Released 23 May 2022.
While propaganda and disinformation have been used to destabilize opposing forces throughout history, the US military remains unprepared for the way these methods have been adapted to the Internet era. This article explores the modern history of disinformation campaigns and the current state of US military readiness in the face of campaigns from near-peer competitors and proposes education as the best way to prepare US servicemembers to defend against such campaigns.
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Keywords: propaganda, disinformation, media literacy, military education, inoculation
Dr. Meghan Fitzpatrick, a strategic analyst with Defence Research and Canada (DRDC) Centre for Operational Research and Analysis (CORA), is a widely published author on trauma and resilience. Her current work looks at how militaries are navigating the increasing importance of the information environment. Since joining DRDC, she has received recognition for her research, including the CORA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Defence Analysis.
Dr. Ritu Gill has a PhD in social psychology from Carleton University and is currently a section head with DRDC. Her research examines online influence activities, specifically, how the Internet and social media influence the information environment, including the analysis of online audiences, and how deception techniques employed by adversaries, such as disinformation, impact audiences. She has been part of international defence research collaborations and was co-lead for the NATO Human Factors and Medicine Research Task Group “Digital and Social Media Assessment for Effective Communication and Cyber Diplomacy.”
Major Jennifer F. Giles, US Marine Corps, is currently a communication strategy and operations officer, a foreign area officer who advises commanders’ strategic and cultural engagement plans in the Pacific theater, and an instructor at the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Staff Training Program. She wrote Disrupting Disinformation: Force Protection through Media Literacy Training and recently spoke on media literacy and adversary disinformation for the Defense Information School “DINFOS Live.”