My good friends at Merriam Webster define this expression “to say that one person or situation should be treated the same way that another person or situation is treated” (see: https://bit.ly/3qPXRKh)
Should the U.S. concede the information advantage to our enemies and adversaries?
The Washington Post posted “Pentagon orders review of psyops after takedown of fake social accounts” (see: https://wapo.st/3R1IcSF, which is also a photo source.) The Post said the article was a follow-up to a previous article posted on August 25, 2022 “A phony, U.S.-friendly social media campaign prompts questions (see: https://wapo.st/3qWlGAa, also a photo source)
This second article was about the discovery and removal of pro-US messaging by Twitter and Meta. That article was sort of an expose of fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda,”.
However, that type of activity was actually reported by the British publication the Guardian on 17 March 2011 (see: https://bit.ly/3dt5WkO, another photo source). This article addressed specific operations being conducted by the US Central Command under a $2.76 million contract with an LA based company, Ntrepid. The company has since moved to Herndon, VA (https://ntrepidcorp.com/)
It is clearly no secret that other countries, particularly Russia and China, engage in disinformation using a variety of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) including fake personas on social media.
The most recent article points out that “U.S. law authorizes the use of fictitious substitute accounts, but Pentagon policy and doctrine discourage spreading false information. Congress in 2019 effectively allowed the military to strike back online when countering foreign disinformation campaigns.”
Trying to get a more objective look, I found Gizmodo’s article “The Pentagon is Reportedly Auditing the U.S. Military’s Own Pro-American Social Media Psyop” published yesterday, September 19, 2022 (see: https://bit.ly/3S5OfXF). The closing paragraph of that article is:
“In response to Gizmodo’s questions, a DoD spokesperson sent the following comment in an email, “As a matter of policy, the Department of Defense conducts military information support operations in support of our national security priorities. These activities must be undertaken in compliance with U.S. law and DoD policy. We are committed to enforcing those safeguards.”
Let’s see if we can move beyond the hype shall we?
1. Our enemies and adversaries are dominating the high ground of the information domain. Disinformation campaigns using automated means by Russia and China in particular have been widely documented.
2. It appears that US law allows the DOD to execute similar campaigns as long as those campaigns are not primarily targeted to an American audience.
3. The PSYOP hand has been caught in the information cookie jar on more than one occasion.
4. Only a fool would allow their enemies to act freely.
5. There is quite a bit of politics at play here. If I were a cynical person (as I have been accused of being) I would say that ‘someone’ in the White House is very concerned about looking bad especially with the midterm elections literally around the corner.
While of course the U.S. should take the high road, we cannot ignore the low roads or information highway routes being dominated by our enemies and adversaries.
As always, reader comments are encouraged.