Author Biography

Jeffrey Baptist is a United States Air Force information operations officer and a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Information Operations Integration Course. A 2013 alumnus of the United States Air Force Academy, he is an experienced practitioner of IO in multiple commands and environments and holds a master’s degree in sociology from Texas Tech. His research interests include online disinformation and manipulation with an emphasis on Russian efforts.

Julian Gluck is a United States Air Force bomber instructor pilot and also serves as National Chairman and Executive Director of the Company Grade Officers' Council. A 2012 distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, he is a member of the Program for Emerging Leaders at National Defense University and the Nuclear Scholars Initiative at CSIS's Project on Nuclear Issues. Gluck was named to the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 as a standout honoree for policy in North America.



Subject Area Keywords

Defense policy, Information operations, National power, National security, Russia, Social media


The information environment, once viewed as an unassailed common for human knowledge, has revealed itself to be a vector for malicious narratives in the ongoing battle for global hegemony. Since 2014, the United States has been under siege from information attacks on multiple fronts, from cyber infrastructure and goods to the cognitive outlooks of its citizenry. Disinformation as a social media tool represents a novel and grave danger to democracy; it serves as a means for sowing unrest and influencing policy changes while enabling conventional conflict or—in the best case for those who would exploit and manipulate narratives—avoiding it entirely. In this article, we identify the harbinger of a dire threat that circles outside, and now inside, the United States' walls by exploring the theoretical dynamics of foreign, state-sponsored disinformation in democracies throughout the West. We examine the mechanisms through which this approach operates and why it is Russia’s preferred course of action.


The views expressed in this piece are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force or any of its subordinate commands, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.