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.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a joint news conference with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Moscow, Russia, June 30, 2022, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters

    Report

    Russia's Evolving Use of Information Confrontation

    Information confrontation is the use of offensive or defensive informational means to achieve political, economic, or military objectives. Russian strategy likens information weapons with weapons of mass destruction since both have the potential to reshape the international system. The Ukraine experience offers insights into Russia's tactics.

    Aug 18, 2022

  • BTS perform during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. April 3, 2022, photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Commentary

    Could K-Pop Help Deter Kim Jong-un's Provocations?

    The United States and Republic of Korea could be more specific and creative in seeking to deter Kim Jong-un. The global popularity of K-Pop could be part of the strategy.

    Oct 11, 2022

Explore Information Operations

  • Research Brief

    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

    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

    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

    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

  • Report

    Report

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

    Twelve detailed case studies examine of the activities and strategic goals of allies, adversaries, and potential adversaries in and through the information environment, highlighting insights for U.S. Army planning.

    Jun 7, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Paradigm Change: Operational Art and the Information Joint Function

    The potential benefit of information as a joint function is clear. Commanders could measure campaign success by evaluating emergent behavior of relevant actors defining strategic outcomes rather than focusing too intently on the physics of fighting.

    May 2, 2018

  • Destroyed buildings during sunset at the frontline in Raqqa, Syria, October 6, 2017

    Commentary

    Defeating the ISIS Nostalgia Narrative

    It is crucial that the United States and its coalition partners take into consideration and preempt the ISIS nostalgia narratives that may seek to define the group's legacy and prepare a foundation for its resurgence throughout the Middle East and beyond. The legacy ISIS should be remembered for is one of misery and despair.

    Apr 19, 2018

  • Birds silhouetted over the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol at sunrise in Washington, D.C., November 8, 2016

    Commentary

    Political Warfare Is Back with a Vengeance

    The United States' principal adversaries are fighting and gaining ground by employing a host of tactics short of all-out war. This form of warfare, once called political warfare, is back with a vengeance, empowered by new tools and techniques.

    Apr 13, 2018

  • News Release

    News Release

    RAND Identifies New Strategies for Countering Russian Social Media Influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia is waging a social media campaign in the Baltics, Ukraine and nearby states to sow dissent against neighboring governments, as well as NATO and the European Union.

    Apr 12, 2018

  • A dark Russian sky with a binary code background

    Report

    How to Counter Russian Social Media Influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia uses social media in nearby states to sow dissent against neighboring governments and NATO. Options for countering the Kremlin's campaign include tracking and blocking propaganda more quickly and offering alternative content to help displace the Russian narrative.

    Apr 12, 2018

  • News Release

    News Release

    RAND Study Examines Ways U.S. Can Better Counter Political Warfare

    The United States needs to improve the ways it combats adversaries adept at using political warfare tactics to achieve their goals and undermine U.S. interests and allies.

    Apr 5, 2018

  • Chess board made out of a world map

    Report

    Countering Modern Political Warfare

    Both state and nonstate actors—including Russia, Iran, and ISIS—practice political warfare in unique ways. How can the United States, along with its allies and partners, respond to or engage in this type of conflict to protect U.S. interests?

    Apr 5, 2018

  • People walk next to an election campaign poster of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Stavropol, Russia, March 14, 2018

    Commentary

    Putin's Boasting About Nuclear Weapons Won't Help Him in the Russian Election

    In a March 1 address to the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked Soviet-era exaggeration, proclaiming barely feasible economic and social goals and boasting of nuclear arms that are unlikely to change the strategic balance. Continued exaggeration could sap public confidence in the legitimacy of Russia's ruling system and leaders.

    Mar 15, 2018

  • 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