The cognitive warfare described below (only ascribed to the enemy, of course) is, in layman’s language, the practice of attempting to inform people and perhaps add to their store of knowledge in a manner that could contribute to broadening their perspective; what has been referred to as white propaganda. That, according to NATO, must be resolutely stamped out. How, after all, can one maintain the global dominance of the alliance’s free societies if freedom of information and expression is allowed? An open affront to the rules-based international order.
The upcoming Fall iteration of the NATO Innovation Challenge is seeking innovative tools and measures to identify, assess and protect against attacks on the cognitive domain of NATO forces and their Allies. The Innovation Challenge will be co-led by Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program, and the NATO Innovation Hub during the month of November 2021….
Adversarial attempts to manipulate human behaviour will present an enduring challenge to Allied nations’ defence and security. This emerging threat of modern warfare goes beyond controlling the flow of information. Cognitive warfare seeks to change not only what people think, but also how they act. Attacks against the cognitive domain involve the integration of cyber, disinformation/misinformation, psychological, and social-engineering capabilities.
Cognitive warfare positions the mind as a battle space and contested domain. Its objective is to sow dissonance, instigate conflicting narratives, polarize opinion, and radicalize groups. Cognitive warfare can motivate people to act in ways that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society. Ensuing disorder can influence decision-making, change ideologies, and generate distrust among Allies.