The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Saturday, February 17, 2018, Zena Lefler and MS, Zena Lefler and MS
By Tim Krenz
February 16, 2018

Every single living person can forget the true and simple blessings which walk with us, every single day. Everyone, at some point, will also feel the challenge of their life running away from them, when the reality can knock us down without mercy. The most tragic circumstances almost always, and unfairly, happen to the young. And in the greatest of tragedies, true champions can step forward.

“Its crazy how life can change in a matter of days,” says Zena Lefler, age 20 and from St. Croix Falls, who awoke one day and could not use her legs. That started a process of extended hospital stays, ER visits, testing, specialists, more testing, etc. Still, the condition worsened; bringing more specialist visits, and more testing. Now four months later, Zena has received a confirmed diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Expenses rose. And more changes must come, like MS treatments, needs for special equipment and access, and occupational and physical therapy.

All this will hopefully make Zena Lefler better able to live a more fulfilling life despite the MS, a disease in which the immune system attacks the protective sheaf that covers the nerve fibers. This assault on the nervous system hinders the communication between the brain and the body and sometimes causes the communication to completely fail. And still, this early on, with someone so young, Zena keeps the attitude of a true champion. “It just takes motivation and a positive outlook on your situation to make it through.”

As a full-time production worker at Smith Metal Products in Center City, MN, Zena already had the insurance, but that does not cover everything. In addition to Zena herself in her outlook alone, other champions did step forward. . .

Co-workers, including her mom, Barb Fenton, and friends and family, started and a Gofundme page, but they have creatively organized a benefit, with the usual attractions, this Saturday, Feb. 24th, at JJ's Club 35, in Milltown, WI. The event from 10 AM to 2 PM includes a noon spaghetti lunch, but it brings a new twist to raising awareness about the blessings we take for granted, like taking a few short steps.

Proclaimed as the all “Age Group World Championships,” the “Running Race for Everyone” does have the more traditional longer races at 10.01k and 5.01k, but the main attraction comes in the form of 32 feet, a unique world championship race for all different age groups at .01k, just under ten yards.

The benefit is planned as an inter-generational event. Grandparents, bring grand kids. No matter what your age, you've got a shot at becoming a world champion,” said Paul D. Smith of Osceola, one of the organizers and a co-worker of Zena. In the spirit of the athletic season, the organizers also plan to treat contestants and champions, young and older, with Olympic-style glam and flair.

With a minimum suggested event donation of $25/person, and then a little more to register for the 10.01 and 5.01k races, the event focuses on the larger picture, based on Zena's experience. “We won't take our mobility for granted,” says the event poster. For others facing any struggle when simple blessings thoughtlessly or tragically walk from us, Zena keeps the perspective humble. She says, “Just stay positive and you can do just about anything,” like coping with MS. To say that in her condition, we can all take that advice, and walk or run with it as a larger Valley community that cares for one another.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Dark Frontiers of War in the Future--Part II: The Smart Base of Orbital Dominance

Dark Frontiers of War in the Future
By Tim Krenz
February 5, 2018
For Hometown Gazette

Part II: The Smart Base of Orbital Dominance

In part one of this series we examined the changes for waging war due to scientific development and technical advances. The first article introduced the four concurrent levels or divisions of war fighting in the Next Frontiers model: Informed Command, Smart Base, Stealth Fires, and Connected Maneuver. Specifically, we surveyed the Informed Command through history, and also that level's dark frontier in the union of cyber-bionics, and the implications of that union and its counter-measures.

In this part, we will survey the history of another division, the Smart Base, and the dark frontier of Orbital Dominance. We will do so according to the same criteria as the previous article. What does the Dark Frontier mean? How does it compare with the old? What counter-measures can stop these new weapons of today and tomorrow? And how does it affect non-combatants.

In the dark frontier model, Smart Base gets defined as getting weapons systems and their operating personnel to the decisive points in the battle space, and to sustain them there, and move them forward until enemy resistance ceases. When it comes down to an understanding of a smart base function, “strategy equals (=) logistics.”

People may often forget the proper departure point where leaders choose a political policy and make a decision to wage war. Policy then should never separate itself physically or morally from the actual the battle space. For at that point, the other webs of strategy (like the Smart Base concept), and the tactical and operation functions all join toward the success or failure that political policy decision by military acts. Nothing happens in warfare without extreme physical cost and a high moral-intellectual effort

Supreme physical-logistic efforts cost premium prices. And to avoid intellectual or moral bankruptcy in the types of warfare that we will discuss, political policy has to successfully terminate in victory, and has to do so by putting all elements of power together and in the places they will serve most efficiently. That applied power, theoretically, achieves the objective sought in the political decision, but on the other hand, nothing ever occurs according to plan.

Nations implementing a “strategy=logistics” approach use a Smart Base concept traditionally in direct or indirect avenues to achieve political objectives. A maritime strategy—using the world's oceans, with fleets of warships and support ships, seaborne commerce, and the ability to sustain these assets both from and onto land peripheries—made up one kind of Smart Base concept. The best examples of maritime strategy included: ancient Athens, the Roman Empire, and later the Venetian Republic, the British Empire, and the United States throughout most of its history.

Conversely, a Continental “strategy=logistics” approach involved raw land power, armies (and later air forces) designed to dominate neighbors and distant areas accessible to such power. In this example, we see ancient Sparta, the Persian empire, the Byzantine empire, Napoleonic France, Germany after its unification, and the Eurasian colossus of Russia throughout the latter's entire history. All used a predominantly Continental strategy to pursue political objectives in war and peace.

Another Smart Base approach comes from the use of a People's Liberation struggle. Although ancient in its form, dating back to before Roman times, it has a particularly 20th Century flair. The Arab revolt in World War I, led by T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia), who invented its modern potential, and other low intensity conflicts of the past 100 years have used it. However, the modern master of People's Liberation struggle, Mao Zedong, gave it its firm philosophical and intellectual underpinnings as applied to the realm of modern politics. Using the nationalist mass of people as its material support and mobilized resource, other practitioners like the team of Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap in Southeast Asia used it, brutally, to tame giants.

And oddly, although it involved far less bloodshed than full-scale war, the mahatma Gandhi used the material and manpower mobilization of People's Liberation struggle. As deftly as any general in his non-violent and non-cooperative resistance to free India from British colonialism, Gandhi nonetheless used similar strategic patterns in peace as Mao used in war. It gives truth to the idea that not all wars get hot or and not all political conflict gets overly violent.

Presently, the United States uses a hybrid strategy, one we may call Global Positioning, composed of elements of the maritime and Continental “strategy=logistics” system of achieving political goals. As both an active means of war fighting and a deterrent to it, Global Positioning lets the United States' armed forces strike any spot of the globe with relentless power from weapons platforms placed in all areas of the world. Global Positioning has the advantage of deeply impacting nations removed from lesser forms of coercion, and only the United States currently possesses such power to strike anyone, anywhere. Russia, with its nuclear weapons, though not with its conventional arsenal, comes as a close and second rank as the strategic competitor on that level.

The United States controls all battle spaces, outer space, air, land, and sea against any individual nation or small coalition. Only a vulnerability in cyberspace, where weaponized software and hardware remain available to any state and even non-state actors, does United States remain at risk of not achieving political objectives by warfare or peaceful (read: deterrent) means.

Hence, we arrive at the dark frontier of the future: Orbital Dominance, an area now open to any country that can willfully implement the financial or intellectual effort to challenge all others. Orbital Dominance, the Smart Base that uses the ultimate high ground for armed force to control politics on the earth, transcends the current capabilities of nations in low and high earth orbit. Space-based military platforms of the past 60 years got used for defense communications, planetary-wide intelligence gathering, and targeting assistance. They, including nuclear energy, its by products, and other derived weapons applications as both sources of sustainment and counter-measures, will only get improved over time.

At the moment, the United States and Russia lead other nations in using the orbits to enhance terrestrial weapons. However, the Smart Base approach to the militarization of space remains wide open, to nation-states who can make the commitment to challenge U.S. and Russia superiority. The race to get there first with more, in the “strategy=logistics” construct, and to sustain the effort to keep the systems there and battle worthy has only really begun. The race for Space Supremacy only now begins.

The immense expense of researching and building this Smart Base space system creates prohibitive costs for most countries. And not only the weapons systems themselves, but the personnel and earth-bound industrial and military infrastructure to support them, make the project feasible and only a matter of political willpower to invest in it. While treaties make it unlawful for consenting nations to use space as a military zone of conflict, when national survival on earth or a chance to conquer any nation presents itself to radical political actors, consent to treaties means nothing. We see this already in China's development of non-territorial waters in the western Pacific for military uses in its national defense strategy. In this instance, China clearly ignores international legal rulings. Why could not or would not a nation ignore treaty law over militarizing space?

Space development as an industry does indeed contribute to commercial uses, but does that matter? While one can believe that space research and development can enhance an economy, the earth's people could better use the resources soon devoted to Orbital Dominance for more earthly, more vital and practical investments in humanity's future. And then beyond that, if space-based exploration and exploitation remain in humanity's future, how would one country, or a small group countries controlling the orbit, prove a detriment to humanity's access and use of space to enhance life for people on this planet? These questions clearly point out to themselves the answers we need. In the Orbital Dominance manner of a Smart Base, this division of the dark future of warfare will cast shadows over the future of Earth.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Dark Frontiers of War in the Future: Part I Introduction & Informed Command

Dark Frontiers of War in the Future
By Tim Krenz
December 7, 2017
For Hometown Gazette

Part I


Wars have always had direct cost, deadly costs, on peoples in the zones of conflict. Where wars once could limit themselves in their damage within a geographic area, in the zones of conflict that political choices declared as combat areas or theaters of war, wars in the 21st Century will make a massive expansion in their affects, both in terms of geographic range and direct impact on non-combatants.

Since the invention of nuclear weapons married to long-range delivery systems, the entire globe became a potential war zone in a general war involving such weapons systems. Beneath the specter of nuclear Armageddon, people everywhere remain under the implied threat of total and unrestrained destruction. A mix of diplomacy, economics, geography, and culture, combined with fear, threat and deterrence, thus far has saved humanity from drowning and choking in the sour milk and bitter honey of its harvest of science for war.

Now, in the era of a new, dark frontier of potential conflict, with yet another technical level of weaponry in development and early deployments, even in a so-called conventional war without nuclear-derived explosives, people everywhere stand in even more risk from modern war. While the technology advances, the zones of conflict have not necessarily expanded by political choices. Yet, the dark frontier of war in the new era of weapons casts its shadow over those directly within and those far removed from the active theaters of war or even lesser, ill-defined conflicts.

How the near-term conflicts play themselves out put everyone, everywhere at risk as potential casualties and victims of policies that start, fight, and finish war as a political choice. What does the new Dark Frontier of warfare mean? How does it compare with the old? What counter-measures can stop these new weapons of today and tomorrow? How does it affect non-combatants?

To describe these new technical additions to the old problems of arms, one can look at them within the framework of model based on four concurrent levels or divisions of war fighting: Informed Command, Smart Base, Stealth Fires, and Connected Maneuver.

The first division in the model, Informed Command, represents the deciding brain, the moral willpower, and the intellectual gifts that fight a conflict to its inevitable conclusion. In the past, one supreme person gave the motive and intelligent purpose to their army. Kings like Alexander the Great, Frederick the Great, the Emperor Napoleon, or a constituted and commissioned commander like General Washington, could use their singular abilities to directly command and control their army. At those relatively primitive times with the available technology, one person could exercise such authority and genius to command their forces and direct them to the objective of a victory.

With the rise of national armies, the staff system of technicians and specialists, beyond the assistants of the kings and supreme commanders, gave the single power of a commander greater scope to exercise their decisions, their moral willpower, and the intellectual plan over larger and larger forces using more complex technology. And this command and control spread over greater geographic areas, with all efforts engaged in operations and local combat, all still working toward the singular overriding aim in war—the victory over the enemy's powers of resistance.

Currently, the Informed Command model uses a staffing system, but utilizing even greater advances in technology to do so. The command functions of modern armed forces have moved even beyond the simple technicians of war, like a Ludendorff using the analog systems of war to direct operations. Command has become digitized. In networks of systems that still rely on the single will of power as its guiding light, and a staff to implement plans and execute actions, the Informed Command has morphed to include remote sensors, near-instaneous communications, and technical, even social means of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

For lack of a more precise term, the current command system gets labeled here by the acronym “C4ISR” (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance). Its purpose remains the same as with a single king or officer and the analog staff of technicians directing operations. However, now that new levels of technology have expanded beyond the limits of simply digitizing an analog war of fighting and killing enemies, the next dark frontier of war makes it both logical and feasible to proceed.

The next step in Informed Command will come in the form of Cyber-Bionics, a union of soldier and higher authorities, where machines that enhance physical human capacities combine with near artificial intelligence interfacing for increasing the combatants ability to achieve objectives. With quicker thinking and action and much greater tempo of both understanding situations and exploiting opportunities, the advantages clearly points the way ahead. In a way, generals become grunts and vice versa. As a practical union of man and machine for making more effective war, but absolutely not as some sci-fi robot zombie, humans harnessing machines and nuanced digital thought-enhancing awareness pose all manners of moral and ethical, and legal, and even health questions, in their creation and employment. If it helps to win wars, it has a logic for proceeding. Hence, comes the danger with this particular dark frontier of warfare in the near future.

As a counter-measure, a physical and intellectual way of defeating cyber-bionics, bio-viruses and network viruses both represent feasible means of defense. Such counter-measures allow a defender, or an attacker, to disable the Informed Command function of the enemy, which can lead to the opponents overthrow. A series of viral attacks that could infect larger populations or networks, while winning a war, definitely pose serious problems.

Some questions, in terms of international and domestic law and even public health, arise in the use of such counter-measures. Also, game theory of the type developed for nuclear operations come into play. A pre-emptive use of a viral counter-measure reflects a counter-force nuclear strike to disable, or deter a larger retaliation by, enemies. Also, a second strike retaliation, again as in nuclear game theory, on a scale of massive destruction to populations or networks, also comes into the mix of deterring the use of Cyber-bionics in modern war. Whether it involves such complex rationalized thinking or international treaties on the use of biological or cyber weapons (the latter sure to come in the future), the effects on populations of such counter-measures to destroy an enemy pose the greatest dangers of all in the new Informed Command structures of armed forces.

(End Part I: Next Up—Smart Base and Orbital Dominance)