For years, analysts in the defense and intelligence communities have warned lawmakers and the American public of the risks of a cyber Pearl Harbor—no one anticipated the most disruptive cyberattack would come from disinformation through social media platforms designed to bring the world together. In contrast to more traditional forms of cyberattack, information operations target the people of a society, influencing their beliefs as well as their behaviors, and diminishing trust in government and the credibility of the free press. This discussion will cover how social media can turn fake news into real news, and the future of a growing security threat.
Jarred Prier has over 15 years of experience in national security and military strategy. In 2015, he was selected as a fellow at Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. During that time, he also served as a Foreign Affair Officer with the United States Department of State in the Bureau of African Affairs. Following the fellowship, he earned a master’s degree from the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The article, Commanding the Trend, published in Strategic Studies Quarterly, evolved from his thesis. He also holds a Master of Science degree in international relations from Troy University, Alabama. Originally from Lee’s Summit, he is a 2003 graduate of the University of Missouri. Jarred and his wife, Sarah, currently live in Shreveport, Louisiana.