For those of you who missed our presentation at BlackHat this year, let me introduce you to three terms I use to characterize deception:
- Eye-to-eye: A game in which both (all) players see the same game. No players assume that any other player sees anything different.
- Con: A game in which at least one player holds a perceptual advantage over the others.
- Hypercon: A game in which at least one player sees through the con and thus holds a perceptual advantage over the “conning” players.
Note that any of these perceptions can be wrong, which can make things very interesting. The potential for the con and hypercon (perceived and misperceived) always exists. Sophisticated strategists and red teamers look to guard against and exploit the possibilities inherent in this potential.
Here’s another post from the RTJ archive, this time from Dec. 2003. It nicely complements my piece on the 2003 decision to go to war. I think the ideas in “The Will to Win” hold up well today, though I have to admit I’ve grown more cynical in the intervening 11 years.
While most observers admit that the so-called war on terrorism will be a long war, few have discussed openly the possibility of defeat. On one hand, this is sensible; too much talk of defeat can undercut our conviction and corrode our will. On the other hand, we must anticipate the roads that lead to defeat in order to avoid them.
Before I discuss these roads, I should state at the outset that I am addressing the long-term, strategic implications of the conflict here; for now, I have set aside the tactical and operational implications, which I admit are both manifold and daunting. Even so, I am confident that our tactics and operational skill will-over time-prove good enough to win. I am less confident in our nation’s strategic vision and stamina, and without the requisite vision and stamina, even the most brilliant tactics and operations will fall short. Read on …