Perhaps one of the most important articles yet published on military infowar, propaganda, media influence and PSYOPs has appeared online.
Called ‘Military Social Influence in the Global Information Environment: A Civilian Primer’ – the piece is written by psychologist Sarah King who outlines the theory and practice of US information warfare as it stands today.
Although the piece gives a fascinating and sometimes jaw dropping account of US information operations (replete with examples) it serves as an essential general introduction to how military thinking has moved on from assuming wars are fought with troops on the ground to conceptualising conflict as inseparable from its social impact.
A more prominent view among information warriors is that changes in information, technology, and social influence capabilities have actually transformed the terms of war. War between standing armies of nation-states is seen as increasingly unlikely, both because the United States is an unmatched military superpower and because damage that would result from use of modern physical weapon systems is deemed intolerable.
Our military’s enemies, experts predict, are most likely to be small, rogue groups who attempt to prevail by winning popular support and undermining U.S. political will for war. The argument here is that in most modern war, physical battles, if they exist, will be for the purpose of defining psychological battlespace.
What’s striking is the effort to dominate all aspects of the ‘information sphere’ – from public opinion, to news coverage, to acceptance on the ground, to shaping the general cultural concept of the country’s military.
The many examples given of how this has been attempted during the recent and ongoing conflict are completely fascinating.
If you only ever read one article on ‘information ops’ make it this one. It’s online and open-access with expert commentary due to appear during the year.
Link to excellent InfoWar article (thanks Stephan!).