Archive, December 24, 2017, the art of manipulation in Russia
To understand the importance attributed to SOCMINT from the Russian establishment you need to take a step back to 2013. In February of that year, it was published, in the Russian journal Military-Industrial Kurier, an interview with Army General Valery Gerasimov who described his vision of modern warfare ; the concepts outlined were not new : hybrid warfare, asymmetrical warfare, non-linear warfare are notions well known also, and above all in the Russian sphere, and however as expressed by Gerasimov it had considerable prominence, so much that the expression ‘ doctrine Gerasimov ‘ was conied.
In addition to the authoritativeness, in strategic and political terms, of the personality, the interest of the various communities focused on the quantitative and qualitative breakdown of non-military actions (ibride, nonlinear) dictated by doctrine. Quantitatively Gerasimov indicates a factor of 4: 1 while, qualitatively and consequently, non-linear actions must go to permeate the entire conflicting escalation / de-escalation path, having to always assume and in any case a proactive anticipatory function, ‘predictive’ will define Gerasimov later, with respect to both military operations and the progression of non-linear operations.
In this context, observing the Gerasimov-thought’s infographic synthesis, you note that in the transition from traditional to new conflict management methodologies you highlight three basic operations : bring the conflict simultaneously in the context of the information space, the use of indirect operations, and the recommendation of an intelligence unified C2 (command and control) for all of the resources available. It is evident that in the general framework of an approach to the conflict so defined SOCMINT it must be retained as an indispensable weapon.
Evidence of this if you go to watch, for every stage of the conflict, non-military support measures : all must / can be the subject in a diverse manner of research, influence / manipulation and defence of the reputation of the players in play.
Practical tactical examples of a military nature can be found in Israeli and English : in the first case since 2011 (so a bit before Gerasimov pontificates) the Spokesman’s office of the Israel Defence Service has initiated a section dedicated to the activity on social networks and, consequently, all Sayeret Golani and Matkal units now have, if necessary for specific activity, an operational with SOCMINT functions ; in the second case in 2015 the English army has inaugurated the 77 ° Brigade with the same purposes. The nature of the examples is not only defensive or influence and counter-influence of public opinion, compared to the reputation of the actors in question, but they also have a tactical offensive function aimed at the successful of the field operation.
From the strategic point of view, returning to Russia, President Putin has always regarded as one of the main foreign policy priorities the creation of an alternative media ecosystem to the Anglo-Saxon information monopoly. Application and methodological examples of the success of the intent do not fail to start, in the short term, from the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, during the Ukrainian crisis, and ending with the advertising space sold by Facebook during the American elections.
In such context SOCMINT is indicated in the informative reporting, and its different meanings as an integral part of the strategy : interest is now figuring out how a component of a military doctrine can be usefully adapted to the civil and private sector to maximize the competitiveness of the individual actor in social and / or economic conflicting areas.
This post was originally published on December 24, 2017, in Italian version on www.thescanner.info .This is adaptation of a neuronal Italian/English AI translation by IBM Watson.