This book outlines the threats from information warfare faced by the West and analyses the ways it can defend itself.
Existing on a spectrum from communication to indoctrination, information can be used to undermine trust, amplify emotional resonance, and reformulate identities. The West is currently experiencing an information war, and major setbacks have included: ‘fake news’; disinformation campaigns; the manipulation of users of social media; the dissonance of hybrid warfare; and even accusations of ‘state capture’. Nevertheless, the West has begun to comprehend the reality of what is happening, and it is now in a position defend itself. In this volume, scholars, information practitioners, and military professionals define this new war and analyse its shape, scope, and direction. Collectively, they indicate how media policies, including social media, represent a form of information strategy, how information has become the ‘centre of gravity’ of operations, and why the further exploitation of data (by scale and content) by adversaries can be anticipated. For the West, being first with the truth, being skilled in cyber defence, and demonstrating virtuosity in information management are central to resilience and success.
This book will be of much interest to students of strategic studies, information warfare, propaganda studies, cyber-security, and International Relations.
Introduction: The world information war
Robert Johnson and Timothy Clack
Part I: How did this war start?
1. A brief history of propaganda: ‘a much maligned and misunderstood word’
2. Homo Digitalis enters the battlefield
Part II: Truth, cognition, and control
3. Democracy and contemporary media: what is the problem?
4. The changing nature of propaganda: coming to terms with influence in conflict
Alicia Wanless and Michael Berk
5. ‘Does my suffering matter?’: storytelling and the military
Oliver Lewis and Chris DeFaria
Part III: How others fight
6. Women, digital imagery and the Islamic State: ‘guns and roses’
Rebecca Fallon and Timothy Clack
7. Social media, computational propaganda, and control in China and beyond
8. Russian information war: construct and purpose
Part IV: Policy response and how to fight
9. Algorithmic pluralism: media regulation and system resilience in the age of information warfare
10. Digital propaganda, counterpublics, and the disruption of the public sphere: the Finnish approach to building digital resilience
Corneliu Bjola and Krysianna Papadakis
11. Information warfare: theory to practice
12. Artificial intelligence, security, and society
Part V: On the horizon
13. From Beijing bloggers to Whitehall writers: observations on the ‘invisible war’
Timothy Clack and Louise Selisny
14. War in an age of uncertainty