Download

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 2.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback176 pages $34.00 $27.20 20% Web Discount

Research Questions

  1. What content is produced and disseminated by Russia and its agents?
  2. How do Russia and its agents manipulate information?
  3. What is the persuasive impact of Russia's malign or subversive information efforts?
  4. What are the potential avenues for defending against Russia's malign or subversive information efforts?

The increasing frequency and intensity of information aggression targeting the United States and its European allies demands more thorough consideration of concepts and practices for protecting against, resisting, and mitigating the effects of psychological manipulation and influence.

Russia in particular appears to use messaging and intimidation as part of its efforts to influence multiple actors and countries, including the United States and its European allies. Unfortunately, concepts and practices for understanding and resisting the potential effects of efforts conducted by Russia and its agents are few. To address this, United States European Command (USEUCOM) asked the RAND Corporation to identify strategies for defending against the effects of Russia's efforts to manipulate and inappropriately influence troops, government decisionmaking, and civilians.

The authors describe apparent efforts conducted by Russia and its agents involving the use of information to shape Russia's operating environment, focusing on the European context; review and apply existing research on influence and manipulation to these efforts; and draw from existing practice to describe possible defensive approaches for USEUCOM and its various partners to consider using when defending against these actions. The framework the authors apply offers a way to conceptualize the objectives, tactics, and tools of Russian information efforts in Europe.

Key Findings

Russia's information activities appear to be deployed in service of diverse political objectives

  • Although Russia appears to have abandoned Soviet-era efforts to spread an ideology, it is still interested in popularizing its worldview and raising its esteem in the eyes of international audiences.

Russia and its agents may manipulate or completely falsify information as part of efforts to disseminate messages that align with Russian interests

  • The information manipulation techniques that Russia and its agents appear to use range from completely manufacturing content to the misuse or misapplication of factual information.

The characteristics of Russian information efforts have the potential to influence audiences

  • The targeted content that appears to be disseminated by Russia and its agents can affect selected audiences. Diverse audiences might have difficulty deliberately processing the deluge of fabricated and misleading information to which they are exposed, thereby increasing the potential that they will be affected by these efforts.

Possible defense efforts can be conceptualized as addressing three parts of Russian malign or subversive information efforts: production, distribution, and consumption of content

  • Current defensive practices that could be used to address Russia's malign or subversive information efforts would seek to reduce the volume of new false and misleading content, prevent the spread of existing false or misleading content, and promote consumer awareness of the information space.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Framework for Conceptualizing Russia's Malign or Subversive Information Efforts

  • Chapter Three

    Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures in Russia's Malign or Subversive Information Efforts

  • Chapter Four

    Application of Research on Influence and Manipulation to Russia's Malign or Subversive Information Efforts

  • Chapter Five

    Defending Against Malign or Subversive Information Efforts

  • Appendix A

    Overview of Terms and Definitions

  • Appendix B

    Scoping the Framework of Russia's Malign or Subversive Information Efforts

  • Appendix C

    Russian Malign or Subversive Information Efforts in the Balkans

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.