The Case for a Cognitive Security Proving Ground

Brian Pierce, an Information Professionals Association (IPA) collaborator and visiting research scientist at the University of Maryland Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), published in Defense News this week on the need for a cognitive security proving ground for national security, where public and private partners can “work together in the holistic integration of tools, models and datasets to overcome the cognitive security challenges of resilience, situational awareness and engagement.”

In “Protecting people from disinformation requires a cognitive security proving ground,” Pierce offers that a cognitive security proving ground would provide the venue to simulate and test cognitive security technologies and techniques with a rigor similar to what has been applied to cybersecurity, a similarly hard problem that combines hardware, technology, and social/behavioral science.  Pierce proposes a proving ground that would address questions like, ““How do we protect populations against large-scale mis- and disinformation campaigns?” or “How do we measure the effectiveness of cognitive security techniques and technologies?” It would also incorporate an examination of the ethical, legal, and societal issues surrounding cognitive security.

The need for a neutral and collaborative proving ground to test potential solutions to the problem is clear, but this only addresses part of the problem – how to defend ourselves against those who manipulate the information environment.  A broader strategy is needed that incorporates such a proving ground into overarching efforts to better educate the public to root out disinformation and elevate trustworthy sources as well as engage more intentionally and directly on the battlefield of information.

These are discussions ripe for Phoenix Challenge 2.0, which will be held virtually on April 13 and hosted by IPA and ARLIS. Learn more here.