‘From Consensus to Conflict’: Understanding active measures targeting elections


Clint Watts/Alliance for Securing Democracy

New technologies have made Russia’s information efforts easier to implement than the propaganda campaigns – aka active measures – that the Soviets conducted during the Cold War, according to a new analysis.

Information efforts by foreign actors, focused mainly on online environments, is the subject of a new study by RAND analysts Marta Kepe, Hilary Reininger, James Marrone, Todd Helmus and Jordan Reimer, the authors of  “From Consensus to Conflict: Understanding Foreign Measures Targeting U.S. Elections,” who review:

  • the intellectual basis of existing Russian information efforts: reflexive control theory;
  • examples of information efforts by the Soviet Union and Russian Federation;
  • select research on strategies that inform how to defend against online information efforts.

They recommend that strategies for responding to foreign information efforts be broad rather than narrow; anticipate which subgroups are likely targets of information efforts by foreign adversaries; and develop evidence-based preventive interventions for those who are most likely targets. RTWT


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