Applying Principles of Reflexive Control in Information and Cyber Operations

Abstract:

According to Russian methodologies, the theory of Reflexive Control (RC) allows an initiator to induce an adversary to take a decision advantageous to the initiator through information manipulation. The RC theory encompasses a methodology where specifically prepared information is conveyed to an adversary, which would lead that adversary to make a decision desired by the initiator. The methodology is generally understood by Russian planners to be applicable in a wide variety of situations, and is deeply rooted within Russian Information Warfare concepts. Because theory envelops the Russian understanding of information as both technical data and cognitive content, ‘information resources’ are understood as technological as well as human. In principle, a well-developed (global) cyberspace presents theorists and operators of RC and RC methodology with numerous possibilities to affect their adversaries. This paper explores ways in which RC can be exercised with the help of the cyberspace.


AUTHORS

Photo of Margarita Levin Jaitner

Swedish Defence University
Stockholm, Sweden

Margarita Levin Jaitner is a researcher in the area of information warfare and cyberspace—with a particular focus on Russian operations— at the Swedish Defence University, Stockholm, Sweden. She is also a Fellow at the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center. She has previously conducted research at the Finnish National Defence University as well as at the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Security, Science and Technology in Tel Aviv. She earned a master’s degree in Societal Risk Management, and a bachelor’s degree in political science.

 

Photo of Major Harry Kantola

Finnish National Defence University 
Helsinki, Finland

Major Harry Kantola teaches and conducts research at the Finnish National Defence University, Helsinki, Finland. He also is currently appointed to the Finnish Defence Command as a Cyber Defence planner in C5 (J6) branch. He joined the Finnish Defence Forces in 1991.  He served in various capacities (CSO, CIO) in the Finnish Navy, Armoured Signal Coy, and Armoured Brigade. From 2014 to 2016, he served an appointment as a researcher at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCD COE), Tallinn, Estonia.

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