Volume 18, Issue 3

About This Special Issue

This special issue was arranged to support the launch of a new initiative: the Partnership to Counter Influence Operations, housed by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Citizens, governments, and tech platforms around the world increasingly struggle to counter influenceoperations. We believe that little progress will be made without a spirit of “partnership” between governments, the tech industry, media, academia and civil society. Such collaborations are challenging but necessary. Carnegie’s Partnership to Counter InfluenceOperations (PCIO) therefore seeks to advance more effectivewhole-of-society, evidence-based strategies to counter influenceoperations. PCIO is an international initiative, with partners and programming spanning multiple countries including in Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific.PCIO and its advisory group will work actively to shape and promote a cross-sectoral consensus on key issues that is informed by evidence and best practice. PCIO leverages Carnegie’s international networks starting with its centers around the world complemented by a select number of strategic partnerships. In this manner, PCIO serves a convening function bringing expertise together and as such does not speak on behalf of its members.
For more information about PCIO, see https://carnegieendowment.org/specialprojects/countering-influenceoperat...


From Our Guest Editors

Stylized Image of the Word Editorial

Winter 2019

Influence operations (IO) are nothing new. Studies of propaganda demonstrate that efforts to inflence the battlefield by, for example undermining the will to fight, are as old as war itself (Taylor 1999). Of great concern in recent years has been the audacious targeting of these techniques upon civilian populations in peacetime, including toward rituals central to the integrity of democratic societies, such as elections. IOs typically mimic and appropriate individuals expressing their rights to freedom of speech but are, in fact, run by agents of foreign powers attempting to manipulate and degrade public debate with the aim of undermining the functioning of those societies.

How Do You Define a Poblem Like Influence


While increasing media coverage is dedicated to how information is used to influencetarget audiences, a common terminology for describing these activities is lacking. This paper offers a literature review of terms currently used by industry, government, and media related to in-fluence  operations;  analyses  the  challenges posed by many of these definitions for use in practical policy development; and ultimately argues for a broader definition of such.

Recent Trends in Online Foreign Influence Efforts


Foreign governments have used social media to infuence politics in a range of countries by promoting propaganda, advocating controversial viewpoints, and spreading disinformation. We analyze 53 distinct foreign influence efforts (FIEs) targeting 24 different countries from 2013 through 2018.

Affecting the Cognitive Dimension of the Information Envionment through Cyber-Enabled Information Operations


Defininginformation operations as activities designed to convey specificcontent to tar-get audiences for influencingthe emotions, motives, objective reasoning, attitudes, understanding, beliefs, or behavior of those audiences in ways that advance the interests of the conductor of such operations, this paper explores some of the impacts of cyber-enabled information operations on the thinking minds and feeling hearts of target audiences. 

International Humanitarian Law and Cyber-Influence Operation


Cyber-influenc and ‘fake news’ have become common terms due to high profle inci-dents such as alleged tampering in the 2016 US elections.

(Mis)Information Operations: An Integrated Perspective


The massive diffusion of social media fosters disintermediation and changes the way users are informed, the way they process reality, and the way they engage in public debate. The cognitive layer of users and the related social dynamics define the nature and the dimension of informational threats. Users show the tendency to interact with information adhering to their preferred narrative and to ignore dissenting information. Confirmation bias seems to account for users’ decisions about consuming and spreading content; and, at the same time, aggregation of favored information within those communities reinforces group polarization.

Reflexive Control and Cognitive Vulnerability in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election


This research seeks to uncover the mechanisms of Russian reflexivecontrol by examining its function during 2016 US presidential elections. Security analysts and US government officialhave asserted that Russia used reflexive control to influencethis election; however, there is little discussion on how this technique cognitively interacted with the American public.

Can There Be a Deterrent Strategy for Influence Operations?


This article attempts to stimulate thinking on responses to hybrid threats by looking at principles of deterrence in relation to influenceoperations. It begins with the questions whether influenceoperations can be deterred, and if so, how? The article explores these questions by outlining a framework for a deterrence posture for influenceoperations through a three-pronged approach based on resilience, deterrents, and countermeasures.

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The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.


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