Defence and Security in the Cyber Age; The New Contemporary Operating Environment

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Pierre JOLICOEUR, Royal Military College of Canada, Canada
Anthony SEABOYER, Center for Security, Armed Forces and Society, Canada
This paper addresses how Twitter exploitation by state and non-state actors affects the contemporary operating environment (COE). There are six general effects of cyberspace on the COE, which are enhanced by Twitter and other forms of social media. Virtual anonymity; Location irrelevance; Time insignificance; Space asymmetry; Weapon invisibility; Border insignificance. These factors demonstrate that the cyberspace brings an increased risk of attacks on critical infrastructure, effectively introducing new challenges to the COE. After an introduction to the relevant characteristics of Twitter, this paper details the exploitation of Twitter by the Israeli Defence Force and Hamas during the November 2012 conflict. This Twitter war, parallel to the war in theater, is an example of social media becoming a significant new operating environment for the defence sector, in particular concerning influence operations. This paper concludes that Twitter significantly changes the COE – particularly regarding availability of information and organizing capabilities. This report also argues that Twitter is a highly effective tool for influence operations, and that the defence sector will benefit from utilizing social media tools beyond traditional public relations activities.