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 MAJ Steve Schiavoni discusses his Master’s thesis from the US Army Command and General Staff College entitled: Lying, in Wait: Competitive Deception in the Indo-Pacific. The United States faces its stated pacing adversary, China, in competition in the Indo-Pacific region. As the Joint Force reorients, deception has re-emerged in updated doctrine as a competitive tool. The updated doctrine encourages the use of deception but provides little unclassified guidance on training or implementation of deception outside of tactical engagements. This thesis analyzes the foundations of strategic deception applied to the context of current US and Chinese competition in the Indo-Pacific region. Deception is modeled as a competitive wargame focused on the Indo-Pacific theater. Fundamental aspects of deception tied to US and Chinese strategic cultural lenses and objectives form the basis for the game’s model. Analysis of the wider concept of deception reveals challenges and opportunities for the US in employing strategic deception below the level of armed conflict. This thesis offers an avenue for training deception planning using an experiential learning method.
MAJ Steven Schiavoni commissioned in 2010 from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN. He started service as an Infantry Officer in the Pennsylvania National Guard where he served as a rifle platoon leader and battalion mortar platoon leader. In 2016 he transferred to the Army Reserve and became a Functional Area 30 – Information Operations officer. Since then he has served and deployed in multiple roles including company commander, sensitive activities planner, and information operations planner. He is a graduate of Infantry Basic Officer Leader’s Course, Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, FA-30 Qualification Course, and Basic Airborne Course among others. He is currently part of the Information Advantage Scholars Program at the Army’s Command and General Staff Officers Course. In his civilian life, MAJ Schiavoni works as a Department of the Air Force civilian conducting Defense Cyber Operations as part of the 412th Communications Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.
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