NBC News that the United States had only about 70 air launched cruise missiles remaining after the first three weeks of the attacks on Serbia. Together with information they can glean from technical journals, we are providing them with a wealth of important data. Censorship is not the answer, but developing an awareness of security risks would be a good starting point.


There are two sorts of conclusions - both are important:

Those that are obvious and about which everyone is talking:

  • We need to understand the systems upon which our society depends and develop means to protect them and the information which they require (banking, power, other infrastructure)

  • We need to protect our strategic secrets both military and industrial ones (research, technologies, innovation processes)

And the less obvious conclusions of which we have been speaking:

  • We need to ensure that we really understand the nature of other cultures, and the potential motivations which may cause them to become aggressors. This implies that languages and people skills will need to become as important as technical skills. We also need to understand how we may deal with them appropriately as both potential allies and enemies.

  • We need to understand our own cultures better, so that we can become more aware of what we are doing in the world and the (presently) unanticipated impacts we are having. We also need to identify our vulnerabilities, both psychological and physical, and work to minimize them.

  • We need to establish realistic rules of engagement for both future warfare and information warfare

  • We need to develop some means for identifying and prioritizing the critical information that we cannot afford to "give away" even to our friends, and develop punishments for infringement.

And above all, we need to engage our brains before we act.