2nd Scientific and Strategic Workshop on “Cognitive Warfare” 

Fri 04 March 2022, 8 AM - 5 PM EST

United States Military Academy (USMA) West Point, NY, Arnold Auditorium and online

Cognitive warfare is waged on the battlefield of the human mind. Tactical or strategic objectives are achieved by pursing warfare by other means. This method of warfare directly exploits advances in digital technology, applied both at individual and networked levels, to manipulate the psychological, social and information environment. This shapes what people think individually and influences how they collectively act and interact as social networks. Launched by a sophisticated adversary, cognitive warfare manipulates individual and group representations or beliefs with the desired effect of amplifying targeted behaviors and actions to favor an adversary. Pursued to the fullest, cognitive warfare has the potential to destabilize societies, military organizations, and fracture alliances. Cognitive warfare is achieved by integrating cyber, information, psychological, and social engineering capabilities. Exploiting information technology, it seeks to create confusion, false representations, and uncertainty with a deluge of information over-abundance or misinformation. This is achieved by focusing attention on false targets, by causing distraction, by introducing false narratives, radicalizing individuals, and amplifying social polarization to muster the cognitive effects needed to achieve short-term and long-term objectives. The aims of cognitive warfare can be limited, with short time horizons. Or they can be strategic, with campaigns launched over the course of decades. A single campaign could focus on the limited aim of preventing a military maneuver from taking place as planned, or to force the alteration of a specific public policy. Several successive campaigns could be launched with the long-term objective of disrupting entire societies or alliances, by seeding doubts about governance, subverting democratic processes, triggering civil disturbances, or instigating separatist movements. Today, cognitive warfare integrates cyber, information, psychological, and social engineering capabilities to achieve its ends. It takes advantage of the internet and social media to target influential individuals, specific groups, and large numbers of citizens selectively and serially in a society. It seeks to sow doubt, to introduce conflicting narratives, to polarize opinion, to radicalize groups, and to motivate them to acts that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society. And the widespread use of social media and smart device technologies in Alliance member countries may make them particularly vulnerable to this kind of attack. 

POCs: - Norbou Buchler ([email protected], 1+412-657-0286) General Issues - Lynndee Kemmet ([email protected], 1+518-929-8619) On site and virtual tech issues, travel requests, USMA West Point specific inquiries - Debbie Patton ([email protected], 1+301-520-6085) virtual tech issues, directions to USMA West Point 

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