Data Smog, Techno Creep and the Hobbling of the Cognitive Dimension

Data Smog, Techno Creep and the Hobbling of the Cognitive Dimension

Peter R. Marksteiner (United States Air Force, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-326-5.ch007
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Abstract

Information overload is an increasingly familiar phenomenon, but evolving United States military doctrine provides a new analytical approach and a unifying taxonomy organizational leaders and academicians may find useful in conducting further study of this subject. The overabundance of information, relentless stream of interruptions, and potent distractive quality of the internet draw knowledge workers away from productive cognitive engagement like an addictive drug, hobbling the quality and timeliness of decisions and causing considerable economic waste. Evolving U.S. military doctrine addressing “Information Operations” applies time tested principles regarding the defense of physical resources to an information age center of gravity—the decision making capacity of people and organizations, or the “cognitive dimension.” Using military doctrine and thinking to underscore the potential seriousness of this evolving threat should inspire organizational leaders to recognize the criticality of its impact and motivate them to help clear the data smog, reduce information overload, and communicate for effect.
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Introduction

The instruments of national power come from the diplomatic, informational, military, and economic sectors. . . . They are the tools the United States uses to apply its sources of power, including its culture, human potential, industry, science and technology, academic institutions, geography, and national will. (JP1, p. x)

Prominent voices in business occasionally borrow military vocabulary to describe their strategic plans or business visions. When űber capitalist Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street”) told his young protégé, Bud (Charlie Sheen) there was much he could learn about making business deals from Sun Tzu’s Art of War, aspiring tycoons began pulling the book off shelves in record numbers. Taking advantage of military thinking makes good sense. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is an enormous and complex organization. It manages a budget more than doubling the world’s largest corporations and employs more people than a third of the world’s countries. Moreover, the U.S. military has a fairly impressive win-loss performance record. In business terms, it’s a market leader. The U.S. military has maintained its position by methodically incorporating advances in technology into strategic thinking. From precision weapons, to stealthy invisibility, to space based surveillance the U.S. military, guided by time tested doctrine, has capitalized on technological advance with overwhelming success. Evolving U.S. military doctrine addressing “Information Operations” (IO) applies time tested principles regarding the defense of physical resources to information age centers of gravity—the aggregate decision making capacities of people and organizations. Modern military doctrine defines that center of gravity as the “cognitive dimension” of the information environment. Using that doctrine to underscore the potential seriousness of this evolving threat should inspire organizational leaders to recognize the criticality of its impact and motivate them to help clear the data smog and reduce information overload.

Mission Creep and Fog & Friction

Obviously, not all military principles are useful in the commercial world, but some absolutely are. In business, for example, choices about pursuing one course of action over another are typically based on projected economic returns on investment (ROI). By contrast, choices made by nations about engaging in armed conflict may include considerations of economic ROI, but quite often also involve other non-economic considerations. Among those military principles particularly well suited to evaluate how organizations produce and manage information are the concepts of “mission creep” and “fog and friction.”

Consider the concept of “mission creep.” The term is commonly used in defense-related and main stream publications to describe situations wherein a military operation is initiated for a stated purpose but morphs over time into a considerably broader undertaking, often based on early successes (e.g., Stevenson, 1996; Yates, 1997; Siegel, 2000; Hoagland, 1993; Freemon, 2004, Weiland, 2006). More recently, the term is frequently used along side phrases such as “requirements creep” and “scope creep” to describe the tendency of bureaucracies to direct more and more resources to ever expanding and imprecisely defined goals (See e.g., Bennett, 2008; Appelo, 2008).

The phrase “fog and friction” was introduced into the soldier’s catechism in the 18th century by Prussian Army officer Carl Von Clausewitz in perhaps the best known work on military thought in modern history, On War. “Fog” describes the inherent uncertainty and unpredictability of war. “Friction” describes the proposition that in almost any plan requiring human action, unanticipated variables pop up that not only introduce delays and diversions in their own right, but also often combine with one another to produce entirely unpredictable results, the aggregate effects of which far exceed the sum of their individual impacts.

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Merrill Warkentin
Preface
Kenneth J. Knapp
Acknowledgment
Kenneth J. Knapp
Chapter 1
Jaziar Radianti, Jose J. Gonzalez
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Dynamic Modeling of the Cyber Security Threat Problem: The Black Market for Vulnerabilities
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Chapter 2
Somak Bhattacharya, Samresh Malhotra, S. K. Ghosh
As networks continue to grow in size and complexity, automatic assessment of the security vulnerability becomes increasingly important. The typical... Sample PDF
An Attack Graph Based Approach for Threat Identification of an Enterprise Network
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Chapter 3
Robert F. Mills, Gilbert L. Peterson, Michael R. Grimaila
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the insider threat and discuss methods for preventing, detecting, and responding to the threat. Trusted... Sample PDF
Insider Threat Prevention, Detection and Mitigation
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Chapter 4
Richard T. Gordon, Allison S. Gehrke
This chapter describes a methodology for assessing security infrastructure effectiveness utilizing formal mathematical models. The goal of this... Sample PDF
An Autocorrelation Methodology for the Assessment of Security Assurance
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Chapter 5
Ken Webb
This chapter results from a qualitative research study finding that a heightened risk for management has emerged from a new security environment... Sample PDF
Security Implications for Management from the Onset of Information Terrorism
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Chapter 6
Yves Barlette, Vladislav V. Fomin
This chapter introduces major information security management methods and standards, and particularly ISO/IEC 27001 and 27002 standards. A... Sample PDF
The Adoption of Information Security Management Standards: A Literature Review
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Chapter 7
Peter R. Marksteiner
Information overload is an increasingly familiar phenomenon, but evolving United States military doctrine provides a new analytical approach and a... Sample PDF
Data Smog, Techno Creep and the Hobbling of the Cognitive Dimension
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Chapter 8
John W. Bagby
The public expects that technologies used in electronic commerce and government will enhance security while preserving privacy. These expectations... Sample PDF
Balancing the Public Policy Drivers in the Tension between Privacy and Security
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Chapter 9
Indira R. Guzman, Kathryn Stam, Shaveta Hans, Carole Angolano
The goal of our study is to contribute to a better understanding of role conflict, skill expectations, and the value of information technology (IT)... Sample PDF
Human Factors in Security: The Role of Information Security Professionals within Organizations
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Chapter 10
Nikolaos Bekatoros HN, Jack L. Koons III, Mark E. Nissen
The US Government is moving apace to develop doctrines and capabilities that will allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to exploit Cyberspace for... Sample PDF
Diagnosing Misfits, Inducing Requirements, and Delineating Transformations within Computer Network Operations Organizations
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Chapter 11
Rodger Jamieson, Stephen Smith, Greg Stephens, Donald Winchester
This chapter outlines components of a strategy for government and a conceptual identity fraud enterprise management framework for organizations to... Sample PDF
An Approach to Managing Identity Fraud
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Chapter 12
Alanah Davis, Gert-Jan de Vreede, Leah R. Pietron
This chapter presents a repeatable collaboration process as an approach for developing a comprehensive Incident Response Plan for an organization or... Sample PDF
A Repeatable Collaboration Process for Incident Response Planning
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Chapter 13
Dean A. Jones, Linda K Nozick, Mark A. Turnquist, William J. Sawaya
A pandemic influenza outbreak could cause serious disruption to operations of several critical infrastructures as a result of worker absenteeism.... Sample PDF
Pandemic Influenza, Worker Absenteeism and Impacts on Critical Infrastructures: Freight Transportation as an Illustration
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Chapter 14
Preeti Singh, Pranav Singh, Insu Park, JinKyu Lee
We live in a digital era where the global community relies on Information Systems to conduct all kinds of operations, including averting or... Sample PDF
Information Sharing: A Study of Information Attributes and their Relative Significance During Catastrophic Events
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Chapter 15
Gregory B. White, Mark L. Huson
The protection of cyberspace is essential to ensure that the critical infrastructures a nation relies on are not corrupted or disrupted. Government... Sample PDF
An Overview of the Community Cyber Security Maturity Model
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Chapter 16
Doug White, Alan Rea
In this chapter the authors present essential server security components and develop a set of logical steps to build hardened servers. The authors... Sample PDF
Server Hardening Model Development: A Methodology-Based Approach to Increased System Security
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Chapter 17
Jeff Teo
Computer attacks of all sorts are commonplace in today’s interconnected, globalized society. A computer worm, written and released in one part of... Sample PDF
Trusted Computing: Evolution and Direction
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Chapter 18
Miguel Jose Hernandez y Lopez, Carlos Francisco Lerma Resendez
This chapter discusses the basic aspects of Honeypots, how they are implemented in modern computer networks, as well as their practical uses and... Sample PDF
Introduction, Classification and Implementation of Honeypots
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About the Contributors