Defining the Cognitive Domain

Abstract: The ubiquity and automation of social networks now makes it possible for public discourse to be manipulated at machine speed. The Battle for Hearts and Minds in the next war could be won or lost without a shot being fired, before even the vanquished party recognises that their interests are threatened. However, there is little consensus among Western scholars or security officials particularly about location and characteristics of the battlefield. This gap in the literature precludes the development of policy, strategy, and capability to prevail on it. This article situates the battle in the hive minds of audiences — the collective perception of a situation held by a group, defined as the cognitive domain. Finally, the article asserts that the cognitive domain is both threatened and vital ground and therefore should be considered a warfighting domain in its own right.

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