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The Strategic Impacts of Misinformation and Disinformation

  • Published
  • By JSOU
  • JSOU


Accurate information is critical to understanding the world to make effective strategic decisions. The rise of misinformation and disinformation, access to sensational, hyperbolic, and exaggerated reporting, through worldwide news sources, social media and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven media adds to the complexity of how the American people, members of the American government, and military leaders see the world. The storming of the U.S. capitol on 6 January 2021, is one example of how incorrect information derived from these sources is used to develop collective identity for the pursuit of collective action, resulting in unusually acute strategic divisiveness for both domestic and international audiences.

How can leaders who engage in information operations formally or informally differentiate between what is and is not real? How can the DoD inoculate themselves and the nation from the effects of disinformation created and disseminated for divisive purposes? How can DoD leaders avoid becoming inappropriately biased by this information? How can DoD leaders prevent the negative effects of misinformation and disinformation? What is the impact of social media and the spread of misinformation and disinformation on the American identity? What is the impact of social media and the spread of misinformation and disinformation on leadership? How has social media and widespread misinformation and disinformation already impacted DoD decision-making? What role can and should the DoD play in mitigating the effects of social media and misinformation and disinformation for the American public, for the American political process, and for the strategic mission?