Subversive Influence: Vulnerabilities of the United States and Its Elections to Russian Interference Campaigns [open pdf - 1MB]
From the thesis Abstract: "The United States and its allies have been subjected to clandestine interference campaigns led by theRussian government for nearly a century. The targets and mechanisms of subversive Kremlin influence have varied over the decades, but themes such as seeking to tamper with electoral processes have seen refinement and renewed vigor in the 21st century. From the inception of the Soviet Union to the era of Vladimir Putin, this thesis investigates the targets and mechanisms of subversive Russian influence--with particular focus on election meddling--to identify the greatest U.S. vulnerabilities to such interference campaigns. We determined that the Kremlin possesses a wide variety of well-honed tools such as disinformation, cyberattacks, and forgeries that allow it to apply stress to democratic systems and exploit rival nations' internal divisions, and that it has had success in deploying such tools in a number of Western democratic elections since 2014. We find that significant damage to the credibility of elections and the U.S. government is a viable vulnerability for Russian interference campaigns, and that mounting defensive measures against and mitigation thereof must be a top priority for U.S. national and homeland security entities."
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: https://calhoun.nps.edu/