NATO and Cognitive Warfare

(To Alessandro Rugolo)
26/12/22

We have already talked about before cognitive warfare and of the importance of what in some quarters is regarded as a new domain of warfare.

Today we delve into trying to understand what NATO is doing in this area.

Anyone involved in research within NATO is the "Science and Technology Organization" (S&T). 

S&T conducts wide-ranging study and research activities, organized in six Technical Panels and an Research team, in particular it concerns: Applied Vehicle Technology (AVT); Human Factors and Medicine (HFM); information systems technology (IST); NATO Modeling and Simulation Group (NMSG); System Analysis and Studies (SAS); Systems Concept and Integration (SCI); Sensors and Electronics Technology (SET).

In particular, the HFM panel is divided into two sub-areas of research

- Health, Medicine and Protection (HMP), with the aim of studying the scientific basis necessary to ensure the creation of healthy and operational Forces, the restoration to health, minimizing the impact of disease and injury, optimizing human protection, sustainability and survival ;

- Human Systems and Behavior (HSB), with the aim of studying the scientific bases and exploring new technologies to optimize the performance of individuals, teams and organizations and the interactions with socio-technological systems to achieve high levels of effectiveness. In this research area, among other things, research on the cognitive dimension is carried out.

S&T therefore conducts research aimed at improving knowledge in the field (or domain) of cognitive warfare, considered as a new battlefield that has to do with man's ability to know and judge, protecting him from external influences or influencing him in turn. The manipulation of knowledge and understanding used to achieve a strategic goal.

As already seen in other domains or environments, NATO's goal is to achieve the Cognitive superiority to do this it is necessary to carefully study the interactions between man, social groups and new technologies, both in the field of neuroscience and in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.

Ultimately the cognitive warfare tries to undermine trust in an organization by altering the perception of society in relation to some events.

Just one consideration: whether you are on the good side or the bad side, playing with knowledge and the ability to judge can be very dangerous

Man can be deceived but it is not easy to deceive him for long and it can happen that, realizing that he is the object of continuous deceptions, he loses trust in all organizations or institutions, without distinction of color or party, and this could undermine civil coexistence.

To learn more:

NATO Review - Countering cognitive warfare: awareness and resilience

NATO Review - Hybrid Warfare – New Threats, Complexity, and 'Trust' as the Antidote

Pages - Panel/Group Page (nato.int)

Mitigating and Responding to Cognitive Warfare | Innovation Hub (innovationhub-act.org)

Photo: NATO Innovation Hub