Swarming and Counter-Swarming: Historical Observations and Conclusions




Inbody, Donald S.

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C4ISR Decision Support Center, Department of Defense


Recent attention to swarming theory and the potential for such use in modern combat has raised much interest in venues as diverse as UCLA, UC Berkeley, and the Marine Corps Combat Development Center. Much writing and research has been accomplished looking into various theories of swarming involving insects and birds as well as how to make machines function intelligently in concert. With seemingly new challenges being presented to the United States and the western world by terrorism and other forms of unconventional warfare, interest is high with great hopes that such work will yield a “new” warfare model or techniques that will provide an edge in future combat. By examining the cases of two battles - Rorke's Drift and Islandhlwana, some military principles can be found that appear to be common both in the use of swarming tactics and in counter-swarming (defensive) tactics. Swarming, while potentially dangerous, may be effectively countered by use of well-known military principles of massing modern weapon effects by use of effective command and control.



swarming, counter-swarming, C4ISR, tactics, Political Science


Inbody, D. S. (2003). Swarming and counter-swarming: Historical observations and conclusions. Proceedings of the Swarming: Network Enabled C4ISR Conference, Washington, D.C.


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