Ed note – written by two IPA Members and published by NATO’s STRATCOM CoE, this report both dissects the nature of Russian information activities to achieve strategic goals, and addresses an old problem in information activities across government and industries: the lack of a common language or taxonomy to describe the components of information activities designed to affect human decision-making. Both Chris Paul and Alan Kelly have been guests on IPA’s Cognitive Crucible podcast. See links to their episodes below.
Decoding Crimea: Pinpointing the Influence Strategies of Modern Influence Warfare
BETHESDA, MD, USA Feb. 3, 2020 – A new article published by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Decoding Crimea: Pinpointing the Influence Strategies of Modern Information Warfare, reveals precise strategies that power Russia’s information warfare machine and propaganda programs.
Coauthored by Alan Kelly of Bethesda, MD-based Playmaker Systems and RAND Corporation’s Dr. Christopher Paul, the study merges a RAND Corp. analysis of Russia’s annexation of Crimea with a tested taxonomy of influence strategies to create first-of-a-kind illustrations of the Kremlin’s information warfare playbook and by extension the mindset and motives of Russia President Vladimir Putin.
The collaboration demonstrates how a system of proven strategies can be identified in a body of work and mapped to decode what are typically coded words and rhetoric of influencers. For example, when in the mid-2000s the Ukraine Parliament repealed Russian as an official language the Kremlin, principally through surrogates, repositioned the move as a threat to Ukraine’s sizable ethnic Russia population. The influence strategies (aka, plays) that supported this handiwork were Recast (def., Revise to reposition; the reinterpretation of information, positions and platforms) and Invoke (def., Relate to accentuate; the referencing of an idea, issue, event, player or brand).
While the findings offer lessons to western allies of eastern enemy methods they also give clues to Russia’s efforts to expand its influence and control over its western neighbors, most especially Ukraine.
Other supporting links:
- Cognitive Crucible Episode #20 Chris Paul on the Firehose of Falsehood
- Cognitive Crucible Episode #25 Kelly on Mapping the Strategies of IO Actors
- Decoding Crimea: Pinpointing the Influence Strategies of Modern Information Warfare
- Online-Interactive: Taxonomy of Influence Strategies
- Infographic: Taxonomy of Influence Strategies
- Infographic: Glossary of Influence Strategies