Paper #29. Disinformation Trackers & Destroyers

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Cyber, Eurasia, Strategy
  • No Comments

This sortie is a follow-on to ICSL Paper #28 which showed how critical thinking errors lead to exploitation. Our focus here is on freely available platforms and programs that can track and destroy disinformation.

Paper #28. To Defeat Disinformation, First Arm the Mind

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Cyber, Eurasia, Middle East & North Africa, Strategy
  • No Comments

Disinformation is a global threat. Pervasive digitized technology and social media provide rich opportunities to distort public perceptions at scale. Authoritarians assail democracies incessantly.

Paper # 27. Aggregates, Supply Chains & Influence Maneuvers: A Powerful Synthesis for Competition, Warfare

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • All Analysis and Planning, Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Cyber, Middle East & North Africa, Strategy
  • No Comments

Synthesis combines otherwise separate reactants into a new whole, releasing energy. In our highly interactive information environment, this process ranges from rules-based competition to totalitarian warfare.

Paper #26. Supply Chain Competition & Warfare II: Strategic Decisions and Integrative Options

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Cyber, Eurasia, Strategy
  • No Comments

Authoritarian states are weaponizing supply chains into all-effects warfare while democratic states compete with inferior strategies. We can be more competitive and wage superior complex warfare in kind.

Stick & Rudder #5. A Basic Strategy Toward China: Rules-based Competition that Cooperates & Confronts

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Competing effectively with the authoritarian regime in Beijing requires a superior blend of cooperation and confrontation.

Stick & Rudder #4. A Basic US Strategy Toward Russia: more than Deter & Defend

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Americas, Eurasia, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

If strategy means anything, it should have definition and purpose. US strategy toward the current Russia regime, and just about any competitor, continues to be described simplistically as deter and defend.

Teaching & Learning #4. Navigating the Pandemic from a Virtual Classroom in Wisconsin

  • Ron Machoian, Ph.D., Col USAF ret.
  • Teaching & Learning, With Blackboard & Map
  • No Comments

On March 11th, nearly 70,000 students, faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin were met with the news that a rapid transition to virtual classroom learning would begin following the scheduled spring break.

Note #16. Transparency Attack: Launch of the Mekong Infrastructure Tracker

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

The Mekong Infrastructure Tracker launched today, providing a public platform that creates transparency on nearly 4000 ongoing or planned infrastructure projects in this strategic region.

Paper #25. Supply Chain Competition & Warfare I: Fundamentals of Advantage

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Cyber, Eurasia, Strategy
  • No Comments

Supply chains are vital to socio-economic well-being and military success. They have become arenas where authoritarians wage complex warfare while democracies compete with inferior strategies.

Paper #24. Distorting the Loop: How Russia’s Narratives Reorient OODA Decisions & What to Do About It

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Cyber, Eurasia, Strategy
  • No Comments

As a follow-on to China’s strategy, we show how Russia’s use of narrative reorients decisions in an Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) Loop. The distortion of information is not just divisive. It envelops the “when-deterrence-fails” US approach to warfare.

Paper #23. Collapsing the Loop: How China’s Narrative Subverts OODA Decision-making & What to Do About It

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Cyber, Strategy
  • No Comments

Colonel John Boyd’s OODA Loop—Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act— is a powerful model for making decisions in contested environments. Strategic use of information can defeat it. Understanding narrative strategies can protect it.

Paper #22. War: What is it Good for?

  • Dr Brett L. Mers and Dr Corinna A. Robinson
  • Security
  • No Comments

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse…

Note #15. Tracking Chinese and Russian DisInformation: Hamilton 2.0 Reloaded

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Cyber, Eurasia
  • No Comments

This Note paraphrases today’s webinar from the Alliance for Security Democracy on Hamilton 2.0, a dashboard on Russian, and now Chinese, disinformation.

Stick & Rudder #3. An All-Effects Strategy Against COVID-19: Secure & Induce, Persuade & Dissuade, Defend & Deter

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D, Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

COVID-19 is an advanced threat against humanity, requiring a broad-based combination of effects to defeat.

Note #14. Machine-learning a Video: “The Corona Virus and the Impact on the Global Supply Chain”

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

This Note analyzes complex linkages in a YouTube video from the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics: The Corona Virus and the Impact on the Global Supply Chain.

Paper #21. Informatizing Operations: The Other Half of All-Domain Warfare

  • Michael D. Phillips, Col USAF ret. & Thomas A. Drohan, Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Cyber, Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Warfare has become all-domain, all-effects, and all-information. This reality is thriving in a comfort zone outside our entrenched concept of a “threshold of armed conflict.”

Teaching & Learning #3. Visual Analytics & Case Method Applied to COVID-19

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Teaching & Learning, With Blackboard & Map
  • No Comments

In an age of artificial intelligence and quantum computing, governments and businesses become more dependent on machine learning. Human learning is a continual requirement.

Paper #20. Competing with Analog Weapons in a Digital Arena? How to Gain Advantage

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Let’s explore how to gain advantages by comparing analog and digital characteristics of the Information Environment (IE).

Paper #19. From Jargon to Jointness: Understanding the Information Environment and its Terminology

  • Robert S. Ehlers, Jr., Ph.D., Col USAF ret. & Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

The Department of Defense (DoD) spends much time and effort trying to make sense of the Information Environment (IE). This effort is not new.

Teaching & Learning #2. Case Method Applied to COVID-19

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Teaching & Learning, With Blackboard & Map
  • No Comments

How we frame threats in the information environment influences what we think we can do to counter them.

Paper #18. Artificial Intelligence & the Need for Proactive Doctrine

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

US Joint Operations doctrine about the Operational Environment (OE) omits the agency of artificial intelligence (AI). How is this a problem?

Stick & Rudder #2. A Basic US Strategy Toward the Koreas: Deterrence, Defense, Compellence & Inducement

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Strategy
  • No Comments

Both North Korea and South Korea seek self-reliance and alignments with main powers. From that take-off point, I recommend this basic US strategy toward the Koreas:

Note #13. Waiting to Win & Being Proactive

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Waiting to retaliate against use of force is a losing strategy by itself. The problem is, reacting to attacks fits prevailing outdated expectations of warfare.

Stick & Rudder #1. A Basic US Strategy Toward Iran: Deterrence, Defense, Persuasion & Coercion

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Middle East & North Africa, Strategy
  • No Comments

In August 2019 (Note #11), while waiting to see if Iran’s shootdown of a US drone would prompt a counterstrike, I noted the apparently contradictory US policies.

Paper #17. Comparative Threats and Integrated Effects in East Asia: the Koreas

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Using complex warfare concepts from Papers #13 (East Asia), #14 (China) and #16 (Japan), we apply and compare that holistic approach to Korean security strategies. 

Paper #16. Comparative Threats and Integrated Effects: Japan

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Using complex warfare concepts from Papers #13 (East Asia) and #14 (China), we apply that approach to Japanese security strategy, with comparisons to China and Russia.

Paper #15. Countering Cyber Attacks on Infrastructure

  • Will Miller, Major, US Army
  • Americas, Asia-Pacific, Commercial, Cyber, Eurasia, Leadership, Middle East & North Africa, Strategy
  • No Comments

State-sponsored cyber attacks against critical infrastructure are increasingly pervasive. Their global presence and effective methods are asymmetric, coercive, and debilitating. 

Paper #14. Comparative Threats and Integrated Effects: China

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

This paper uses concepts of complex warfare established in ICSL Paper #13 to analyze the world view, threat assessment, and combined effects strategy of China.

Paper #13. Comparative Threats and Integrated Effects: Concepts for Complex Warfare in East Asia

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Complex warfare is a high stakes competition in learning and we are being out-thought.

Paper #12. Time to Recreate Effective Competitive Advantage: Strategy, Technology and Information

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

In 1983, Project Socrates began as a Reagan initiative to develop technology-driven competitive advantage. Then it ended.

Paper #11. China’s All-Effects All-Domain Strategy in an All-Encompassing Information Environment

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Strategy
  • No Comments

The essence of Chinese strategy consists of waging complex wars that exploit opponents’ expectations of warfare. The operational design creates preventative and causative effects that blend confrontation with cooperation, imposing dilemmas on opponents. Such asymmetric effects win wars via information that changes opponents’ behavior.

Note #12. We Need More than Kinetic Effects: Globally Integrated Operations in the Information Environment

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

We are well into complex, hybrid, grey zone warfare that dynamically blends confrontation with competition. Victory in the form of relative advantages tends to be temporary, requiring a systematic yet supple all-domains all-effects approach. We have to be able to produce all of types of effects and in superior combinations to compete against other relatively-great powers.

Paper #10. Countering Russian Cyber and InfoWar

  • Will Miller, Major, US Army
  • Commercial, Cyber, Eurasia, Strategy
  • No Comments

We must also seek solutions that limit the effects of disinformation. This effort starts with leaders recognizing and publishing Russian exploits as they are discovered. Overt exposure of Russian methodology goes a long way in limiting the effectiveness of false narratives. Investigations should identify who is targeted in hacks, why they were chosen as targets, what information has been stolen, and the extent of related penetration.

Paper # 9. The Primacy of Information Intelligence: Operational-to-Strategic Advantage

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Cyber, Strategy
  • No Comments

The question of what and whom to trust applies to all situations because uncertainty is pervasive. In the information environment (IE), the overriding context of trust is that it’s contested. Actors fight for the kind of information and people they need to compete and prevail. Four types of competition become apparent when we consider four contested purposes of strategic and anticipatory analysis:

Paper #8. How to Integrate National Defense & Security Strategies: A Detailed Analysis

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Americas, Commercial, Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

As a detailed follow-on to The US National Security Strategy Needs Combined Effects, this paper integrates combined effects with the US National Defense Strategy (NDS), too.

Note # 11. Strategy Doesn’t End with a Limited Strike

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Middle East & North Africa, Strategy
  • No Comments

The Trump administration’s apparently contradictory actions this week toward Iran are not contradictory if we look at cooperation and confrontation as a strategy of combined effects.

Paper # 7. Intelligence Analytic Insufficiency: Fixing the Cognitive Problem

  • Michael D. Phillips, Col USAF ret.
  • Americas, Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

In response to chronic shortcomings, the President, Congress, and senior leaders of our intelligence agencies and service components demand original, prescient and accurate analyses.

Paper #6. Advanced Analysis is a Mindset

  • Jeffrey S. Johnson, Col USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Since 9/11 intelligence analysis and its shortcomings have been widely discussed. What has been done?

Note #10. Information-Related Capabilities & Information-Related Effects

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Information-Related Capabilities abound in doctrine-approved professional communities of practice. All the while, historically-derived doctrine lags reality.

Note # 8. Mirror Imaging Iran and the World

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Middle East & North Africa, Strategy
  • No Comments

We tend to mirror image our competitors by using clock-world analogies that apply less and less to today’s cloud-world. 

Paper #5. The Power of Last Resort: An Iran Strategy

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Middle East & North Africa, Strategy
  • No Comments

How should the US compete under the restraint of using armed force as a last resort against Iran, a pseudo-democratic theocracy that wages complex warfare in ways the US eschews?

Note # 7. Iran’s Shoot-down and a Strategic US Response

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Middle East & North Africa, Strategy
  • No Comments

The Iranian regime’s shoot-down of an unmanned, non-stealth, hyper-expensive US reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace today was a highly anticipate-able event.

Note #6. A Response to Paper #4: Situational Awareness, Leadership and Strategy

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

The first plenary of the US National Defense University’s Asia Policy Assembly today noted the tendency of US grand strategy to react to threats.

Note #5. Mastering the Spectra of Competition

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Commercial, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

Previous notes introduced combined effects strategy for complex warfare. We can understand this form of warfare as a competition that blends cooperation and confrontation.

Note #4. Planning to Win

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Winning is not a static end-state. It’s a continuous process of gaining and maintaining advantage through combinations of effects.

Paper #3. Defeating Authoritarian Warfare: The Case of Russia

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Eurasia, Leadership, Security, Strategy
  • No Comments

While teaching sense-making in the information environment, I began to apply previous work on complex warfare strategy in East Asia to other regions. Russia is a critical case — a declining nuclear power using combinations of effects to regain a perceived loss of prestige.

Note #3. North Korean Missile Firings-Time for Smart Pressure

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Asia-Pacific, Strategy
  • No Comments

Pyongyang’s firing off of two more short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan, and the seizure of the Wise Honest vessel, beg a strategic question.

Paper #2. The US National Security Strategy Needs Combined Effects

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Americas, Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Strategic leaders blend theoretical and applied thinking to realize goals.

Note #2. Strategy Leadership: Rearranging Ends, Ways and Means

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Operations are difficult and dangerous, but too easy. It’s too easy to get distracted from thinking about how to lead strategic operations. Let’s focus on two fundamentals of strategy.

Note #1. Theoretical Thinking is Applied Critical Thinking

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D., Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Leadership, Strategy
  • No Comments

Winning complex competition and warfare requires both theoretical and applied thinking.

Paper #1. Tactics of Strategy and Strategy of Tactics: Winning and Losing in Complex Competition and Warfare

  • Thomas A. Drohan, Brig Gen USAF ret.
  • Strategy
  • No Comments

Smart competitors are using tactics of strategy to achieve broader-than-military objectives, while US policies produce strategies of tactics that deploy forces for ambiguous purposes.