Information Operations

Featured

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.

Explore Information Operations

  • Cyber grenade

    Commentary

    Getting Ready to Fight the Next (Cyber) War

    Nation-states and their proxies are regularly spying and attacking in cyberspace across national borders. Western societies that are being targeted should do three things: Be less vulnerable, be able to recognize and mitigate the impact of attacks faster, and be prepared to respond in kind to all levels of offense.

    Mar 3, 2018

  • Chinese New Year parade in Australia

    Commentary

    Beijing's Influence Operations Target Chinese Diaspora

    China's efforts to gain support in and control diaspora communities threaten to worsen inter-ethnic tensions, aggravate political and social polarization, and harm civil rights and freedoms of citizens in other countries. Such activities merit close attention by democratic governments seeking to counter China's influence operations.

    Mar 1, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with scientists, representing the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in Novosibirsk, Russia February 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Free Lunches for Adversaries

    When leaders take actions that are unpopular with wide audiences, propagandists have it easy. While Western leaders should not make propaganda potential the primary factor when weighing policy decisions, neither should they wholly disregard the opportunities that unpopular policies will offer adversaries.

    Feb 13, 2018

  • Composite of Chinese flag and abstract globalization concept

    Report

    How China Seeks to Wage Modern Warfare

    The People's Liberation Army's approach to training, organizing, and equipping for modern warfare over the past two decades has been influenced by systems thinking. It now characterizes modern warfare as a confrontation between opposing operational systems rather than merely opposing armies.

    Feb 1, 2018

  • Staff Sgt. Auguste Archer, 35th Communications Squadron cyber security technician, uses a program to monitor hacker attempts across the world

    Commentary

    Invisible Doomsday Machines: The Challenge of Clandestine Capabilities and Deterrence

    As the United States increasingly contemplates acquiring clandestine capabilities for deterrence and warfighting, it should consider rethinking its approach to managing these programs. A unified management approach would go a great distance toward meeting the challenges of these capabilities.

    Dec 15, 2017

  • Report

    The Creation of the PLA Strategic Support Force and Its Implications for Chinese Military Space Operations

    This report explores the missions and organization of China's Strategic Support Force, created in 2015 to develop and employ space capabilities, in particular launch and operation of satellites to provide C4ISR capabilities for joint operations.

    Nov 10, 2017

  • Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah listen to him via a screen during a rally marking the 11th anniversary of the end of Hezbollah's 2006 war with Israel, in Khiam, Lebanon, August 13, 2017

    Commentary

    How Hezbollah Came to Dominate Information Warfare

    Hezbollah's information warfare portfolio includes newspapers, social media outlets, television programming, and a major internet presence. Its websites reflect the group's diverse agenda and aim to be multi-generational in their approach, offering information about social services as well as a video game to engage youth.

    Sep 19, 2017

  • An Iraqi military HMMWV drives past an Islamic State sign in eastern Mosul after they captured it from IS

    Commentary

    The Islamic State May Be Failing, but Its Strategic Communications Legacy Is Here to Stay

    The Islamic State's caliphate is collapsing but its legacy will live on virtually because of its information operations. The scale of the menace presented by the group today pales in comparison to other global challenges, yet it manages to dominate and terrorize the public mind.

    Aug 17, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017

    Commentary

    Russian Information Warfare: A Reality That Needs a Response

    For the last three decades, Russia has exploited its growing capabilities in cyberspace to spy on, influence, and punish others. The West will continue to struggle to hold Moscow accountable, in part because international law falls far short of fully defining the rules or resolving conflicts.

    Jul 21, 2017

  • Report

    Cyber Power Potential of the Army's Reserve Component

    Describes the availability of personnel with cyber skills in the private sector and the number of Army reserve component soldiers available to support the Army's cyber mission needs.

    Jun 15, 2017

  • Global network and information connection

    Report

    Social Media Analysis Could Support Information Operations

    Social media analysis could provide a window into the perspectives and communications of adversaries and other key audiences. If DoD seeks to expand its capability in this area, it must navigate U.S. law, cultural norms, and other issues.

    Jun 14, 2017

  • Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer visits the Bemowo Piskie Training Area near Orzysz, Poland, where U.S., U.K., and Romanian soldiers support NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence, May 5, 2017

    Commentary

    NATO: Prepared for Countering Disinformation Operations in the Baltic States?

    NATO alliance countries deploying to the Baltics should prepare to deal with increasing levels of disinformation. An open and robust communication strategy could be crucial in tackling a sophisticated Russian disinformation campaign aimed at disrupting support for these deployments.

    Jun 7, 2017

  • Testimony

    Understanding Russian "Hybrid Warfare": And What Can Be Done About It: Addendum

    Document submitted May 5, 2017, as an addendum to testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on March 22, 2017.

    May 11, 2017

  • A woman holds a placard with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a celebration of the third anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea in Simferopol, March 16, 2017

    Report

    Lessons from Russia's Operations in Ukraine

    Russia's annexation of Crimea was a decisive use of military force toward political ends. But Russia benefited from favorable circumstances that make this hard to replicate. Moscow likely considers its campaign in Eastern Ukraine a strategic success but an unsuccessful operation.

    May 9, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is reflected in the glasses of a cadet watching Putin on TV at a military school outside Rostov-on-Don, Russia, December 20, 2012

    Testimony

    The Need for Cognitive Security

    The United States needs a strategy to counter information operations conducted by Russia and other adversaries. The rapid evolution of technology complicates this challenge.

    Apr 27, 2017

  • Report

    Dominating Duffer's Domain: Lessons for the U.S. Marine Corps Information Operations Practitioner

    To support the U.S. Marine Corps and its curriculum for information operations personnel, RAND has adapted the premise of the military classic The Defence of Duffer's Drift for a modern-day audience of Marine Corps officers.

    Apr 20, 2017

  • Report

    Dominating Duffer's Domain: Lessons for the U.S. Army Information Operations Practitioner

    Adapting the format of military classic, The Defence of Duffer's Drift, this report analyzes alternative courses of action in the same hypothetical mission in order to derive lessons about integrating information operations into operational planning.

    Apr 20, 2017

  • The Indiana National Guard Computer Network Defense Team readies their workstations for the Cyber Shield 2016 exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 20, 2016

    Commentary

    Reservists and the National Guard Offer Untapped Resources for Cybersecurity

    More than 100,000 personnel in the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve have some degree of cyber competence, including thousands with deep or mid-level expertise. They could help defend the cyber terrain on which America's national security, prosperity, and democracy depend.

    Apr 18, 2017

  • A soldier sets up voice intercept equipment during a cyber integration exercise on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, October 21, 2015

    Report

    Building an Army Strategy for Cyber Support

    Cyber operations are increasingly important to the Army and other services' ability to incorporate actions in cyberspace with activities in traditional warfighting domains. A new strategy for tactical Army cyber operations enumerates overarching goals, objectives, and associated activities.

    Mar 28, 2017

  • Multimedia

    Understanding Russian "Hybrid Warfare" and What Can Be Done About It

    Testimony by Christopher S. Chivvis presented before the House Armed Services Committee on March 22, 2017.

    Mar 22, 2017