Influence Mechanisms: A Framework for Integrated Operations
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An different methodology for countering adversary influence operations
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
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.