Métis: Strategic Sense for a Wicked World

Abstract: The U.S. defense community regularly acknowledges changes in the character of modern warfare. These observations are often coupled with a variety of recommendations, such as creating more strategic thinkers and cultivating more agile service cultures. This article highlights the tangled interactions between these two challenges as well as a third: harnessing the power of storytelling. First, stories both reflect and influence an organization’s culture, and are therefore a useful tool for strategic thinkers. Second, when it comes to strategic thinking, the typical descriptions and illustrations used by defense professionals are incomplete and biased. Missing from this list of examples, for instance, is someone from the origins of Western civilization who personified the wisdom to convert “insight into a decisive asymmetry.” This ancient role model not only exemplifies the strategic sense necessary to prepare the joint force’s culture for modern operating environments, but is also closely linked to the third element of this trinity – storytelling.

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Connect to Divide: Social Media in 21st Century Warfare

In 21st Century warfare, social media fuels influence through “likes,” “shares,” and “tweets” driving narratives that blur the lines of politics, law, war, peace, elections, and freedom of speech and press, creating an information crisis. The current lack of an adequate United States (US) response to this crisis threatens its democratic institutions and national security. Bolstering this emerging threat are social media platforms rewarding users for engaging as fast thinkers without regard for bias or manipulation that is being exploited by hostile state and non-state actors to create narratives resulting in the decay of truth. Compounding this problem is social media’s ability to transition influence from institutions and governments to the individual. Though social media-enabled information warfare alone may not be decisive in current and future conflicts, nations must prepare to counter its effects across all instruments of national power: diplomatic, information, military, and economic.

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Human-led Machine Learning & Advanced Threats: Case Method Inquiry and Visual Analytics Applied to COVID-19

In a pervasive and complex information environment, analytics are vital to understanding advanced threats. As we rely more on machine-learnt results, asking the right questions and visualizing deep analysis are key to grasping and solving problems. These skills are also vital 21st century leadership tools that can forge a common focus among otherwise stove-piped specialists.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an urgent threat that requires both scientific understanding and decisive leadership. The cause of the disease is SARS CoV-2, a mutating virus that thrives in conditions difficult to control at scale. To counter this threat, this article demonstrates in detail the potential of human-led case method and machine-provided visual analytics.

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Artificial Intelligence in the Operational Information Environment: The Need for Proactive Doctrine

Joint operations doctrine omits the agency of artificial intelligence (AI) in the operational information environment, which is a problem. This commentary discusses why, and recommends effective changes. Key points are as follows. AI is becoming an autonomous cause of unanticipated effects. Humans are not the most effectively intelligent actors in all environments, yet our doctrine draws lessons from the past rather than anticipating emergent futures. Machines currently excel in experience-based learning and can discover relationships in data that we cannot discern. Humans can intuit, deceive, somewhat control, and manufacture and destroy machines. In time, AI will be able to perform those cognitive, informational and physical functions as well. As out-thought becomes out-fought, we need proactive doctrine now.

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The 6th Warfighting Domain

From the end of the 20th into the 21st century, the line between military operations and daily civilian activities began to blur as operations increasingly came to rely on the space and cyberspace domains. Thus, new possibilities for reaching nonmilitary personnel in warfare were created. In 1991, the Gulf War highlighted the effectiveness of precision navigation and strike, as enabled by space assets. Now, the space domain enables combined arms integration across land, sea, and air. Working in concert with space, the cyberspace domain exponentially increases global connectivity and global reach. The current battlespace is so globally connected that civilian populations are held at risk, and the lines between civilian and military activity are ceasing to exist. War is increasingly taking on a different form and shifting from physical to virtual as the way to achieve victory.

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IO EFFECTIVENESS

In the latest installment of our Human Domain series, Louis L. Cook examines Information Operations effectiveness in multi-domain operations through a focused look at the offensive and defensive uses of Operations Security (OPSEC).

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Fixing the US Response in the Information Environment

The US is vulnerable to the effects of the information environment, and must adapt by developing a comprehensive information strategy.

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Power Competition: The Dynamic Evolution of Public Affairs

In the midst of exponential technological advancement, military communicators must also evolve. To better leverage the power of information, the

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OTH Video: Beyond the Theory – A Framework for Multi-Domain Operations

In the future operating environment, to successfully deter and defeat our adversaries, we must better understand how the domains interact and their basic principles.

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OTH Video PRIMER 1: The Human Domain

OTH’s own, Major Julie Janson, provides a short primer on the Human Domain as the first entry in OTH’s newly developed primer series.

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***OTH Anniversary*** Multi-Domain Thinking and the Human Domain

Today’s editor’s pick was chosen by Julie Janson. In it, Tom Flounders makes a compelling argument that the Human Domain is the decisive domain.

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OTH Podcast 4: Exploring Cognitive Warfare

In OTH’s fourth podcast we examine the concept of cognitive warfare and what it means for the future security environment.

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The Indirect Approach and Human Influence

This is the first installment of our new Human Domain series. In it, Robert M. Schoenhaus discusses the importance of considering human influence when taking an indirect approach to operational planning and introduces the term “social intelligence.”

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Drop Zone: Human Domain Series

This year, Over the Horizon will present a series of articles related to the Human Domain to promote conversation about this critical, but often ignored, domain.

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