Defense Department Official Believes Troops Must Receive Training About Online “Misinformation”

In late January, Christopher Maier, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, declared that the threat from disinformation and misinformation is “serious” and could impact “all levels of armed forces.” 

Maier argues that “the growth of social media” explains this threat to the military, per a report by National Defense Magazine. While Maier conceded that disinformation campaigns are not a novel development and have occurred repeatedly in the past. However, he believes that the threat has amplified during the social media era and thinks that these platforms have given them some “super powers.”

While addressing a panel organized at the National Defense Industrial Association Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Symposium, Maier talked about “adversaries” who are, in his view, catching on to the fact that their disinformation campaigns work well when targeting the lower ranks of the military and security apparatus as opposed to their leaders.

In response to these perceived threats, the Defense Department has begun “educating” troops about the threats, as evidenced by the publication of a document titled, “Official Use of Social Media For Public Affairs Purposes. This document outlines instructions on how military personnel can report what is perceived as a fake or imposter account.

In addition, Didi Rankovic of Reclaim the Net noted that there exists another guide on how to spot “disinformation actors” that the Army Training and Readiness Command has put forward.

“An important piece of building awareness and resilience is training newly enlisted personnel, as the Defense Department can’t presume recruits have the required ‘level of awareness’,” Maier remarked.

More shockingly, Maier believes that this effort should go beyond military personnel and extend to their families “and other people in their lives.”

The military is an institution that clearly serves the agenda of the managerial state. For that reason, conservatives should stop blindly supporting it. There comes a point where the Right has to start using the “friend/enemy” distinction as standard operating procedure for all its political maneuvers. The military is clearly the enemy, thus any serious right-wing actor would do everything possible to defund the institution and vastly restrict its powers. 

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