New Article Highlights the Risks of Ignoring the Human Domain

Information Professionals Association (IPA) founding board member Austin Branch, along with colleagues at the University of Maryland’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) Adam Russell, Devin H. Ellis, and Lt. Gen. Ed Cardon (U.S. Army Ret.), co-authored a timely piece with the Modern War Institute at West Point, making the case that the human domain is where Great Power Competition is playing out. The consequences of ignoring the human domain are more than theoretical. In “We Ignore the Human Domain at Our Own Peril,” the authors offer several recommendations to enable the U.S. Department of Defense and the interagency community to more effectively compete in multi-domain competition by focusing on the human domain and adapting more quickly to meet the threat. Recommendations include integration of social and behavioral sciences across the defense enterprise, improving training and exercises around information and influence, and examining authorities to act in the human domain.

The writers draw on their years of experience working in the cognitive domain. Austin Branch is professor of the practice at the University of Maryland’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS). After retiring from the US Army as one of the first information operations officers, he previously served as a senior civilian leader for defense information operations in the Department of Defense. Retired Lt. Gen. Ed Cardon is professor of the practice at ARLIS. He had a distinguished career in the US Army, where he served as head of Army Cyber Command, helped establish Army Futures Command, and created and led US Cyber Command Task Force ARES, among many other leadership roles. Devin Ellis is a faculty affiliate at ARLIS and director of the ICONS Project, which has led innovation in wargaming information and influence operations. Adam Russell is the chief scientist at ARLIS. He previously served as a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, working on behavioral and social science programs.

This article is part of a series, “Full-Spectrum: Capabilities and Authorities in Cyber and the Information Environment.” The series endeavors to present expert commentary on diverse issues surrounding US competition with peer and near-peer competitors in the cyber and information spaces. Read all articles in the series here.