You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the Cognitive Security or Information Operations space who doesn’t know Austin Branch or have a story to share about the impact he has had.
A plankholder of the Army’s Information Operations career field, Austin has served our Nation at every level of government – from the military tactical through our most strategic policy making apparatus. Austin pioneered military operations in the information environment in key leadership positions in the Army, Joint Special Operations Command, Joint Staff, EUCOM, and deployed Joint and multinational Task Force Organizations across the globe. Upon retirement from the Army, Austin joined the USD-I as the Deputy Director and Chief of Operations for the Defense Policy Analysis Office with oversight of National special plans and technical operations. He was then selected by the Secretary of Defense as the first Senior Director for the IO mission area in the Office Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict as DOD’s senior representative for IO and special program oversight, policy and assessments. He has also served in numerous other capacities critical to the IO mission area
• NCTC: focused on Domestic Counter Terrorism, Counter Violent Extremism, and Counter Terrorism Cyber Strategy and Policy
• Defense Science Board summer 2019 study focused on great power competition in the Information Environment
• COLSA Corp: Executive Director for Information Strategies and Programs
• SAF CDM: leading efforts on Operations in the Information Environment
• UMD ARLIS: help lead development of their Cognitive Security & Information Portfolio
• Austin also serves on various Advisory Board(s) and as a member of several professional associations – to include being one of the founders of the Information Professionals Association and the driving force behind bringing the Phoenix Challenge conference series back to life
While the cognitive security and information operations fields would not be where they are today were it not for Austin’s efforts and accomplishments, the true measure of Austin’s impact are the 100s and 1000s of professionals he has mentored, coached, taught, led, and influenced over the past 40 years – and those he will continue to influence. Austin Branch is and always had been our Nation’s foremost practitioner, advocate, and salesman for the power and preeminence of operations in the information environment, and we as a profession owe him our enduring gratitude.