On Wednesday experts told Congress that the U.S. has failed to counter information warfare from ISIS, China and Russia
(VERO BEACH, FLA) During a hearing held by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities information warfare experts Michael Lumpkin, Matthew Armstrong, and Timothy Thomas detailed the shortcoming of US defense in this sector.
"To date, there is not a single individual in the U.S. government below the president of the United States who is responsible and capable of managing U.S. information dissemination and how we address our adversaries in the information environment," Michael Lumpkin told the subcommittee. “The sobering truth is we’re still far where we ultimately need to be to operate in the modern information environment.”
Michael Lumpkin, a former Navy SEAL and Pentagon special operations policymaker, served until recently as the director of the State Department's Global Engagement Center which has the responsibility to counter online terrorist propaganda.
Matthew Armstrong, a specialist in propaganda and an associate fellow at the center for strategic communications at King’s College London, agreed with Lumpkin’s assessment.
“Our messages and actions are typically disunified,” Armstrong told House officials. “Our response to adversarial propaganda is almost invariably reactionary.”
Armstrong also said:
“Today, Russia, China, and the so-called Islamic State lead prominent efforts to ‘subvert, to confuse, and to divide' their opposition while the West, and the United States in particular, remains largely unarmed in this struggle for minds and wills.”
Armstrong, who also previously served as a governor on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), added he had recently spoken to a Russian official about cable network Russia Today (RT) — a station which Washington Free Beacon founder Bill Gertz considers to be state-run propaganda.
Armstrong relayed that the official said RT would have no market in the United States if U.S. news media were doing their job. "I think there's some legitimacy to that," Armstrong told the subcommittee.
“Russia and Chinese propaganda outlets freely operate in the United States while U.S. media and official broadcasts are blocked in those countries,” Armstrong said. “Reciprocity is needed.”
Also heard during the hearing was Mr. Timothy L. Thomas, a senior analyst at the Foreign Military Studies Office at Ft. Leavenworth, KS.
“Russia is motivated by dangers and threats to its information space, whether they be political, economic, military, diplomatic, or others,” Thomas said. “Software writers and their teams, along with a thriving hacker and troll community, continue to cause problems for the West.”
On Tuesday, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced a bill which would empower the DOJ to investigate RT America if it believes the organization was operating in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Following the expert testimonies Subcommittee Chairman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) stated her agreement that information warfare is a conflict the US has largely ignored.
"What remains clear is that the cyber warfare and influence campaigns being waged against our country represent a national security challenge of generational proportions," Rep. Stefanik said.