Let us start with the simple proposition: what bankers are allowing to happen (consciously or not) at Financial Institutions (FIs) and Central Banks is far more fearsome than what terrorists have planned in the past. A failure of their jointly operated payments and settlements systemi would do more systemic damage to the advanced economiesii than any terrorist attack has done to date. This failure could result from an exterior attack by a state or group, an insider threat, or from technical failures in an overly complex system.
Within this series of three papers and one podcast, we want to identify how modern technology and financial systems can be brought in line with current thinking about various forms (domains) of warfare, including cyber war. We both find it intriguing that while logistics is considered a crucial function of the study of conflict, financial systems are not. This is surprising given the critical nature of the payments and settlements networks. The entire discussion of this system needs to be located within larger discussions of cooperation, confrontation, conflict and all-out war.
The papers will be presented as follows:
In the first part, we examine the invisible links between banks, terrorism and existential threats. There are two key areas of examination. First is the physical system – the central nervous system – of the advanced economies which is known as the international payments and settlements system. Second, is the existential threat resident in the current limitations of the legitimacy of the fiat currency system. In short, if you crash the first, you may destroy the second.
In the second part, we will produce a future scenario involving the People’s Republic of China, it’s capabilities and intentions and how a potential conflict scenario could develop. We will also examine previous payments and settlements attacks and failures, and draw some conclusions about the state of system security.
Intermisso – Broken Mirrors Podcast, Episode Two: The transformation of the sixth domain: economic warfare and you in the Information Age.
Part Three – In the third, and final, part, we will look at what needs to be done to secure the payments and settlements system, and react to readers and listeners responses.