Military swarming is a behavior where autonomous, or semi-autonomous, units of action attack an enemy from several different directions and then regroup. Pulsing, where the units shift the point of attack, is a part of military swarming. Swarming is not limited to the human military realm. As the name suggests, it comes from insect behavior, although social insects, such as bees, wasps and ants, also use its principles in nest building, food gathering and reproduction.
Military swarming involves the use of a decentralized force against an opponent, in a manner that emphasizes mobility, communication, unit autonomy and coordination or synchronization. Historically military forces have used the principles of swarming without really examining them explicitly, but there is now active research in consciously examining military doctrines that draw ideas from swarming. In nature and nonmilitary situations, there are other various forms of swarming. Biologically driven forms are often complex adaptive systems, but have no central planning, simple individual rules, and nondeterministic behavior that may or may not evolve with the situation.
Current military explorations into swarming address the spectrum of military operations, from strategic through tactical. An expert group evaluated swarming's role in the "revolution in military affairs" or force transformation. They observed that military swarming is primarily tactical, sometimes operational and rarely strategic, and is a complement to other efforts rather than a replacement for them. Swarming is a logical extension of network-centric warfare, but the networks needed to make swarming routine will be available around 2010-2011. At present, the networking for swarming is only available in specific contexts.
Read more about Swarming (military): Reviewing Swarming and Non-swarming Conflict, Swarming in History, The Evolution of Modern Swarming, Modern Military Swarming, Swarming Is Not A Panacea, Modern Militaries and Lower-intensity Conflict, See Also
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