WarTV: A Future Vision for a Common Operating Picture

1 MAY 2011 – ABBOTTABAD, PAKISTAN – Abbottabad, Pakistan is less than a two-hour drive from the capital city of Islamabad and 3.1 miles from the Pakistan Military Academy to the southwest. In relative terms, Abbottabad is a much less busy place than Karachi, Pakistan, and is very attractive to tourists and those seeking higher education for their children. Despite Abbottabad’s relative inactivity compared to the bustling Karachi, there were signs of digital life in 2011.     Figure 1 @ReallyVirtual, AKA Sohaib Athar, a resident of Abbottabad accidentally live tweets the Navy SEAL raid on the Bin Laden Compound.  All timestamps from the tweets are US Eastern Time.   Unwittingly, Sohaib Athar, or @ReallyVirtual live-tweeted the Navy SEAL raid on the compound that housed Osama bin Laden and his family 0.8 miles southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy from the hours of 3:58 pm Eastern Standard Time through 6:39 pm Eastern Standard Time on 1 May 2011.[i] This is just months after The Arab Spring protesters began utilizing social media, Facebook and Twitter in particular, to influence large swaths of populations into a movement of collective activism, operating outside of the purview of state-owned media platforms. At this point, the Internet had begun to grow at an accelerated rate with massive impacts traversing the virtual sphere into the physical world. At the time, most members of the military did not understand the implications social media had on the geopolitical stage. However, the military should understand social media as a magnifying glass into the human domain, and should integrate these computer-mediated technologies into operations. Fast forward to today, where...