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“Identifying current and emerging trends in… information obtained from print, broadcast, online and social media, support for third-party outlets such as think tanks, political parties, and nongovernmental organizations… and the use of covert or clandestine special operators and agents to influence targeted populations and governments…”
— §1259C, b4
U.S. lawmakers are finally getting serious about disinformation from nation states as a national security concern. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, directs the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, working with the Defense Department and other agencies to “counter foreign propaganda and disinformation directed against United States national security interests and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests.”
Interesting use of elipses there. Here is the complete clause:
I am particularly fond of this one from 2017, also signed in by Obama.
(4) Identifying current and emerging trends in foreign propaganda and disinformation based on the information provided by the appropriate interagency entities with responsibility for such information, including information obtained from print, broadcast, online and social media, support for third-party outlets such as think tanks, political parties, and nongovernmental organizations, and the use of covert or clandestine special operators and agents to influence targeted populations and governments in order to coordinate and shape the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures to expose and refute foreign misinformation and disinformation and proactively promote fact-based narratives and policies to audiences outside the United States.
Public diplomacy programs are among the overseas programs funded through D&CP, which include the Global Engagement Center’s (GEC’s) countering state disinformation (CSD) program. According to the State Department, planned CSD activities, for which $20 million is requested, include “coordinating U.S. government efforts in specific sub-regions; enhancing the capacity of local actors to build resilience against disinformation, including thwarting attacks on their IT systems; providing attribution of adversarial disinformation; and convening anti-disinformation practitioners, journalists, and other influencers to exchange best practices, build networks, and generate support for U.S. efforts against disinformation.” The House committee report registers concern regarding “foreign propaganda and disinformation that threatens United States national security, especially as carried out by China, Russia, and extremists groups” and asserts that the GEC “is expected to use a wide range of technologies and techniques to counter these campaigns,” consistent with its statutory mandate. The Senate committee report recommends up to $75.4 million for the GEC, including up to $40 million for countering foreign state propaganda and disinformation.
American values like respect for human rights and the rule of law . The people of the world must know not only the policies, but also the principles for which the United States stands. Even as our public diplomacy budget calls for greater burden sharing of long standing programs , the $55.4 million requested for the Global Engagement Center covers both its original counter extremist mission , plus an increase of $20 million to counter state sponsored disinformation campaigns. We will not tolerate Russian interference in the 2018 elections , and we must take countermeasures in response to an effort to do so .