The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
During this episode, US Army LTC Brian Burbank discusses the Ghost Team’s immersive information operations training capability at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. The Ghost Team challenges brigade-sized units with multi-domain dynamics so that we can win the first battle of the next war.
Research Question: Brian Burbank observes that everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence and how it’s going to change modern warfare. The real question is how, and how do we make it useful to help a Commander win? Lots of value to automate the science of Leadership, so Commanders can apply the Art to enhance our information dominance (Our OODA loop is faster than our adversaries). But if it doesn’t help Commanders win, then it won’t be of value.
LTC Brian Burbank is a lifelong Maniac (born and raised in Maine) and enlisted in the United States Army Reserves in September 1998. He served in the 94th Military Police Company until 2003 and deployed to Bosnia in 2000-2001. He also briefly served in the Maine Army National Guard prior to commissioning. LTC Burbank commissioned from the University of Maine Army ROTC program in 2003 and was branched Aviation and became a qualified UH-60 pilot. He mostly flew a desk, despite a deployment to Afghanistan (2006-2007) and to Iraq (2008-2009), which led him to transfer into Information Operations (Functional Area 30) in 2013.
As an Information Operations Officer, LTC Burbank served on the I Corps staff, participating in exercises in Thailand, Japan, and Australia, and numerous CONUS locations. In 2016, LTC Burbank was assigned to 1st Information Operations Battalion, 1st Information Operations Command at Fort Belvoir, VA where he served as a Field Support Team Leader during a deployment in support of a JTF in Afghanistan (2017), Battalion Executive Officer, Force Management Officer, and Social Media Detachment Chief. He then was assigned to III Corps and immediately deployed to Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait (2020-2021).
LTC Burbank is currently assigned as the Ghost Team Chief within the Operations group at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. Ghost Team is comprised of key enablers to support Information Advantage, specifically Civil Affairs, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities, Public Affairs, Psychological Operations, and Space Operations. Ghost Team is responsible for simultaneously coaching rotational training units and adjusting the scenario to provide a controlled, realistic, and contested training operational environment for the Army. Ghost Team derives its heritage from the World War Two famed unit, the 23rd Headquarters, Special Troops, better known as “Patton’s Ghost Army”.
LTC Brian Burbank has been married to the lovely Olivia Burbank for almost 20 years and they share two children, Abby (16) and Evan (12). They collectively enjoy shenanigans wherever they go. Brian enjoys working on his 1969 Volkswagen Beetle (Herbie), brewing beer, gardening, terrorizing children and the neighborhood in his inflatable T-Rex costume, and most recently, dabbling with his wood pellet smoker.
About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.
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