Thursday, September 28, 2017

Is Russia's Information Warfare Campaign a Success?

Miah Hammond-Errey,

image from article
The latest evolution in warfare is a trend towards the blurring of the line between war and peace and the shift of conflict into the public domain. A key change in the evolution of warfare has been the role information plays in modern warfare.[1] The latest attempts to grapple with evolving dimensions of warfare have thrown up a large number of concepts used in the East and West to describe the tactics, strategies, and roles associated with the use of information. The variety in these terms in many ways reflects the complexity of a field that encompasses projections of national power, covert and overt activities, and defines nation state responses to state, intrastate, and non-state violence. It is an example of the changes in how nations comprehend and express their national security, as well as the utility and application of armed force in international affairs, not to mention the broader achievement of foreign policy outcomes. 
In this essay, I argue that Russian doctrine and recent disinformation campaigns exploit the grey-zone concept and have significant implications for future warfare. Firstly, I’ll cover Russian doctrine, then briefly cover similar terms in Western thinking. Secondly, I argue that Russian operations blur the line between war and peace in practice by using disinformation tactics in the public domain. Thirdly, I identify the drivers behind the effectiveness of information operations before lastly looking at the implications for policymakers and warfighters. ... 
In 2015, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, John B. Emerson, highlighted the challenge of countering Kremlin disinformation, saying; “this campaign of obfuscation has become all too familiar since the occupation of Crimea.”[60] Nimmo and Lucas argue that Russian disinformation does not aim to inform but to provoke doubt, disagreement, and ultimately, paralysis. In this context, it is calibrated to confuse, befuddle, and distract. They argued that modern Russia has weaponized information, turning the media into an arm of state power projection.[61] To use the words of Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss: “Since at least 2008, Kremlin military and intelligence thinkers have been talking about information not in the familiar terms of ‘persuasion,’ ‘public diplomacy,’ or even ‘propaganda,’ but in weaponized terms, as a tool to confuse, blackmail, demoralize, subvert, and paralyse.”[62]. ...

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