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The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006 provides recent, glaring evidence of how the current information environment has impacted the way warfare is conducted today. Hezbollah masterfully manipulated and controlled that environment to its advantage, using (at times staged and altered) photographs and videos to garner regional and worldwide support. If this doesn't sound new, it shouldn't... especially if you are an Israeli. Hamas effectively used the same techniques to turn the Battle of Jenin in April, 2002 into not only a strategic informational victory, but a historical legend of resistance that lives on today in the hearts and minds of Palestinians. The Israelis, having won total tactical victory in Jenin, literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by abrogating the information battlespace to Hamas. Certainly, United States military leaders can, at a minimum, empathize with the Israelis. Insurgent use of information as an asymmetric strategic means has been extremely effective in the current theaters of Iraq and Afghanistan leading Richard Holbrooke to famously muse: "How can a man in a cave out-communicate the world's leading communications society?" Had Holbrooke even superficially studied recent history he could have answered his own question. The monopoly enjoyed by nation-states over information as an element of power was rapidly lost as technology improved and as the means to transmit that information became smaller, faster, cheaper and, consequently, ubiquitous. And the outlook in that regard certainly does not seem to favor lumbering bureaucracies any time in the future.
These enabling technological capabilities have popularly been tagged "new media." Broadly, new media has been described as "that combustible mix of 24/7 cable news, call-in radio and television programs, Internet bloggers and online websites, cell phones and iPods." But, of course this menu limits the definition to present day capabilities and is quickly outdated given current and expected future technological advances. New media in this context quickly becomes "old" media, especially in light of projected asymptotic increases in speed and capacity. So, a more timeless definition should consider new media as any capability that empowers a broad range of actors (individuals through nation-states) to create and disseminate near-real time or real time information with the ability to affect a broad (regional or worldwide) audience.