In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Cindy Otis, a disinformation expert specializing in election security, digital investigations, and messaging. She is a non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. Prior to joining the private sector, she spent a decade as a CIA officer, serving as an intelligence analyst, briefer, and manager. Her regional expertise includes Europe and the Middle East. Ms. Otis is the author of the forthcoming book True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News, to be published on July 28, 2020 by Macmillan Publishers.
In this episode, we discuss the role of technology in accelerating the spread of disinformation; its increasing use by state, non-state, and commercial actors; and the vital role an educated population has in implementing effective intervention tactics and counter-measures. Some of the highlights from our interview include the following:
• Disinformation and propaganda have been a part of the information landscape for a long time, but the current news focus sometimes creates a misconception that it is a new phenomenon. The tools and tactics that organizations use might change with the creation of new media, but the patterns and messages are the same throughout the historical context.
• Because fake news and disinformation are not new phenomena, there are actions that can be taken to defend against it and people can be armed against it. People should feel hopeful that there are actions they themselves can take to become a first line of defense against fake news.
• People should also have a feeling of responsibility that they are part of the solution in being more conscientious about what information they consume and what they share.
• The number of players involved in creating, disseminating, and amplifying disinformation will keep increasing as countries and groups see how effective and successful others currently are at using disinformation as a tool or weapon.
• More foreign governments will be getting involved, but commercial entities will also move into the space as “disinformation-for-hire” with troll farms and black PR firms.
• Most organizations, from DoD to non-profits, are similar in that they do not have a deep enough capability to look at the issue of disinformation. There need to be far more people trained in disinformation investigation and analysis.
• Disinformation investigation often looks for the same trends and patterns from previous years, while disinformation actors have learned from those trends and become ever more sophisticated.
• We need to pay more attention to the actual solutions of how we minimize the risk of disinformation with different intervention tactics, instead of only looking for current threat actors and trends.
• Education plays a huge role in defending against disinformation, especially with organizations providing training to both consumers and journalists to consider information and use OSINT tools.
Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next podcast with Molly Cain (founder of GovCity, former DHS Director of Venture, and entrepreneurship expert) addressing talent management, leadership, and innovation on 25 June 2020!
In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Keith Law, Senior Baseball Writer at The Athletic, which he joined in January 2020 after spending thirteen and a half years at ESPN. Before joining ESPN.com in June 2006, Keith spent just over four years as the Special Assistant to the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, and prior to that had written for Baseball Prospectus. Keith Law is the author of Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball, published in April 2017; and The Inside Game: Bad Calls, Strange Moves, and What Baseball Behavior Teaches Us About Ourselves, published in April of this year. In today’s podcast, Keith Law discusses the parallels between baseball and the Information Environment, how stats skew our thinking, and the implications of anchoring bias: The brain develops cognitive biases to manage extensive information. These biases lead information consumers to draw false conclusions and ignore conflicting data. Anchoring bias occurs when the brain latches onto the first piece of information, even if it is irrelevant to what you are working on. Creating radical change in a large, traditional organization, like the Army or a sports team, is best done through an individualized grassroots effort. Radical change, especially from people new to the organization, does ...
In today’s podcast, Major Rob Slaughter discusses Platform One (P1), an official DoD DevSecOps Enterprise Services team. P1’s vision is to create an innovative, collaborative, and unified Defense Department that delivers freedom through continuous software integration and deployments. Its mission is to guide, empower, equip, and accelerate DoD program offices and weapon systems through their DevSecOps journeys by: Helping to deploy mission code to the Warfighter quickly and securely. Accelerating deployment capabilities by providing an 85% solution to jump start coding. Providing a common code base for reusability. Creating a collaborative environment to break down silos and enable government-wide cross-functionality. The following are highlights from our interview with Major Slaughter: Platform One solves two simultaneous DoD problems, usually seen as polar opposites: – DoD systems are not secure enough. – DoD struggles to quickly deliver software capabilities. The current limitation on software is the age of our systems. The average USAF aircraft is older than our airmen. The future is “everything software,” but to realize this future, we will need new hardware. An AI beat an F-16 pilot in air-to-air combat, but that same F-16 could not incorporate that AI onboard without major hardware upgrades. The “everything software” future means every Soldier and Civilian should be able to write software wherever they are. The greatest immediate potential is with the new Space Force, as 100% of their fight will be through a console. Mobility is an enabling trend — being able to access the necessary software tools and work with agility in any environment. In this future, the #1 risk to combat systems is software. Rapid software development and accreditation, and sharing what works across the force is critical to mission success. Platform One can be the “Easy button”– ...
To Boldy Go, edited by COL Jonathan Klug and Steven Leonard, and published by Casemate Publishers in 2021, is subtitled “Leadership, Strategy, and Conflict in the 21st Century and Beyond.” Army Mad Scientist’s The Convergence podcasters Luke Shabro and Matthew Santaspirt explore how science fiction can inform the Army about the Operational Environment and the changing character of warfare with the books co-editors and contributors:COL Jonathan Klug is a U.S. Army Strategist serving as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Strategy, Planning, and Operations at the U.S. Army War College. Commissioned as an Armor officer, he served in Haiti, Bosnia, South Korea, Egypt, and Iraq. His strategy assignments included writing U.S. Army, U.S. Joint, and NATO Joint counter-insurgency doctrine; teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy; serving as V Corps Deputy Plans and Strategy Officer; and strategic planning in the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, and Operation Resolute Support Headquarters. He holds degrees from the U.S. Military Academy, Louisiana State University, and the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies. He is a PhD candidate in Military and Naval History at the University of New Brunswick. COL Klug co-edited To Boldly Go and co-authored “Yours is the Superior” with Steven Leonard (below), and contributed “You Rebel Scum!” and “To Live and Die at My Command.” Steven Leonard is an award-winning faculty member at the University of Kansas, where he chairs graduate programs in Organizational Leadership and Supply Chain Management. As a former military strategist and the creative force behind the defense microblog Doctrine Man, he is a career writer and speaker with a passion for developing and mentoring the next generation of thought leaders. ...