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#81 Cassandra Brooker on the Effectiveness of Influence Activities

The Cognitive Crucible

Release Date: 02/01/2022

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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, MAJ Cassandra Brooker presents her Master’s research report entitled: “The Effectiveness of Influence Activities in Information Warfare.” Cass asserts that Western democracies are already at war in the information domain and are being out-communicated by adversaries. In her study, she fuses three research disciplines: systems thinking, influence, and behavioural science to better understand mental models and enable a deeper understanding of influencing tactics. We discuss the notion of feedback loops, which are critical to understanding influence. Finally, Cass reviews two case studies–ISIS and the Hillary Clinton 2016 Presidential campaign.

Resources:

Link to full show notes and resources

https://information-professionals.org/episode/cognitive-crucible-episode-81

Guest Bio:

Major Cassandra Brooker is an Australian Intelligence Officer, who is currently posted to the Advanced Warfighting Evaluation Section developing future and emerging threat products in support of the Australian Army’s Aviation capability.

Major Brooker was born in New Zealand and served two years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force before immigrating to Australia. She graduated from the Royal Military College in 2002 and has held a diverse range of postings throughout her career, including: developing aviation intelligence, collection and targeting capabilities; specialisations in remote-sensing and geospatial intelligence; campaign planning to defeat ISIS at the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command in Baghdad; and as the ADF’s first bilateral student to study at the Military Science Academy in Hanoi. 

MAJ Brooker undertook a Masters of Research in 2019 at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra, on a Chief of Army’s Scholarship. Her thesis spanned three academic disciplines of: Systems Thinking, Influence Activities, and Cognitive Theory to investigate solutions for improving Australia’s influence effectiveness in information warfare. She also holds a Bachelor of Professional Studies (Peace Studies) from University of New England, a Master of Justice (Intelligence) from Queensland University of Technology, and a Graduate Diploma in Geographic Information Science from University of Queensland.

About: The Information Professionals Association (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, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.

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