How President Trump’s use of Twitter Jeopardizes National Security
I , like most Americans, have been watching the news about President Trump and stories about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 United States Presidential election. It is troubling to watch what is happening, not because I have a political bias, but because I spent 5 years working at United States Strategic Command planning and otherwise involved in operations aimed to Influence the decision making processes of strategic adversaries of the United States. I had an alphabet soup of security clearances and many read-ins for Special Access Program and Alternate Compensatory Control Measures. I mention clearances and accesses so those who worked in that world can read between the lines of my comments.
Among the things I find troubling is that the media has has not made an effort to explain what Russia Influence means and has used confusing phrases like the Russians helped Donald Trump win the election. If the U.S. media wants to regain the trust of the American they need to have Military Infuence/Information Operations describe what an Information Operations campaign is and how covert, clandestine, and psychological operations are implemented. It can be very confusing, but if you find and expert with an ability to explain complex issues in laymen terms it can be an engaging segment. A mentor of mine Dr John Arquilla at the Naval Postgraduate School comes to mind. (Sorry to throw a spot light on you “Doc.”
Anothher troubling aspect of what has been occurring is that the National Security Advisor was unsuccessful in explaining to President Trump how his Tweets are being used to build a very credible cognitive, emotional, and behavioral profile that can be used to craft influence activities. With these raw insights into the President’s thinking our adversaries will be able to increase the probability of success when they choose to execute. I would have done this and sought Humint Control System information to tailor deception activities. I find it hard to believe that LTG Flynn would not have understood the risks Twitter poses. If for some unbelievable reason he did not he could/should have reached out to experts like RADM Filipowski.
My final concern for this article is the conduit for raw information that President Trump is allowing into his mind. Anyone versed in Influence Operations knows getting ideas into someone’s mind allows for cognitive linkages to be built later. Some will say my comment is exaggeration, trust me it is not. Just as a good trial attorney knows a juror cannot unhear things even if the judge orders it to be stricken. President Trump’s current National Security Advisor Ned’s to do more to Influence the President’s behavior with Twitter.
I hope this article encourages people to think a little more about the Information War that we are currently engaged in. The Russians are very very good at Influence, deception, and cyber. They are the only major military force to have conducted full spectrum Influence Operation combined with Kinetic to attack another country. The U.S.has conducted IO in support of operations in our fight against Violent Extremist and in major exercises, but what the Russians have and are doing is on a different level. If the President of the United States does not increase his understanding of Information Warfare we may find ourselves at a disadvantage that will be hard to overcome.