Department of Defense to evaluate department-level guidance on “disputed information environment” training

Soldier working on a computer

A soldier engaged on a pc (Getty Photos)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon plans to develop department-wide tips on what content material it ought to embody in its coaching and training efforts for decision-making in a “contested info setting,” in line with suggestions made by Authorities Accountability Workplace.

Data setting, launched Thursday’s new GAO report [PDF] Outlined as “the sum of things affecting how people and automatic programs ingest which means from, act upon, and be affected by info,” it’s not restricted to geographic borders, posing a threat to america the place adversaries, equivalent to Russia or Chinacan assault.

“For instance, the broad availability of wi-fi communications, the enlargement of knowledge know-how, the reliance on the electromagnetic spectrum, and the far-reaching affect of social media to unfold misinformation and affect choices have led to the fast improvement of the data setting,” in line with the report. “These elements pose new and complicated nationwide safety challenges.”

Potential disruptions are described in a collection of charts within the report, together with a warning about how enemies can intervene with GPS alerts, pretend radio frequencies, or unfold misinformation on-line.

230127_GAO_info_opsRegardless of the identified dangers, the GAO report says the Division of Protection lacks the sources and readability about what to incorporate when coaching leaders to make choices in contested info environments. The GAO additionally discovered that present coaching efforts are inconsistent and don’t require the inclusion of the total vary of threats within the contest info setting.

In accordance with the report, present DoD tips on the data setting are set to run out this yr. In Could 2019, “Globally Built-in Operations within the Data Setting” was recognized as a “particular space of ​​focus” by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, however didn’t specify “what features of the data setting ought to be lined in coursework,” in line with the report.

“Moreover, the designation of the data setting as a particular space of ​​focus is scheduled to run out in 2023 when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees’s memorandum expires and new particular areas of focus are recognized,” the report reads. As of July 2022, the ultimate listing of proposals for 2023 didn’t embody the data setting as a particular space of ​​focus, and the proposals additionally didn’t give attention to decision-making in that setting, in line with an skilled training officer with the Joint Employees. “

The GAO centered its report on the navy providers, US European Command, US Indo-Pacific Command, US Particular Operations Command and the Nationwide Protection College and performed its audit from December 2021 to this month.

The Division of Protection agreed partially with the GAO’s first advice within the report, which referred to as on the Secretary of Protection to make sure that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees and Combatant and Army Companies Command develop department-wide steerage on what content material to incorporate in disputed info. Environmental coaching and training efforts “along with the sort and frequency of these efforts essential for leaders to develop expertise within the subject.”

“Nevertheless, the frequency of ‘such efforts’, notably coaching efforts, ought to rely upon the tempo of operations and be decided on the Combatant Command stage, and shouldn’t be dictated by the Secretary of Protection,” the Division of Protection wrote in response to the Authorities Accountability Workplace.

The Division of Protection absolutely agreed with GAO’s second advice, which requested the Secretary of Protection to make sure that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees and the Underneath Secretary of Protection for Personnel Readiness, Combatant Command, and Army Companies conduct an evaluation and evaluate “associated element assessments of the sources wanted to fulfill present wants to coach and practice leaders to take motion.” Choices in a contested info setting.

In accordance with the report, the analysis also needs to determine changes, if any, wanted to enhance the outcomes of future training and coaching efforts to extend DoD leaders’ willingness to make such choices.

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