Small Wars Journal

information operations

Whose Story Wins: Rise of the Noosphere, Noopolitik, and Information-Age Statecraft

Whose Story Wins: Rise of the Noosphere, Noopolitik, and Information-Age Statecraft

Noopolitik

RAND analysts David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla have released a new monograph, Whose Story Wins: Rise of the Noosphere, Noopolitik, and Information-Age Statecraft on their concept of noopolitik as a way forward for US grand strategy.  Ronfeldt and Arquilla are veteran strategic analysts known for their works on information strategic and network theory.  Their significant works include The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward an American Information Strategy (1999) and Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy (2001).

The authors urge strategists to consider a new concept for adapting US grand strategy to the information age—noopolitik, which favors the use of ‘soft power’ —as a successor to realpolitik, with its emphasis on ‘hard power.’  The authors examine how US adversaries are already deploying dark forms of noopolitik— essentially ‘weaponized’ narratives, along with strategic deception, and epistemic attacks—against the United States.  They then propose ways to fight back, discussing how the future of noopolitik is dependent on the state of the ‘global commons.  The noosphere, in their formulation is a ‘realm of the mind’ and ‘thinking circuit’ that favors collective intelligence.  As the noosphere expands, it will supplant realpolitik strategies with noopolitik.  Thus, the decisive factor in statecraft and the wars of today and tomorrow are wars of ideas where success is bound to be ‘whose story wins.’  This decisive role of ideas is the essence of noopolitik.

Source: David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla, Whose Story Wins: Rise of the Noosphere, Noopolitik, and Information-Age Statecraft. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020, https://doi.org/10.7249/PEA237-1.

 

ZFTWARNING Wed, 07/29/2020 - 7:54pm

The Appearance of Three New Radical Islamist English-Language Online Magazines: Al Risalah, One Ummah & Voice of Hind

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 3:26pm
This research note provides an update concerning new radical Islamist English-language online magazines appearing since the ebook publication of The Islamic State English-Language Online Magazine Rumiyah (Rome).

About the Author(s)

Will Today's Media Win or Lose Information Warfare for the West? SWJED Mon, 04/13/2020 - 12:26am
Whether during the Cold War or today, "free", open, liberal democratic societies are at an inherent disadvantage when it comes to the playing field and information flow. First, having access to information alone is not sufficient for the critical assessment of that information. Indeed, indoctrination through repetitive exposure to a particular point of view can be as harmful in that sense as complete lack of access. Nor does greater access to information by itself lead to greater security. Failure to identify and prioritize important and correct information can lead to devastating intelligence and policy failures.
Informatizing Operations: The Other Half of All-Domain Warfare SWJED Fri, 03/27/2020 - 11:16am
Warfare has become all-domain, all-effects, and all-information. This reality is well outside the conventional wisdom of a “threshold of armed conflict.” Operations in and across land, sea, air, space, and the electro-magnetic spectrum (cyber-plus) depend on information and more importantly, create information. Our combined arms approach to warfare focuses on operationalizing information. That is, using information to support all-domain operations. To win wars in the Information Age, we must complete the other half of the job: informatizing operations. That is, we need to use operations to create superior information effects.
Coronavirus Crisis: U.S.-China Media War Couldn’t Come at a Worse Time SWJED Wed, 03/25/2020 - 6:05am
China’s move to expel U.S. journalists from the country last week comes at a time of great need for accurate information about COVID-19. The move is part of a broader Chinese effort to control the global narrative about the pandemic and is especially dangerous right now—as cracking down on foreign media further undermines trust in China’s ability to respond to the pandemic with transparency.
Making Sense of the Information Environment SWJED Tue, 03/03/2020 - 11:01am
While the IE appears new as a reality and a concept, it is not. In fact, it is merely the latest defi-nitional means for making sense of how human beings use information to influence the direc-tion and outcome of competition and conflict.
From Jargon to Jointness: Understanding the Information Environment and Its Terminology SWJED Mon, 02/24/2020 - 12:17am
There is still disagreement and outright confusion about what the IE is, why it matters, how to operate within it, and how to develop a terms and definitions relating to it. While terms and definitions comprise the primary focus of this article, it is most useful to discuss them in the context of interactions between information, competition, and strategy.

“A New Postmodern Condition”: Why Disinformation Has Become So Effective

Sun, 02/23/2020 - 5:33am
Why are conspiracies so prevalent? Why are facts and truth so elusive to so many today? Why are people so susceptible to disinformation? Why is the current political climate so peculiar, turbulent, and divided? It is clear that there is a relationship between the disinformation that people ingest and the vitriol that some seem to spit out. These puzzling circumstances may be the result of a growing trend of postmodern thought in the United States and the world.

About the Author(s)

Competing to Win in the Information Environment: Complex Warfare with Chinese Characteristics SWJED Thu, 12/12/2019 - 3:02am
Complex warfare is high stakes competition in learning, and the United States is being out-thought and out-fought by China. Why is this so, and what can we do about it?
China’s All-Effects All-Domain Strategy in an All-Encompassing Information Environment SWJED Mon, 10/14/2019 - 7:28pm
China is wielding strategies that envelop opponents with an all-effects all-domain approach to national power. These effects are neither precise nor pre-ordained because they occur in an uncertain information environment that encompasses behavior by all sensors – living, or artificial. Drawing from a rich tradition of hybrid stratagems and holistic information, China’s leaders use a variety of asymmetric approaches that exploit weaknesses in opponents’ strategies.