Information Operations

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Information operations and warfare, also known as influence operations, includes the collection of tactical information about an adversary as well as the dissemination of propaganda in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent. RAND research has enabled military leaders and policymakers to develop strategies and policy frameworks to address the challenges of these military operations.

  • Examples of Facebook pages displayed during a House Intelligence Committee meeting on Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections in Washington, D.C., November 1, 2017, photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    How You Can Fight Russia's Plans to Troll Americans During Campaign 2020

    Jul 14, 2020

    The goal of Russian interference is to trigger emotional reactions and drive people to ideological extremes, making it nearly impossible to build a consensus. But Americans are less likely to have their emotions manipulated if they are aware that manipulation is the goal.

  • U.S. Army 1st Lt. Shaun Lawson, Cpl. Marvin Carson and Sgt. John Delgado, assigned to Charlie Company, 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, manage the company network operations (NETOPS) cell monitoring the networks at exercise Allied Spirit VIII, Jan. 30, 2018 at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, photo by William B. King/U.S. Army

    Report

    Frameworks for Assessing USEUCOM Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

    Jul 2, 2020

    Campaigns to inform, influence, and persuade a range of foreign audiences are critical to achieving key U.S. national security objectives, but it can be challenging to assess the effectiveness of these efforts. How can assessment design and planning support U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) efforts?

Explore Information Operations

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 5, 2019, photo by Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin via Reuters

    Commentary

    Mueller Report May Result in Russian Sanctions but Not Better Behavior

    The Mueller report could help mobilize political pressure in the United States for a stronger posture toward Russian activities that harm American and allied interests. But the Kremlin will likely still see propaganda, disinformation, and subterfuge as useful tools to undermine America's values and cohesion.

    Apr 26, 2019

  • Elizabeth Bodine-Baron discusses the challenges in combating the threat of Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media.

    Multimedia

    Approaches to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

    In this congressional briefing, RAND information scientist Elizabeth Bodine-Baron discusses the challenges in combating the threat of Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media.

    Mar 15, 2019

  • Members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard support Exercise Cyber Shield 17 at Camp Williams, Utah, May 2, 2017, photo by Col. Wayde Minami/U.S. Air National Guard

    Commentary

    Is It Time to Abandon the Term Information Operations?

    Operations in the information environment will be a critical part of future joint force operations and should be baked in to those operations as a fully valued tool in commanders' combined arms toolboxes. Reaching that goal will require greater acceptance and understanding of information across the joint force, new structures for information forces, and the evolution of how operations in the information environment are handled within the staff.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, photo by the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

    Commentary

    Russia's Soft Strategy to Hostile Measures in Europe

    They've been called political warfare, measures short of war, gray zone warfare, and a host of other terms. Russia has used a wide range of hostile measures to expand its influence and undermine governments across the European continent. These tactics should be appreciated for what they are: part of a larger, coherent Russian effort, but ultimately not an insurmountable one.

    Feb 26, 2019

  • A map depicting Russian influence over Europe

    Report

    How to Counter Russia's Hostile Measures in Europe

    Russia has a range of tools and methods short of conventional war that it can use to achieve its goals in Europe. There is no way to predict what Russia will do, but it's possible to analyze its motives and opportunities, the means it might employ, and how the United States should respond.

    Jan 28, 2019

  • Brian Michael Jenkins at the One Night with RAND event in Santa Monica, November 8, 2018

    Brochure

    Remarks by Brian Michael Jenkins at the One Night with RAND Event

    At an event commemorating his 50 years of service at RAND, Brian Michael Jenkins spoke about terrorism and the United States' response to it over the past several decades.

    Jan 8, 2019

  • Collage of 2018 most popular research images

    Blog

    The Most Popular RAND Research of 2018

    RAND serves as an objective source of facts that help inform the world's most pressing policy debates. When decisions are based on the best evidence, that's when public policy can have a positive impact on people's lives. We're highlighting the 10 research projects that RAND.org readers found most engaging this year.

    Dec 21, 2018

  • Blog

    Military Spouses, Exercise Incentives, Libraries: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on a scholarship program for military spouses, a wellness program that uses the Apple Watch, how libraries can improve public health, and more.

    Nov 30, 2018

  • L-R: Caroline Baxter, Cherie Emerson, Melissa Rowe, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Christine Wormuth, Kimberly Kagan, Cortney Weinbaum, Stacie Pettyjohn at the Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security in Arlington, Virginia, October 24, 2018

    Blog

    RAND Hosts Forum on 21st-Century Warfare Honoring Roberta Wohlstetter

    National security experts, flag officers, and decisionmakers attended the Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security at RAND's Washington office on October 24. The featured speakers, moderators, organizers, donor, and namesake for the event were all women.

    Nov 26, 2018

  • Report

    Improving C2 and Situational Awareness for Operations in and Through the Information Environment

    Every military activity has informational aspects, but the information environment (IE) is not well integrated into military planning, doctrine, or processes. Better understanding of the IE will improve command and control and situational awareness.

    Nov 1, 2018

  • Research Brief

    Requirements for Better C2 and Situational Awareness of the Information Environment

    Every military activity has informational aspects, but the information environment (IE) is not well integrated into military planning, doctrine, or processes. Better understanding of the IE will improve command and control and situational awareness.

    Nov 1, 2018

  • Cyber map

    Report

    Strategies to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

    The Russian government's disinformation campaigns have found a comfortable home on social media. No single approach to countering their influence is likely to produce a conclusive victory over the threat. Therefore, it would be prudent to adopt approaches that target multiple links in the disinformation chain.

    Nov 1, 2018

  • Christine Wormuth and Kimberly Kagan at the 2018 Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security

    Multimedia

    Highlights from the Roberta Wohlstetter Forum on National Security

    A forum on national security honors the legacy of Roberta Wohlstetter, a military analyst who worked at RAND from its creation in 1948 until 1965. Panelists discuss the events, capabilities, technologies, and methodologies that demand new concepts for national security and defense.

    Oct 24, 2018

  • Report

    The Language of Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Assessment Lexicon and Usage Guide for U.S. European Command Efforts

    Inconsistency in how assessment is discussed can lead to confusion, miscommunication, and the appearance of agreement or disagreement when the opposite is true. RAND researchers developed this lexicon and usage guide to help combat this problem.

    Oct 18, 2018

  • Testimony

    Russian Social Media Influence: Understanding Russian Propaganda in Eastern Europe: Addendum

    Document submitted August 30, 2018, as an addendum to testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on August 1, 2018.

    Aug 31, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin comforts the widow of Andrei Karlov, Russia's former ambassador to Turkey, at a memorial ceremony in Moscow, December 22, 2016

    Report

    How Russia Uses Media and Information Operations in Turkey

    Russian media have employed propaganda strategies to undermine Turkey's political and security cooperation with the United States and Europe. Russian media have also contributed to anti-American discourse in Turkey and have reinforced the Turkish government's propaganda pursuits.

    Aug 28, 2018

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz are seen on the mobile phone screen as they attend a news conference at the Chancellery in Vienna, Austria July 4, 201,8

    Commentary

    Iran's Disinformation Campaigns

    New reports suggest that the Kremlin may have company in its efforts to shape the United States' domestic information landscape: Iran. As Americans prepare to return to the voting booths this fall, Washington would be well advised to look into Iran's disinformation capabilities and intentions.

    Aug 24, 2018

  • Voters voting in polling place

    Commentary

    Here's How Russia Will Try to Interfere in the 2018 Elections

    Russia will threaten U.S. midterm elections in November, although by how much is unclear. Moscow might be more restrained this year, but it could be wilier.

    Aug 14, 2018

  • Vehicles of Russian state-controlled broadcaster Russia Today are seen near Red Square in Moscow, Russia, June 15, 2018

    Testimony

    Russia's Social Media Influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia is engaged in an active, worldwide propaganda campaign, but it is particularly interested in targeting its western border. What can the United States and allied governments do to limit Russian influence in the region?

    Aug 1, 2018

  • Report

    Lessons from Others for Future U.S. Army Operations in and Through the Information Environment

    An examination of the evolution of both allied and adversary use of information power, alongside a comparative analysis of capability areas in which these others excel, can guide future U.S. Army force planning.

    Jun 7, 2018