The week started out with a good article at MIT on direct civilian involvement in last year’s Libyan conflict (hat tip – YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III, nearly as much a mouthful as my own name, at U.S. Naval Institute’s blog). While such involvement is nothing new, the author, John Pollock, and Gauthier document how citizens can take advantage of new technology to multiply their impact and help organize or redirect both the application and aims of state power.
Now Wired’s Danger Room is reporting on a clever and humorous hoax by some New York University students who most clearly demonstrated the potential for direct civilian involvement through a very convincing kickstarter knock-off: kickstricker, for sponsoring the missions you’d just love to see get done but can’t seem to convince your own military to take on. While just a prank for now, the technology, model, and motivation are clearly out there.
Beyond funding extra missions, the kickstricker hoax also demonstrated the renewed potential for directly funding state militaries’ unfunded requirements. While LT Kurt Albaugh’s post here earlier this week, “Crowdsourcing the Next Navy,” dealt with grabbing ideas and innovation from a broader base, this model could equally apply to grabbing funds. This wouldn’t be the first time a nation turned to public fundraising of its military, such as the war bonds effort in World War II. Crowdsourcing unfunded requirements lists could be a way for navies to stay afloat in a time of sinking budget numbers.