Global Security and Intelligence Studies is a bi-annual, peer-reviewed, open access publication designed to provide a forum for the academic community and the community of practitioners to engage in dialogue about contemporary global security and intelligence issues. The journal welcomes contributions on a broad range of intelligence and security issues, and from across the methodological and theoretical spectrum. The journal especially encourages submissions that recognize the multidisciplinary nature of intelligence and security studies, and that draw on insights from a variety of fields to advance our understanding of important current intelligence and security issues. In keeping with the desire to help bridge the gap between academics and practitioners, the journal also invites articles about current intelligence and security related matters from a practitioner perspective. In particular, GSIS is interested in publishing informed perspectives on current intelligence and security related matters.
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Current Issue: Volume 6, Issue 2
Carter Matherly and Jim Burch
Psychological Chess: Erdoğan and the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Janice L. Farkas
The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers ...” This quote is identified as the poem read by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 1999. The utterance of these words prompted the political figure, the Mayor of Istanbul at that time, to be arrested for inciting religious hated and jailed for four months (Mays, 2017). Erdoğan, now Turkey’s elected President, is a controversial figure who has had a long political career, serving as its longest leader and well-known on the world stage. In 2018, he was elected President under a new, constitutionally approved Presidential System of Government after serving in many other governmental roles. Erdoğan’s leader- ship and foreign policies have been the subject of much contention and criticism over the years. The President’s governance style has been remarked to be “autocratic” and he has been referred to as a “wolf dressed in a sheep’s clothing” (Gőrener and Ucal 2011).
How We Lost the Information War of 2028
Recent US military strategy focuses on a return to Great Power Competition and a recommitment to Large Scale Combat Operations using physical capabilities that were successful in previous military conflicts such as Desert Storm. However, ubiquitous connectivity and the internet of things have nearly eliminated the effect of distance and made geography irrelevant within the information domain. This allows adversaries to bypass traditional military defenses while establishing a presence in American homes and businesses, delivering their content directly to US citizens through their smart phones and devices. The US government’s power comes from those it represents, which makes the attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs of the American people a national center of gravity. “How We Lost the Information War of 2028” uses recent historical events tempered by potential technological advances to postulate a potential arc of history in which China successfully uses Information Warfare to achieve its national interests at the expense of the American people while staying below the threshold of traditional war. It is a warning from the future about today’s adversary, an enemy that lies at your fingertip.
Research Articles & Critical Analysis
In Search of Monsters to Destroy: NATO’s Prosecution of the Kosovo Intervention in the Just War Theory
Scott N. Duryea
Many commentators believe that the NATO bombing campaign in the spring of 1999 in Kosovo answered the call for ethical humanitarian intervention. NATO responded with an aerial bombardment to stop Serbian aggression. Some analysts argue that the NATO response was destructive, costly, and a humanitarian disaster. Others proclaim it as appropriate, necessary, and just. On the specific ethical viewpoint, the just war theory, which has evolved throughout centuries to form the ethical justification for military action, offers strict criteria at the most basic level. Numerous scholars have already touched upon the ethical criteria for going to war. There remains, however, a gap in the literature regarding NATO behavior during the bombing campaign. I argue that, on many occasions, NATO operations violated jus in bello criteria, making the bombing campaign inhumane and ethically inexcusable.
‘Scapegoat,’ ‘Proxy’ and ‘Base’: A World Powers’ Guide to Domestic Extremist Co-Optation
Over the last decade the United States, Russian and Chinese governments have each been implicated in internationally recognized plots to subvert domestic and international law to their own benefit in which the individual countries’ interactions with a domestic extremist element played a pivotal role. While each of these events has garnered widespread media and academic attention, little focus has been directed at the way in which each Great Power interacted with domestic extremism in order to advance its goals. This study uses a Webarian comparative analysis to describe the Chinese internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the Russian annexation of Crimea and the radicalization of the Republican party in the United States, and how domestic extremism was in each case co-opted in order to achieve unpopular but critical goals. This study finds that domestic extremist co-optation is a proven strategy commonly employed by powerful authoritarian regimes around the world to achieve the most imperative and sensitive policy goals. Domestic extremist co-optation as a foreign policy strategy is characterized by the spread of disinformation, the promotion of violence and the concealment of the party responsible. This study identifies three archetypes of domestic extremist co-optation: the ‘scapegoat’, the ‘proxy’ and the ‘base,’ and empowers future research to increase that number.
Autonomous Robotics and the Laws of War: Methods and Consequences of Regulating Artificial Intelligence in Warfare
Joshua E. Duke
This article addresses the question of what impact International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC), and the international community can or should have on the international development/deployment of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems, and how the international community can achieve a significant impact with emerging national or cooperative international regulations or laws with regards to the developing relationship between robotics and warfare, without hindering technological developments in other areas of human life. The author, using primarily case studies related to weapon autonomy and robotics in warfare, tests the following theory: Technological advancements related to the development and implementation of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons in warfare have the potential to be directly impacted by IHL and the LOAC, by using a reactive approach guided by historical underlying principles related to other technologies and the moral spirit of existing laws in order to proactively regulate the field. In testing the theory, the author shows the differences in lasting and effective technological impact of reactive versus proactive international actions. The case studies highlight the effectiveness of reactive international action, while framing the underlying issues of the past in the context of modern autonomous weaponry developments. The article highlights the record of weapon systems with autonomous functions and discusses fully autonomous lethal weapon systems’ inherent inability to comply with international human rights laws.
Strategic Silence in Competitions Between Great Powers
William F. Harlow
A state does not become a great power by being seen as great. Rather, it becomes a great power by consistently advancing its interests. Unfortunately, in the United States (as in many other places) leaders are not often rewarded for actually advancing long-term interests in competitions with other powers. Rather, those leaders are rewarded for the popular perception of what they have achieved over a much shorter time period. Additionally, competitions between aspiring powers are not generally settled so neatly as sporting contests with a clear winner. The participants in great power com- petitions don’t always know when the contest has ended, and the parameters for what constitutes a win can be fuzzy. Even when a win is obvious, it often comes well after a typical term of political office has expired. During the height of the Cold War, for example, the United States and the Soviet Union made a series of competing claims about who was “winning” the struggle for global influence. These claims included numbers of astronauts launched, or the number of countries to which troops were deployed, or the size of economies—truly, the claims included anything which made one side or the other appear to be “ahead.” The problem is that, unlike a sports match with a well-defined score, these claims didn’t actually define who was winning. These claims defined who should be seen as winning, which isn’t the same thing. Rather, it would be something like determining the winner of the match based on whose fans were cheering the loudest.
Vaccine Hesitancy Among U.S. Military Service Members: Contributing Factors and Operational Impacts on the Great Power Competition
Mary Wootan Holst & Cameron Carleson
The COVID-19 Pandemic has presented the United States military with a unique challenge to maintain a forward presence in support of national security while adhering to critical COVID safety practices. Evidence-based COVID safety practices such as social distancing, sheltering at home, and now vaccinating are critical in protecting service members’ health. Simultaneously, these safety measures are challenging for the U.S. military because service members live and work in close quarters, options for telework are limited, and units must continue to execute worldwide deployments. A Pandemic milestone occurred in December 2020 when the FDA approved the first of several COVID-19 vaccinations under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Force-wide vaccination is critical for the U.S. military to return to unimpeded operations and safeguard units from debilitating outbreaks. While military member vaccination is traditionally compulsory for all Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- approved vaccinations, service members have had the rare choice to accept or decline the EUA COVID-19 vaccine until full FDA approval is granted. The vaccination decisions of individual service members have had significant operational, financial, and logistical impacts throughout the U.S. military. The prevention and mitigation of outbreaks across military units have required significant person-hours and financial obligations to ensure units can operate and deploy safely and on schedule. This paper discusses the historical context and current motivations behind military vaccine-hesitancy, broad operational impacts, and recommendations on addressing vaccine-hesitancy within the U.S. armed forces.
Policy Relevant Commentary & Notes from the Field
Limitations of Military Power to Counter a Rising China
Brendan M. Potter
Research finds that a heavy reliance on unaccompanied military deterrence with China is an ineffective solution. The U.S. lacks the requisite industrial power to replicate the winning conditions of its victory in the Pacific during World War Two. Untried developments in military technology create an unacceptable level of uncertainty at the outset of a conflict between two major powers. The study concludes that a more multidimensional approach must be increasingly emphasized by the U.S., incorporating other instruments of national power. The U.S. must increasingly foster security partnerships with allies, rely on the normative pressures from the international community via institutions, and adjust the form and focus of its own military to optimize the efficiency of existing forces without resorting to increased defense spending. Lastly, the U.S. must find common ground with China, reversing feelings of alienation and bullying that influence China to disregard the concerns of other nations.
Project Putin-2024 in the Geostrategy of Confrontation and Internal Challenges
Eugene Vertlieb (translated by D.T. Faleris)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt left us with the notion that we cannot do without Russia. But in the post-war world, a tough approach to Russia has prevailed, one based on Sir Winston Churchill’s Fulton concept: there can be only a total and uncompromising struggle of the “countries of freedom” against “tyranny.” And you need to have an overwhelming superiority in military power that ensures a “mutual understanding with Russia.”1 “More aggression” against Russia and China these days harkens back to naval commander Admiral John Richardson.2 Balancing on the edge of a razor blade is like balancing on the edge of a collapse into war. But sometimes actions speak louder than words. In the harsh confrontation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the militant rhetoric of the Americans did not match their scrupulous observance of the “red line” clearly drawn by Pyongyang.
The Security Issue of the South China Sea
Christian R. Sanchez Hernandez
China’s expansion in the South China Sea is not only import- ant for today’s political climate, but also crucial in the international relations arena. China has been able to claim nearly eighty percent of the South China Sea, affecting one third of the global maritime trade routes that occur in the South China Sea. Additionally, building up shoals and islets to expand China’s Exclusive Economic Zone beyond its natural coastal shores and militarizing them, add to the destabilization of the region. Realistic international relation theory asserts that China is currently manifesting and using coercive diplomacy and military projection as instruments of power.
Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America’s Alliances
Cody R. Schuette
China’s and Russia’s audacious and increasingly destructive transnational behavior is reducing America’s relative global power. To combat this, Mira Rapp-Hooper in Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America’s Alliances argues that although the post-World War II alliance system ensured the long-peace, enhanced cooperation with neoteric responses among allies are urgently required. The stated purpose of the book is to counter the recent rise of the populist anti-alliance rhetoric and demonstrate how and why alliances must adapt to contemporary great power competition. As a Senior Fellow for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the China Center at the Yale Law School, Rapp-Hooper speaks with authority on these topics and provides pragmatic policy options. Before discussing her policy recommendations though, she leads the reader through an objective and detailed analysis on the benefits of alliances, their place in American foreign policy, and why the current anti-alliance rhetoric only undermines American standing.
Volume 6, Issue 1
Melissa Layne and Carter Matherly
Through the Extremist Lens: Uncovering the Correlation Between Domestic Right-Wing Extremist Ideology and Violence in the United States from 2000 to 2020
Domestic right-wing extremist violence has been increasing since 9/11/2001, outpacing federal recognition of the problem. Preoccupation with Islamic terrorism is only a partial explanation of this shortfall, institutional barriers and an increasingly mainstream political salience of domestic right-wing extremist ideology create serious obstacles to efforts at countering violent extremism. This study presents a clear relationship between domestic right-wing extremist ideology and violence in order to inform an effective counter violent extremism strategy. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the expressed ideologies of domestic right-wing extremist attackers in the United States from 2000 to 2020 before comparing them to the number of deaths resulting from their attacks to reveal the correlation between ideology and the number of deaths. Qualitative data gathered from primary sources cited in news media archives vetted and referenced by the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) were theoretically coded to develop a set of aspects of domestic right-wing extremist ideology which were compared to quantitative data on the number of deaths gathered from the GTD. Comparison of aspects of ideology to the number of deaths showed that the ‘attacker justified violence’ aspect of ideology correlates significantly at a .05 degree of significance. Significant correlation between other aspects of ideology and the number of deaths, though prevalent, remain uncertain due to the small size of associated samples.
The Convergence of Subsects: Defining Where Deobandi and Salafi Subsects Intersect
Joshua Pease and James Hess
The purpose of this qualitative research study is to compare the practical and philosophical limitations of moderate Deobandi and Salafi doctrine in contrast with their extremist brethren, specifically the Taliban and Salafi jihadists. This research followed a two-part methodology. The first part, meta-ethnography, as a form of meta-synthesis uses ethnographic accounts and qualitative studies as comparative values against each other. The second part of this method involved translating the highlighted variables of the four subjects into shared concepts. These methods were derived from historical connections to the source, the legitimacy of the party conducting the rationalization, and internal scholastic discourse. The subjects are united in their pursuit of their Islamism, and are distinguished through their origins and situational rationale. The subjects were found to have several similarities concerning their methods of interpreting shari’a, but differ greatly in how that shari’a should be developed or implemented. The study concludes that the absence of unified Sunni leadership and scholastic enforcement has led to erratic evolutions of subsect ideologies about shari’a and the idealized Islamist society. This study recommends that future research be conducted within a narrower scope, focusing on the political psychology of the subjects.
How Does a Security Frame Affect Support for Refugee Protection in France and Germany in the Aftermath of Europe’s Refugee Crisis?
This article examines whether public support for the protection of refugees in France and Germany changes when refugee protection is framed as a national security matter. In focusing on public attitudes four years after the height of Europe’s refugee crisis, the paper examines two competing theoretical predictions: (a) that support for refugees should decrease when the matter is framed in terms of security, and (b) that sustained intergroup contact over time should decrease prejudice toward out-groups. Using a survey experiment design, research participants in France and Germany were randomly assigned into either a treatment or control group. The treatment group was exposed to a security frame, whereas the control groups did not see a frame. The experiment shows no evidence that a security frame has an overall effect on opinions about refugee protection, suggesting that this issue frame may not generate significant framing effects in these two countries, which have settled a large percentage of refugees and have had time for intergroup contact. The conclusion contextualizes these findings and presents avenues for future research on issue framing.
Comparative Analysis of Strategic Relationship Between Industrial versus Corporate Espionage within the Framework of Implementation Methods
Kadir Murat Altintas
In the last 30 years, widespread illegal science and technology transfer, physical or cyberattacks on companies’ trade secrets and intellectual property can cause serious damage to corporations. The effectiveness of precaution to be taken largely depends on accurate perception of these attacks and deciphering the sources of their motivation. The aim of this study is to comparatively analyse and model the relationship between industrial versus corporate espionage attempts for the purpose of legal/illegal technology transfer in terms of structural differences and implementation methods. Related concepts are explained through “Industrial-Corporate Espionage Pyramid” which is defined by Altintas, as well as evaluating alternative implementation methods of espionage activities. The choice that companies initially need to make is whether to carry out espionage activities within legal boundaries or not. Companies have to decide whether they will outsource espionage activities or will be carried out by using in-house sources.
The Counterterrorism Conundrum: Understanding Terrorist Organizations, Ideological Warfare and Strategies for Counterintelligence-Based Counterterrorism
Joshua E. Duke
This red cell analysis illustrates through case studies the capacities and capabilities of the Islamic State (IS) terror organization at its peak, and the Haqqani Network over time as individual organizations, including their origins, ideology, leadership, organizational structures, and operational capabilities, to examine global terrorism with a focus on the ideological warfare challenges of combatting radical Islamic terrorism. These organizations’ connections to al Qaeda and the parts they play in the greater rising threat of global radical Islamic terrorism are established in order to frame global terrorism from a strategic historical standpoint to evaluate counterterrorism strategies for the future. The author presents strategy recommendations for the United States Intelligence Community (IC) and policy makers to effectively address the national and global security threats posed by transnational terrorism, using a combination of strategic counterintelligence and targeted ground operations, along with an original seven-principle approach to effective counterterrorism operations, as well as a broader strategy for targeting the ideological roots of radical Islamic terrorism.
Words as Weapons: The 21st Century Information War
Historians and scholars are already defining the twenty-first century as the century of post-truth and it is shaping up into an era where objective facts have lost merit and, instead, are replaced by appeals to personal beliefs and emotions. George Orwell forecasted this 72 years ago in his dystopian novel 1984. While propaganda has been utilized for centuries, cognitive hacking or the weaponization of information has subtle nuances that make it disturbingly different. Cognitive hacking includes the mass delivery of conspiracy theories and intentional lies with the desired effect that the receivers of the information take action, often through likes and shares on social media, sometimes with violence. Advances in computing and global hyper-connectivity through social media have empowered algorithms capable of profiling a user’s preferences and placing the user in information silos ultimately changing the thinking of the individual it targets. Global powers including Russia and China have worked to hone their capabilities to exploit individual and group cognitive processes to achiever their desired ends. The psychological domain is in need of cognitive security.
Policy Relevant Commentary
Who is the Audience? What the Academic Field of Speech Communication Tells us About Interpreting Open Source Messages
William F. Harlow
The Assassination of Fakhrizadeh—A Major Iranian Counterintelligence Failure
Notes from the Field
The Jump from Morbidity to Mortality: Lethality Evolved
As the world evolves and grows in both technological advancements and in population density, epidemics and pandemics will become a larger and greater threat. Viruses, in most cases, can be considered the perfect predator. These organisms grow, infect, spread, and in many cases kill if not treated. These viruses themselves do not mutate on their own, but rather need a large population to infect, adapt, and then mutate to survive. These jumps from host to host will eventually produce a virus that can adapt to multiple environments and kill very quickly. In addition, the advancement of vaccination and treatment technology can provide protection but also can remove defenses from the human immune system. The question is, how does the world keep a virus from mutating and becoming highly lethal in a densely populated world?
Leonid Savin’s Ordo Pluriversalis: The End of Pax Americana and the Rise of Multipolarity
Alexander Dugin, a thinker and leader of the international Eurasian movement, is confident that the best system of all is a multipolar world order, which is replacing “unipolarity.”  Defending the multipolar model is the leitmotif of the book being analyzed—political scientist Savin’s Ordo Pluriversalis: The End of Pax Americana and the Rise of Multipolarity. The book is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the publication of Prince Nikolai Sergeyevich Trubetskoy’s “Europe and Humanity”—the first, according to Dugin, genuinely Eurasian text by a Eurasian, and the first to “overcome the West from within.” Savin currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Geopolitica.ru, the informational, analytical e-publication portal whose ardent Orthodox pro-Eurasian position prompted the U.S. State Department to label this alternative political resource as a pillar of the “ecosystem of Russian propaganda and disinformation.”
K. Braddock’s Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization
One of the most popular uses of media and online platforms is in the persuasion of audiences. An innumerable number of hours of the average person’s day exposes them to persuasion of some form or another. Someone only has to turn on a television, read an online news article, or spend time on any of the popular social media platforms and they will be immersed in volumes of advertisements and articles attempting to persuade them to purchase a particular product, vote for a specific candidate, or perhaps even align with a new radical ideological belief. For whatever purpose it may be presented to the viewer, the intent comes down to the use of persuasive messaging through communication.
Melissa Layne and Carter Matherly
Policy Relevant Commentary
Prediction, Plus Patchwork, Equals Pandemic
Just Short of Cyberwar: A Focus on Jus Ad Vim to Inform an Ethical Framework for Cyberspace
Cyber conflict has yet to reach the lethality that defines war. As such, it has become the preferred method of engagement for nation-states. However, in its current state, there is no ethical framework to guide the policymaker. This article focuses on the concept of jus ad vim (just short of war) to inform an ethical framework for cyber conflict. This proposed framework is founded on five separate concepts pulled from the literature: intentional cyberharm, preventative force, punctuated deterrence, cyber sovereignty, and international response. Herein, two pivotal case studies, the Stuxnet worm against an Iranian nuclear facility and the Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) use of a kinetic strike in response to a cyberattack, are explored using a Grounded Theory approach. This article concludes that these concepts, as demonstrated through the case studies, can form the basis for ethical decision-making across cyberspace.
The New River Report: Socio-Ecological System Impacts of Anthropogenic Pollution on New River Communities in Belize
Changes to the New River in northern Belize, Central America, including an annual eutrophication event near the river’s primary urban setting, have had multiple impacts on New River communities. This mixed-method study examines perceptions of New River changes from forty-two resident interviews in twelve riverside com- munities using phenomenology and chi-square tests of independence methods. This study finds five categories of socio-ecological system (SES) impacts from anthropogenic pollution to residents; river pollution (exacerbated by drought conditions) impacts human health, livelihoods, environment, culture, and social justice. There are implications for community future uncertainty, powerlessness, and lack of trust in industry and government. Comparing zones in the study, the research found statistical significance in six factors. Pollution and other river changes were perceived to originate from a variety of sources, primarily industrial drainage. Government leadership, along with industry, agriculture, and community stake- holders, can facilitate solutions to safeguard the New River and its communities.
International NGOs Targeted by Terror: The Impact of Religiosity on Independence, Neutrality, and Impartiality
The literature recognizes faith-based organizations as distinct humanitarian actors. Attempts to explore how these organizations differ from their secular counterparts produce few empirical results. This study focuses on international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) attacked by terrorists to assess whether faith-based organizations differ from secular organizations across two issues: 1) commitment to the humanitarian principles of neutrality, independence, and impartiality and 2) commitment to advocacy and global engagement. Religiosity, neutrality, independence, impartiality, advocacy, and global engagement are operationalized using the social media presence of organizations attacked by terrorists between September 12, 2001 and December 31, 2018 as specified in the Global Terrorism Database. The faith of international NGOs is coded at the ordinal level using the categories of secular, faith-inspired, and faith-based to capture increasing degrees of religiosity. Ordinal logistic regression reveals that as the religiosity of organizations increases, commitment to independence and neutrality decreases. No relationship is observed between religiosity and commitment to impartiality, suggesting that religious victim-organizations are equally commit- ted to this humanitarian principle. Religiosity and global engagement are not significantly related. However, faith impacts advocacy efforts with increasing levels of religiosity associated with decreasing levels of policy advocacy. This study concludes that religious organizations are distinct actors whose faith may complicate commitment to core humanitarian principles.
How Norm-Based Issue Frames Shape Public Support for Refugee Protection Policy: An Analysis Based on Survey Experiments in France and Germany
This research uses experiments to examine whether the way that refugee protection is framed in the context of specific norms affects individuals’ support for it as a policy issue across France and Germany. The treatments employ frames that emphasize human rights, violence against women (VAW), human security, humanitarianism, and autonomy norms, all of which are reflected in both the forced displacement literature and advocacy for refugees. The experiments provide some evidence that only certain norm-based issue frames have an effect on support for refugee protection policy, suggesting that some norms may be more powerful than others for garnering support in this issue area. The conclusion discusses these findings relative to the extant literature and considers the implications for advocates who seek to address the issue of refugee protection.
Operationalizing Intelligence Collection in a Complex World: Bridging the Domestic & Foreign Intelligence Divide
Intelligence collection is a powerful US intelligence capability, which has demonstrated its effectiveness in categorizing complex threats. Intelligence collection, however, is not “operationalized” in the sense that it can quickly shift collection capabilities to focus on adaptive threats. Additionally, it is not bridged to effectively function across the domestic and foreign elements of the intelligence community. Modern-day threats are adaptive, complex, and span national boundaries, while intelligence collection remains largely within its domestic and foreign confines. While there are high-level bodies that coordinate collection, a key gap in the intelligence community’s approach is an organizational element that operationalizes and bridges domestic and foreign intelligence collection to ensure the community can meet the highest priority threats. This represents a significant seam in the community’s capacity to meet modern-day threats in a complex environment. This conceptual paper uses Hesselbeim’s seven-faceted transformation framework to develop an approach to operationalizing and bridging intelligence collection across the domestic and foreign divide. It concludes that such an organizational bridging function is valid and necessary in order to meet modern-day and emergent threats.
Notes from the Field
Wrangling Stochasticity & Deconstructing Dimensionality: An Illustration of Fractals in Discursive Spaces
Strategic practitioners and analytic methodologists actively involved within cyberspace management, defense, and manipulation require an exceptionally refined mastery of concepts associated with specific approaches in order to effectively parse recommendations, actions, and other related outputs. This implies the presence and value of physical and cognitive dimensionality. Specific to this growing awareness of dimensionality as it relates to data across a myriad of channels and communities resides a need for development of awareness of specific spaces, how they align with parallel instantiations of information due to their shape, and how their temporally-appropriate abductive to deductive span contributes to the development of hypothesis and theory. Guiding any cohort to think in this way requires an understanding of a virtual system of systems and an appreciation of how specific shapes and spaces might represent a comfortably conjoined path within an emergent methodology.
Mindf*ck, Cambridge Analytica and The Plot to Break America
Mark Peters, II
The top topics across today’s cable news scoreboard routinely feature im-peachment, data breaches, sex scandals, or crimes by politicians, all creat-ing fertile ground for profitable crops from publishing insider perspectives. Mindf*ck follows the recent trend paved by volumes like Fire and Fury [Trump], A Warning [Trump], Targeted [Cambridge Analytica], or Holding the Line [Secre-tary of Defense], which all race to prove their worth through distinct viewpoints away from the mainstream media’s cameras. Christopher Wylie succeeds in deliv-ering his viewpoint, only his viewpoint, and nothing but his viewpoint throughout the entire piece. Although departing two years before becoming a whistleblower, Wylie helped found Cambridge Analytica (CA) despite publicizing UK campaign finance and US Foreign Agent Registration Act violations. Mindf*ck depicts Wy-lie’s journey from a young Canadian political staffer to morally compromised data analyst. The guilt arises from his creating the methods used to scrape and analyze personal data from social media sites, only to realize he lacked any authoritative say on data usage. An interesting perspective on how data analysis techniques can bite the wielder shows modern networks as not working with simple tools, but be-having more like snake handling. Lacking any reference sources other the author, Mindf*ck reads quickly and should be a staple for anyone working with big data platforms who does not understand their potential impacts.
Because We Are Human: Contesting U.S. Support For Gender and Sexuality Human Rights Abroad
Cynthia Burack’s book Because We Are Human: Contesting US Support For Gender And Sexuality Human Rights Abroad (2018) is an essential contemporary book for scholars, students, and practitioners who address LGBTI rights and international affairs. Burack provides a unique normative political the-ory perspective on US foreign policy and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Often unknown to the general public, US diplomats advocating for SOGI human rights globally and their work are meticulously investigated by Burack. Currently, the United States provides the Global Equality Fund, the single largest source of financial support for LGBTI civil society worldwide.1 From Uganda to Chechnya, this fund offers critical support to local human rights activists carrying out the dangerous work of advocating for SOGI human rights in their countries. Burack demonstrates how the US has become the biggest global player for SOGI human rights. This is remarkable, given the continued contestation domestically in the United States for LGBTI equality. It is also notable in that Burack reveals how some LGBTI activist themselves, as well as groups on the political left side of the spectrum, criticize American support for SOGI human rights globally.
The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics
In his book, The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics, author Ben Buchanan attempts to contextualize modern-day cyber-attacks within the domain of geopolitics—a daunting task, as the cyber domain is inherently untrustworthy, making definitive proclamations suspect. That said, by applying the statecraft concepts of signaling and shaping, Buchanan builds a convincing case using practical comparisons to espionage and conventional warfare, underscoring the conclusion that cyber-attacks are not random acts of ever-increasing destruction; instead, they represent a conscious cyber struggle between states. In other words, cyber-attacks have become tools for the policy-maker’s signaling and shaping operations. “This is the new form of statecraft, more subtle than policymakers imagined, yet with impacts that are world-changing” (3). To this end, the author provides a convincing argument for cyber-attacks as tools of state power, rather than the random acts of criminals.
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, by Walter Isaacson provides a descriptive and expansive look into the causal forces that created the digital revolution. While modern society often takes for granted much of the conveniences afforded by the digital age, Isaacson’s insightful examination of how these conveniences were realized provides us with a deeper understanding of the innovative process and how the creation of these goods and services were the result of evolutionary steps realized over several decades. An examination of history and of the key actors that played a role in realizing the digital revolution, however, is more than a recitation of facts and timelines. In this respect, Isaacson’s seminal work into the evolutionary and innovative process of the digital revolution reveals several truths for creating and sustaining innovation. These key insights are also directly relevant to posturing national security and strategic intelligence endeavors to meet the modern-day challenges of the global operating environment.
Volume 5, Number 1 – Spring/Summer 2020
The Case for the Sixth Domain of War: Psychological Warfare in the Age of Advanced Technology
Bethany Vailliant and Media Ajir
Wills win wars. A country at war must have and maintain the sup- port of its people to achieve victory. Targeting will, using advanced information technology (IT), presents a new vulnerability for the United States. Literature in this field has largely ignored the psychological effects of new, cyber-enabled tools; therefore, the concept of information warfare has tended to favor primarily technical infra- structure. This oversight has caused state mismanagement of what was once carefully managed disruption by the United States. Tools and techniques have been refined to transcend effects beyond mate- rial goods, entering our minds and manipulating our behavior. The weaponization of these tools urges us to consider the sufficiency of our current framework for warfare—the five domains. This research argues that due to the disruptive change in the delivery method of information, a sixth, psychological domain should be established to properly assess and operationalize effects going forward.
Psychology as a Warfighting Domain
Sarah Soffer, Carter Matherly, and Robert Stelmack
Using psychology to gain advantage over an enemy is as old as warfare itself. Psychological warfare predates its modern moniker, and military leaders have sought to understand their enemies and influence their behavior since military leaders emerged. In this paper, the authors discuss the history of psychology as a warfighting domain, using examples from myth and antiquity as well as select periods in which the United States or other countries used psychology to engage in conflict. An exploration of Russia’s use of influence and its effect on the US highlight what conflict in the information environment looks like. The authors then briefly discuss the current state of information warfare and provide thoughts on what this will look like moving forward in an interconnected world.
Discovering Influence Operations on Twitch.tv: A Preliminary Coding Framework
Alexander Sferrella and Joseph Z. Conger
Bots are an important tool for influence actors, and greatly contribute to the complexity and breadth of influence operations (IFOs) across many platforms. Twitch.tv—the second-most popular streaming site—is one such platform. Recognizing that influence actors may expand operations within Twitch, the following study develops a framework that mines data from the Twitch platform to identify potential bots running IFOs. Stream comments from 14 Twitch channels were run through a custom Python script. We identified 69 of 128 streams, from 12 channels, as having an anomalous comment count OR comment speed. Of those streams, we identified 7,332 users as having an anomalous comment count AND comment speed. However, we could not distinguish 100 randomly selected anomalous users as bots or humans after a manual analysis. Overall, our research provides future researchers with a modular method to collect and isolate Twitch data containing bots.
A New Russian Realpolitik: Putin’s Operationalization of Psychology and Propaganda
For two decades, Vladimir Putin has held the highest levels of position and power in Russia. The leader and his collaborating elites harness an enduring Russian identity and methodically design a path for a manipulated society to eagerly regain legitimacy, respect, and relevance. This qualitative and exploratory study examines Putin and his apparatus’s efforts to unify Russian society and expand its influence through the cultivation and operationalization of specific psychological theories. Through theory triangulation, thematic coding, and analysis of relevant and current open-source material, convergence demonstrates Putin’s disciplined understanding and deliberate management of Russian identity and perception. Evidence indicates Putin’s comprehensive and synchronized approach to achieve a spectrum of policy objectives. This study challenges the traditional notion of leadership’s rational pursuit of self-interest by showcasing Putin’s operationalization of power politics, propaganda efforts, and malleable internal workings of an exclusive society for both manipulation and exploitation.
What’s Thinking Got To Do With It? The Challenge of Evaluating and Testing Critical Thinking in Potential Intelligence Analysts
Margaret S. Marangione
This paper examines the need for critical thinking skills in intelligence analysts (IA) in the twenty-first century, with the proliferation of false and misleading information, including the weaponization of information and Big Data. Additionally, it reviews concerns about the critical thinking capabilities of millennial and Gen Z IAs against the performance standards of IC Directives (ICDs) 203 and 610. The debate of how to teach and assess critical thinking skills is also considered. The methodology of evaluating critical thinking tests and the results of a critical thinking test administered to IAs is explored against the backdrop of whether testing is valid when hiring analysts.
Reflecting History: The Basis for Assessing the Future
The US Intelligence Community has grown immeasurably in the past several decades as it faces the challenges of a growing and diverse global threat environment. Additionally, in a digital age of technology and interconnectedness, intelligence often takes a techno- centric approach, where intelligence analysts focus on key technological issues, capabilities, and programs related to the threat environment. While these issues are of significant concern, it is easy to overlook some of the “soft” requirements that contribute to the understanding of the intelligence problem—namely, a well-grounded appreciation and understanding of history and how it informs a broader understanding of culture and group and individual psychology. Understanding the historical narrative informs an appreciation of the environment, culture, and underlying psychology. Even with its limitations, history provides the intelligence professional with the basis of assessing the future.
An Interview with Emerson Brooking, the co-author of LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media
Conducted by Dr. Carter Matherly
Mr. Emerson Brooking is the co-author of the book LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media. The book not only highlights how other nations have taken offensive maneuvers using social media, but also managed to move past traditional psyops and employ psychology as a warfighting domain in its own right. Mr. Brooking’s work continues today as he maps the battlespace in this emergent domain. For an in-depth review of LikeWar, please see the book review in this volume by Austin Gouldsmith. To see more of Mr. Brooking’s current work and access some fantastic datasets, visit his repository on GitHub, https://github.com/DFRLab/ Dichotomies-of-Disinformation.
Policy from the Field: Contesting the Psychological Domain during Great Power Competition
It is comparatively insignificant but nonetheless relevant to discuss Great Power Competition in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Despite the need for global cooperation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, elements of Great Power Competition persist. In early March, Lily Kuo, a Hong Kong correspondent for the Guardian, detailed the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) and Chinese state media’s alternative narrative, which sowed seeds of doubt about COVID-19’s origination in China. The CPC, according to Kuo, seized on comments by Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Review of LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media by P. W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking
“Social media.” It needs no introduction: we are obsessed with it. Facebook vacation albums, glossy Instagram images, live concerts on Snapchat, on-demand YouTube entertainment—this is our new digital reality. Social media has revolutionized our information spaces aimed at connecting the world’s people through our daily experiences. Most of us, however, know that it often fails to truly connect us. Instead, this digital frontier has fallen prey to grabs for virtual influence, brand-building, confrontations, and the viral spread of information—benign and otherwise. Because of its massive reach, social media has even become an effective instrument for nation states, and everyone between, to behave much the same. LikeWar, addressing this sobering reality, is as timely as it is good. Presenting a research-filled warning to the American public, Singer and Brooking present the new normal of our digital lives. Using diverse examples ranging from Taylor Swift to ISIS and Donald Trump to the Arab Spring, LikeWar explains how the internet, and particularly social media, evolved from a creative way of connecting people to a means of attacking them.
Review of Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News by Clint Watts
Is social media helpful or harmful? Clint Watts explores the role of social media and an interconnected world in enabling and preventing terrorism and propaganda. Watts does not shy away from sharing his personal experiences with the reader, which makes “Messing with the Enemy” accessible to a wide audience from laypeople hoping to understand the effects of Russian troll farms to intelligence and influence operations professionals seeking a summary of past and recent events. Combining professional expertise with a thoroughly researched topic leads to a very readable and informative account of how psychological warfare has evolved in a social media world.
Review of The Conduct of Intelligence in Democracies: Processes, Practices and Cultural by Florina Cristiana Matei and Carolyn Halladay
In The Conduct of Intelligence in Democracies: Processes, Practices and Cultural, editors Florina Cristiana Matei and Carolyn Halladay fill a gap in intelligence literature, that of a comparative study between international intelligence practices. In their words, they seek “to provide readers with international views on the role and place of (effective) intelligence in a democratic milieu” (xi). There are of course challenges in achieving such an objective when the subject matter they are investigating is by its very nature composed of classified information and secret operations. The authors offer a wide range of case studies from various regions including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
- Volume 5, Number 2 – Fall/Winter 2020
- Volume 5, Number 1 – Spring/Summer 2020
- Volume 4, Number 2 – Fall/Winter 2019
- Volume 4, Number 1 – Spring/Summer 2019
- Volume 3, Number 2 – Fall/Winter 2018
- Volume 3, Number 1 – Spring/Summer 2018
- Volume 2, Number 2 – Fall/Winter 2017
- Volume 2, Number 1 – Fall 2016
- Volume 1, Number 2 – Spring 2016
- Volume 1, Number 1 – Fall 2015