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Defending Democracy: Civil and Military Responses to Weaponized Information

Open to the Public, Registration Required
David Ignatius, The Washington Post; General Michael Hayden (ret.), United States Air Force, and expert panelists from military, computer science, legal, policy and social sciences.

This event is co-hosted by Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Princeton Veterans Alumni Association. It is the Fourth Annual Veteran’s Summit, previously hosted by Yale University and the U.S. Military Academy. This forum is made possible with the generous support of the G.S. Beckwith Gilbert Class of 1963 Lecture Series.

The United States must rethink defense in light of recent revelations that adversaries have been using social media and disinformation in an attempt to influence our politics, sow division within our society, and affect battlefields in Europe and the Middle East.

While propaganda is hardly a new tactic of war, current technology has made it easier, faster, and more effective. In an attempt to understand the long-term effects of this strategy and identify possible means of combatting this new threat, we will examine three types of defense strategies — civil, active, and deterrence — that the United States can deploy.

Our aim is to bring together experts from different disciplines to ensure a robust analysis and discussion. Panelists will represent military, computer science, legal, policy, and social science expertise.

In the first two panels, we will define the problem: What is the weaponization of information and why is this a threat to the United States? In the third panel we will consider defense: How can we defend America’s democracy from attacks rendered through disinformation, propaganda, and other digital information interference? And in the final panel, we will focus on deterrence: What measures can the United States take to deter our adversaries from spreading propaganda in the hopes of sowing unrest?