MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
The United States National Security Strategy recognizes the need to combat misinformation and disinformation to employ integrated deterrence successfully. The Air Force Culture and Language Center addresses that priority through an educational video series on its Culture Guide app focused on helping total force Airmen and the Department of Defense develop resilience to misinformation and disinformation.
“Strategic competitors like Russia and China, as well as Violent Extremist Organizations and non-political disrupters, use misinformation and disinformation campaigns to recruit members to their cause, divide our society domestically, and create rifts between allies and partners,” said Dr. Elizabeth Peifer, AFCLC’s Associate Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Europe). “We are less able to put up a strong defense if we are divided socially and if our alliances and partnerships are torn.”
Dr. Peifer’s academic interests include radicalism and extremism, public memory and narrative, and European security issues. These diverse research areas converge on the problem of disinformation and its impact on military operations. Her study of factors that make disinformation effective led to developing this series as a constructive and practical approach to the problem.
The new four-part video series discusses vulnerabilities to misinformation and disinformation in the military setting and innovative tools and techniques for service members to detect, evaluate, and combat manipulative information to make informed decisions in the operational landscape.
Part one of the series provides an overview of the problem of disinformation and misinformation. Part two promotes greater self-awareness by analyzing aspects of cognitive behavior and social psychology that make individuals more susceptible to manipulation through disinformation. Part three helps viewers gain situational awareness with an understanding of the Internet and patterns of disinformation in the digital landscape. And finally, part four concludes the series with practical ways to protect against misinformation and disinformation with tools and techniques for evaluating online sources.
“Resilience to misinformation and disinformation impacts our will to fight, the strength of our alliances, unit cohesion, and how one reads the battlespace. For example, if you’re being fed disinformation about the host nations’ attitudes toward the United States, that will affect how you operate in that space,” Dr. Peifer said. “A certain amount of fog exists in every conflict, but disinformation compounds the problem.”
The video series is designed to be a self-sufficient learning tool for individuals to watch, discuss, and apply outside of the classroom setting. Service members can watch the videos from anywhere using their mobile devices.
“I think this information is important for everyone to know, but especially military members who play a key role in assessing threats and maintaining security within the United States and abroad,” Dr. Peifer said.
AFCLC’s Culture guide app hosts more than 34 hours of educational content with videos, Air Force-certified courses, and field guides on 76 countries. Nearly 35,000 users are currently gaining language, regional expertise, and culture education through the app. The app is available in the App Store and Google Play and cleared for government devices.