Small Wars Journal


Influence Mechanisms: A Framework for Integrated Operations

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 9:53pm
Traditionally most people think of using the stick of coercion when dealing with a foe and the carrot of persuasion with an ally, but we should amend our influence planning to include the possibility of applying both, as required, in a goal-centric model.  Friend or Foe?  As a target it makes little difference in designing the dialog of influence if we recognize that either would decide on an action only after weighing the pros and cons. Instead, distinguishing between whether you are trying to discourage an actor’s potential behavior or you are trying to encourage their current behavior offers planners more utility than focusing on your relationship with them.

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

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



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.

Weaponization of Metaphors in Russian Propaganda: Sexual Violence, as State Sovereignty Violation

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 1:01am
The deployment of these “cognitive munitions” in the current “hot” stage of political warfare confrontation between Russia and the West should serve as a stark reminder that multiple “defusing” initiatives should be actively developed and implemented, aiming at raising the cognitive protection levels at military and civilian institutions alike.

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