Another large part of the problem is that the United States has become reactive and not proactive.
Congress told reforms needed to counter foreign disinformation from Russia, China
Foreign nations including China and Russia along with the Islamic State are conducting information warfare against the United States and the federal government is ill prepared to counter it, information warfare experts told Congress on Wednesday.
“To date, there is not a single individual in the U.S. government below the president of the United States who is responsible and capable of managing U.S. information dissemination and how we address our adversaries in the information environment,” said Michael Lumpkin, until recently the director of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center that seeks to counter online terrorist propaganda.
Lumpkin, a former Navy SEAL and former Pentagon special operations policymaker, said bureaucracy, conflicting and unclear legal authorities, and lack of resources are major impediments to U.S. information warfare programs.
Matthew Armstrong, a former government broadcasting official and specialist in propaganda, said the failure of U.S. news media have helped Russia’s propaganda reach deep into the U.S. public.
Armstrong said he was informed by a Russian official that Moscow’s state-run RT propaganda cable network would have no market in the United States if U.S. news media were doing its job. “I think there’s some legitimacy to that,” he said.
“Today, Russia, China, and the so-called Islamic State lead prominent efforts to ‘subvert, to confuse, and to divide’ their opposition while the West, and the United States in particular, remains largely unarmed in this struggle for minds and wills,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said Russia and Chinese propaganda outlets freely operate in the United States while U.S. media and official broadcasts are blocked in those countries. Reciprocity is needed, he said.
Examples of information warfare include Russia’s hacking and influence operation targeting the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Chinses [sic] information warfare in seeking the covert takeover of the South China Sea, and Iran’s deception operations regarding the international nuclear agreement that led to the release of billions of dollars in frozen funds to Tehran.
Information warfare “is a conflict we have largely ignored,” Subcommittee Chairman Elise Stefanik said.
“What remains clear is that the cyber warfare and influence campaigns being waged against our country represent a national security challenge of generational proportions,” she said.
Stefanik said “information warfare is being waged in an aggressive ongoing competition over territory, resources, and people; in the Crimea; in the South China Sea; in Iraq, and in Syria.”
Stefanik said the Pentagon can play an important role in information warfare but broader efforts are needed.
“Countering adversarial propaganda requires a whole-of-government strategy using all instruments of national power, to harness the authorities, tools, and resources required to mitigate and marginalize its harmful effects,” she said.
Discussion during the hearing also focused on the need to create a digital age U.S. Information Agency, the government’s main Cold War-era propaganda and information institution that was disbanded in 1999.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said recently that the United States needs a new “U.S.I.A. on steroids” to wage information warfare, an idea supported by many at the hearing.
“Much of the U.S. government thinking on shaping and responding in the information environment has remained unchanged, to include how we manage U.S. government information dissemination and how we respond to the information of our adversaries,” Lumpkin said.
“We are cognitively hamstrung for a myriad of reasons to include: lack of accountability and oversight, bureaucracy resulting in insufficient levels of resourcing and inability to absorb cutting-edge information and analytic tools, and access to highly skilled personnel,” he said.
Full article: U.S. Losing Global Information War (Washington Free Beacon)