Small Wars Journal

information operations

Irregular Warfare Podcast: Competing for Influence: Operations in the Information Environment

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 12:52pm

Podcast: https://mwi.usma.edu/competing-for-influence-operations-in-the-information-environment/

 

Lt. Gen. Lori Reynolds and Dr. Thomas Rid discuss how this campaign for influence is waged below the threshold of armed conflict. What are the rules of this domain, the risks and the opportunities, and the best methods for achieving dominance? From a national security perspective, what are the challenges in planning a campaign focused on competition short of war? Is the United States as a democratic society at a disadvantage in this competition—or are there ways that it can turn the tables on its adversaries? Our guests explore these topics in a frank and fascinating conversation that reveals the critical role played by information in every aspect of national security.

Lt. Gen. Reynolds is the US Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for information. Her responsibilities as such range from cyber to influence to command and control—encompassing all aspects of what the Marine Corps terms “military information power.”

Dr. Rid is a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University’ School of Advanced International Studies. He has devoted more than a decade to investigating the use of information and disinformation by national powers—most notably Russia. He was the first named source to identify the cyberattack on the 2016 US election as a Russian operation and has been consulted for his expertise by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as well as the German Bundestag and the UK Parliament. Dr. Rid is author of the recently published book Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare.

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

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

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.

 

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?

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.

About the Author(s)

Informatizing Operations: The Other Half of All-Domain Warfare

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.

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Coronavirus Crisis: U.S.-China Media War Couldn’t Come at a Worse Time

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.

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From Jargon to Jointness: Understanding the Information Environment and Its Terminology

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.

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