Information operations, a key component of Russia’s contemporary way of war, encompasses all the uses of information and disinformation, by states or nonstate actors, as a tool of state power and includes military information support operations, cyberspace operations, electronic warfare, military deception, psychological operations, public affairs, and strategic communications. Historically, Russia has recognized the importance of information as a strategic tool and has a long-standing tradition of engaging in information warfare. In Russian military doctrine, information operations are referred to as "information warfare" or "information-psychological operations.” The Russian perspective emphasizes the use of information to shape public opinion, influence decision-making processes, and achieve specific political and military objectives.
Students study practical applications of Russian information operations encompass a broad range of activities, including propaganda, psychological warfare, disinformation campaigns, and cyber operations. The emphasis is often placed on the use of information to exploit societal vulnerabilities, manipulate narratives, and create confusion and distrust among target audiences. The objective is to achieve desired outcomes by controlling or influencing the information space, both domestically and internationally. The Russian perspective on Informatsionnaya Voyna emphasizes the importance of information dominance and the ability to shape narratives in support of political and military objectives. It is viewed as a vital tool in asymmetrical warfare, where non-military means, such as information and psychological operations, can be employed to achieve strategic goals. We cover several areas of Russian cognitive warfare as students learn about their adversaries strategically, operationally, tactically, and technically.