This paper by Robin Burda (Masaryk University) examines the experiences of Czechia and Ukraine in dealing with Cognitive Warfare (CW) and the implications for the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). It highlights the challenges faced by liberal democracies, which have their “hands tied” against CW threats. Cooperation and support of proven policies against CW are crucial for the EU and NATO to remain strong. The paper emphasises the importance of each nation addressing CW within their own societies while encouraging the EU and NATO to enforce necessary defensive measures. A balance between improving democracy and regulating malign influences in media and society is essential.
The paper suggests involving actors across all societal groups to minimise CW’s negative impact, while acknowledging that CW will persist as an indivisible part of society. To protect liberal democracy values and maintain their identity, the EU and NATO must adopt best practices from countries like Finland and consider implementing a transparent framework for balancing active defense and freedom of speech in the face of CW challenges.
The military application of information has a long history in influencing the outcome of war and conflict on the battlefield. Be it by deceiving the opponent, maintaining troop confidence, or shaping public opinion. These tactics are placed under the banner of influencing human behaviour. Behavioural influencing is the act of meaningfully trying to affect the behaviour of an individual by targeting people’s knowledge, beliefs and emotions. Within the Dutch armed forces these tactics fall under title of Information Manoeuvre. With the ever-larger and more evasive employment of information-based capabilities to target human cognition, the boundaries of the physical and cognitive battlefield have begun to fade.
For this paper series scholars, experts and policymakers submitted their papers on the employment of information-related capabilities to influence human behaviour in the military context. From the perspective of an individual European or NATO country’s perspective.
The Information-based behavioural influencing and Western practice paper series is edited by Arthur Laudrain, Laura Jasper and Michel Rademaker.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this paper are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy or opinion of HCSS.