Current Events Highlight Need for Information Environment Training

Social media and other emerging information environment technologies are playing an increasingly essential role in our ability to anticipate, understand and respond to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, civil and political unrest, criminal activities, cyber events, national security incidents and military campaigns. These technologies provide an unprecedented level of situational awareness and open-source intelligence. For example, during the global Petya/NotPetya cyber-attack in June 2017, prolific geo-located social media posts provided a lens through which to observe the progression of the malware and its impact on affected organizations.

Department of Defense units and personnel must keep pace with real world advancements in technology, and quickly evolve their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) to maneuver effectively within the information environment battlespace. During Hurricane Harvey, for example, the overwhelming use of social media applications by individuals in desperate need of assistance compelled the US Coast Guard to adapt their social media TTPs mid-response.

Adversaries are also rapidly innovating creative new strategies that leverage the information environment to threaten our safety and security.

Teams must be trained and prepared to leverage the information environment in new ways that keep pace with methods employed by both the public and our adversaries. To train like we fight, exercising in this information environment is critical, and realism is key.