Influencing Tomorrow: A Study of Emerging Influence Techniques and their Relevance to United States Information Operations [open pdf - 553KB]
"The rapidly changing information environment and media landscape presents both challenges and opportunities for United States Information Operations professionals. This thesis utilizes qualitative cross-regional comparative case studies of three actors conducting influence operations during the timeframe of 2001 to 2015. The first influencer, Al Qaeda, offers insights into an international network that has preserved a holistic identity, while simultaneously franchising globally. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is the second study and an outstanding example of a regional non-state actor who rapidly claimed market share and crafted a compelling narrative that powerfully resonated with a heavily message saturated audience. The final case study, the Russian Federation, is an example of a regionally dominant state actor integrating information operations and offensive military operations among a culturally similar, adversary populace. The techniques employed, and the corresponding results, offer excellent insights into the influences practices that resonate with target audiences, and by extrapolation, those techniques that may offer the greatest future potential to the United States Department of Defense."
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