As social media is leveraged for intelligence gathering, communications, recruiting, and propaganda, the importance and role of these platforms in international warfare is increasing as militaries race to harness emerging technologies and solve 'big data' information sets.
The emergence of cyberwarfare has changed the nature of conflicts, introducing additional layers of physical and virtual complexity to traditional battlegrounds. Capabilities enabled by servers, computer systems, software code, and high data packet transmission rates blur the line between the cyber and physical domains of conflict.
SOCMINT capabilities and integrating the unexpected
In response many militaries have rapidly formed mission groups and new SOCMINT capabilities to engage specifically with social media platforms. As the more rigid structure of traditional warfare breaks down in response to the advances of the information age, modern militaries are evolving doctrine and acquisition processes, refocusing training and research, and harnessing emerging technologies to adapt.
Hybrid, asymmetric, and non-linear tactics
Globally, defence and government organisations acknowledge that social media networks are used strategically by a range of groups.
The three important roles of social media in warfare
According to Peshin, the three important roles of social media in warfare are firstly, organising the movements of asymmetric threats by recruiting and co-ordinating; secondly, influencing global public opinion - through a high number of access points with wide distribution - by manipulating the narrative of social groups or global events as a sort of psychological warfare; and thirdly, providing anonymity.
Jane's, Aerospace, Defence & Security Expert
Posted on 12 Dec 2016