Concerns in U.S. Policy for Addressing Propaganda and Disinformation

In a policy paper released by the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, Dr. Haroro J. Ingram argues that the propaganda and disinformation threats of state and non-state actors “threaten not only the stability and security of nations but democracy itself.” Titled Persuade or Perish: Addressing Gaps in the U.S. Posture to Confront Propaganda and Disinformation Threats, the paper assesses how equipped the United States is to handle these threats that have become “perhaps the most pressing national security social media and fake news. propaganda disinformation.and foreign policy issue of the time.”

According to Ingram, the threat of propaganda and disinformation is exacerbated in that the U.S. has historically been underprepared to fully deal with the problem. Citing the 2017 National Security Strategy of the United States of America as well as other scholars and journalists, Ingram describes how U.S. efforts have been incomplete while providing some historical policy context as background.

Ultimately, Ingram has four recommendations to tackle significant gaps in U.S. strategic policy. He argues that the United States’ ability to confront propaganda and disinformation threats can grow weaker if the following focuses are not addressed:

  1. The need to learn lessons from the institutions’ history
  2. The value of an overarching paradigm through which to understand a spectrum of threats
  3. The important role of overt attributed U.S government messaging
  4. Initiatives to strategically cohere interagency activities

More resources on Disinformation and Propaganda can be found at the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).

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