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The Efficacy of Cognitive Shock

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,21 May 2015

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Western militaries orient their understanding of depth on the physically quantifiable aspects of time and space. Yet, new understanding of the human mind across multiple disciplines proves the more important aspect of depth is cognitive in nature. Perceptions of reality differ between cultural groups and their associated institutions, to include their militaries. Expectations of operations being perceived the same way as those who plan them or that of static doctrinal understandings fail to account for cognition and are relegated to resource intensive actions to force ones will on their adversary. This paper presents a holistic understanding of how to exploit cognitive depth with reduced resource requirements through the efficacy of cognitive shock. It uses a multiple vantage approach with the disciplines of philosophy, cognitive neuro-science, psychology, complexity, and military theory to provide unique perspectives into the subjects of depth and cognition. This paper argues that cognitive shock provides the most effective way to exploit cognitive depth and the most efficient way to achieve strategic aims. The result is the theory of Systemic Cognitive Fragmentation SCF consisting of the following four critical elements needed for the efficacious exploitation of depth systemic thought, novelty in action, cognitive swarming, and deception. Ultimately, this paper and the theory of SCF provide a holistic appreciation of cognitive depth that allows military practitioners to operationalize cognitive shock against any given rival while experiencing diverse ecologies.


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