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, Lori Reynolds and Austin Branch (along with over 40 additional IPA members) discuss the upcoming Phoenix Challenge conference, which will be held on April 26-28, 2022 at the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) on the University of Maryland campus. LtGen Reynolds also discusses the Marine Corps’ recent announcement regarding the Information Maneuver Occupational Field (OCcFld 1700).
Mr. Austin Branch is an Information Operations pioneer, practitioner and leader. He holds the distinction of being the Army’s very first Information Operations officer when that career field was just forming, and while in uniform, he served at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. Since retirement from the Army, Mr. Branch served in several senior executive civilian roles within the Department of Defense which focused on information operations, cyber, and counter-terrorism. He is also a founding board member of the Information Professionals Association.
Lori Reynolds retired as a Lieutenant General after a 35 year career in the United States Marine Corps. Her service culminated as the Deputy Commandant for Information, a newly established Deputy Commandant that recognized the growing importance of Information, cyberspace and digital technologies and the new warfighting domains of space and cyberspace. During her career, she commanded Marines at every rank, including command of formations in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a General Officer, she commanded the Marine Corps iconic recruit depot at Parris Island SC, where she was responsible for recruiting and training 20,000 new Marines per year. She subsequently commanded Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, where she completed the build of the Marine Corps’ newest warfighting component and was responsible for the Marine Corps first ever cyber effects operations in support of the Joint Force.
In her time as the Deputy Commandant for Information, Lori was responsible for all IT, intelligence, cyberspace, space and influence personnel and capability development for the Marine Corps. She led the team that created the Marine Corps newest warfighting function of Information, acknowledging the growing importance of the fight for secure information and data. She also led the development of the cyberspace occupational field for the Marine Corps and initiated the creation of a new Marine component for US Space Command.
Lori served as the senior woman in the Marine Corps for 8 years and is an expert in team building, leading diverse teams, managing complexity, risk and talent management, and organizational change management. In her last 6 years in the Marine Corps, she was a member of the Marine Corps Corporate Board reponsible for collaboratively planning $50B annually to support USMC missions and capability development globally. Her executive responsibilities included Deputy Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer for the Marine Corps, Director of Cyber Security, and Director of Intelligence.
Lori earned a BS in political science from the United States Naval Academy, a MS from the Navy War College and an MS from Army War College. She has voluntarily served as the Chairperson of the Board for the Sea Services Leadership Association and is a member of the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association. She was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2020 and was the inaugural recipient of the Admiral Grace Hopper award at the National Defense University’s College of Information and Cyberspace. She is also a member of the Information Professionals Association.
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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