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#2 Austin Branch, the US Army's First Information Operations officer

The Cognitive Crucible

Release Date: 09/01/2020

#190 Army Command and General Staff Information Advantage Scholars Symposium show art #190 Army Command and General Staff Information Advantage Scholars Symposium

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, we learn about the US Army’s Command and General Staff College Information Advantage Scholar Program. Two officers from the 2024 IA Scholar cohort–Army MAJs Vincent Michel and Josh Keller–present their research and also discuss their overall experience. Additionally, Cognitive...

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#189 Todd Wilcox on PAI, OSINT, and Regulations show art #189 Todd Wilcox on PAI, OSINT, and Regulations

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, Todd Wilcox discusses national security considerations related to publicly available information (PAI), open source intelligence (OSINT), and related regulations. Research Question: Todd Wilcox suggests a valuable topic for academic research would be the application of regulatory...

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#188 Joanna Siekiera on China show art #188 Joanna Siekiera on China

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, Dr. Joanna Siekiera discusses how China is integrating itself into global affairs from a lawfare perspective.  Research Question: Joanna Siekiera suggests an interested student ask: “Why”? Students should always start research from this question as it will help you...

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#187 Randy Rosin on Reflexive Control show art #187 Randy Rosin on Reflexive Control

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, Dr. Randy Rosin returns to the Cognitive Crucible to discuss the “trippy” topic of reflexive control. Soviet influence practitioners favor an indirect approach. Reflexive control is the process of conveying the basis of decision-making from one person to another. Research...

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#186 Rod Korba on Vygotsky’s Inner Speech show art #186 Rod Korba on Vygotsky’s Inner Speech

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, Vygotsky was a seminal figure in Soviet Psychology. His multi-staged—social learning theory of cognitive development—has influenced generations of cognitive psychologists. Our discussion today focuses on Vygotsky’s frequently overlooked and generally under-estimated concept of...

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#185 Becky Fair and Hannah Lincoln on Disrupt and Overwhelm Strategies show art #185 Becky Fair and Hannah Lincoln on Disrupt and Overwhelm Strategies

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. Our conversation covers Two-Six’s analysis methodology for creating their biannual Media Manipulation Monitor (M3) report which chronicles China’s efforts and presents strategies for achieving information advantage. Research Question: Becky and Hannah suggest an interested student examine how...

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#184 Curtis Fox on Hybrid Warfare show art #184 Curtis Fox on Hybrid Warfare

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, Curtis Fox discusses his new book: . Curtis Fox utilizes a series of case studies on historic Russian operations to demonstrate that while Russia’s methods appear to be cloaked in a shadow of mystique, their strategic realities make them consistent and predictable. Resources: ...

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#183 Julie Janson on Air Force IO Talent and Strategy show art #183 Julie Janson on Air Force IO Talent and Strategy

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, Julie Janson discusses the founding of the US Air Force’s Information Operations (IO) career field, professional military education, sending a message, and the need to keep pace with the ever-evolving information environment. Julie observes that IO and PSYOP practitioners are...

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#182 Ben Kessler on the OEO Model of Measurement show art #182 Ben Kessler on the OEO Model of Measurement

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, Ben Kessler discusses Meltwater’s methodology and models for Owned, Earned, Organic (OEO) measurement of activities within the information environment. Research Question: Ben Kessler suggests an interested student ask the question: Where is the diaspora of opinion and content...

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#181 Melissa Giannetto on Media Literacy show art #181 Melissa Giannetto on Media Literacy

The Cognitive Crucible

The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, US Marine Corps Major Melissa Giannetto discusses her Master’s thesis, which is an analysis on the media literacy efforts of Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Major Giannetto is currently an exchange student with the Norwegian Armed Forces. Resources: by Sander van der Linden ...

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In this episode, we discuss the evolution of information operations since the early 1990s, the state of our national strategic efforts to compete in the information environment, and strategic approaches related to cognitive security.

Click here for full show notes & resources

Mr. Austin Branch is an Information Operations pioneer, practitioner and leader. He holds the distinction of being the Army’s very first Information Operations officer when that career field was just forming, and while in uniform, he served at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. Since retirement from the Army, Mr. Branch served in several senior executive civilian roles within the Department of Defense which focused on information operations, cyber, and counter-terrorism. Most recently, he co-founded the Information Professionals Association or IPA.

IPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

Or, you can connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell on LinkedIn.

Disclosure: 1) As an Amazon Associate, IPA earns from qualifying purchases, 2) IPA gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.