Information Warfare

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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.

Explore Information Operations

  • Blog

    The Fight Against COVID, Sexual Violence in the Military, Disinformation on Social Media: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the ongoing fight against COVID-19, countering sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military, disinformation on social media, and more.

    Jul 23, 2021

  • Capt. Sarah Miller and Tech. Sgt. Carrol Brewster discuss options in response to a staged cyber attack during filming of a scene for an AFRC mission video at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, June 1, 2019, photo by Maj. Christopher Vasquez/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Combating Foreign Disinformation on Social Media

    Disinformation campaigns on social media pose a nuanced threat. But much of the U.S. response remains ad hoc and uncoordinated. It's unclear who has the edge moving forward, because disinformation techniques and countermeasures are evolving simultaneously.

    Jul 19, 2021

  • Marines with Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command pose for photos in the cyber operations center at Lasswell Hall

    Report

    Chinese Disinformation Efforts on Social Media

    The authors identify key Chinese practices and the supporting infrastructure and conditions that successful social media disinformation campaigns require, concluding that China is using Taiwan as a test bed for developing attack vectors.

    Jul 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Understanding and Pursuing Information Advantage

    This article tries to unpack the concept of "information advantage" and explore what it might mean and how it should be thought about by the U.S. Army and the joint force more broadly.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Blog

    Sexual Assault in the Military, School Security, Mental Health Care: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the risk of sexual assault to sexual minorities in the U.S. military, making treatment more accessible to people struggling with opioid addiction, countering Russian propaganda, and more.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Korolev at the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters

    Report

    Countering Russian and Other State-Sponsored Propaganda

    Since the Russian propaganda campaign that targeted the 2016 U.S. presidential election, researchers have penned a trove of reports that offer recommendations for countering such efforts. To help policymakers and others, RAND experts produced a compendium that divides these recommendations into various categories.

    Jun 1, 2021

  • War, military threat, military power concept. China. Tanks toy near chinese flag on black background top view, photo by 9dreamstudio/AdobeStock

    Report

    Deciphering Chinese Deterrence Signalling in the New Era

    China is changing its approach to deterrence signalling in Xi Jinping's 'new era' as it leverages growing military capabilities and the availability of new communication channels. How can Australia, the United States, and other countries better decipher Chinese deterrence signalling in this new era?

    May 27, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Exploring Chinese Military Thinking on Social Media Manipulation Against Taiwan

    This article addresses a gap in the current policy discussion, provides evidence of Chinese military planning for covert manipulation of Taiwanese social media, and explores how its interest in and tactics for social media manipulation have evolved over time.

    May 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Borrowing a Boat Out to Sea: The Chinese Military's Use of Social Media for Influence Operations

    The Chinese military is positioning itself as one of the leading actors for hostile Chinese influence operations on social media. The PLA uses social media for covert hostile political interference operations targeting foreign countries.

    May 14, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Cognitive Domain Operations: The PLA's New Holistic Concept for Influence Operations

    As information becomes ever more central for Chinese warfighting, the People's Liberation Army is developing a new concept for psychological warfare in the information era called "cognitive domain operations."

    May 14, 2021

  • Connected dotted lines representing a network, image by liuzishan/Getty Images

    Report

    New Model Helps Predict Cyber Threats and Improve Resilience

    Today's evolving cyber threats require a tailored and targeted approach to cybersecurity. Current defenses focus on managing threats after a network has been breached. RAND's Scalable Warning and Resilience Model (SWARM) can help defenders proactively protect their systems through early warning of cyber incidents before they occur.

    May 11, 2021

  • Blog

    COVID-19 Disinformation, Biden's Address, Leaving Afghanistan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russian and Chinese campaigns to spread malign and subversive information on COVID-19, President Biden's address to Congress, the planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more.

    Apr 30, 2021

  • Network illustrations depicting online conspiracy theories, images by miakievy and Cecilia Escudero/Getty Images

    Report

    Machine Learning Can Detect Online Conspiracy Theories

    As social media platforms work to prevent malicious or harmful uses of their services, an improved model of machine-learning technology can detect and understand conspiracy theory language. Insights from this modeling effort can help counter the effects of online conspiracies.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • Blog

    Understanding Violent Extremism, 'Blockships,' VMT Fee: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on firsthand accounts of violent extremism, lessons from the recent blockage in the Suez Canal, and if a federal Vehicle Miles Travel fee could replace the gas tax.

    Apr 2, 2021

  • A hand with megaphone spreading social media news on Coronavirus infection, photo by Feodora Chiosea/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Towards an AI-Based Counter-Disinformation Framework

    Artificial intelligence is being used to develop sophisticated malign information on social media. But AI also provides opportunities to strengthen responses to these threats and can foster wider resilience to disinformation.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • People are silhouetted as they hold mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a binary code and a Russian flag, in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, October 29, 2014, photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    Report

    PSAs Might Prevent Foreign Disinformation from Taking Hold

    Tests with focus groups suggest that Americans are vulnerable to Russian-made memes. The participants responded positively to a public service announcement about foreign election interference, especially after they learned that they had just viewed content from Russia designed to breed dissension.

    Mar 29, 2021

  • People standing in front of a Twitter logo, photo illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

    Report

    Pro-Ukraine Activists on Twitter Can Help Counter Russian Influence

    Many pro-Ukraine activists surveyed on Twitter support the United States and the European Union and oppose Russia and its influence on Ukraine. They have used Twitter—and other social media and offline channels—to help counter Russian influence. Half said they would be open to receiving social media training.

    Mar 24, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Evolution of Special Operations as a Model for Information Forces

    This article draws an analogy between special operations and information forces and suggests the history and evolution of SOF could serve as a model and provide lessons for the development of information forces.

    Feb 19, 2021

  • Blog

    The Most Popular RAND Research of 2020

    Here are the RAND research projects that resonated most in 2020, a year unlike any in living memory. Topics include remote learning, election disinformation, income inequality, and more.

    Dec 21, 2020