From phony news on Web sites to terrorist propaganda on social media to recruitment videos posted by extremists, conflict in the information domain is becoming a ubiquitous addition to traditional battlespaces. Given the pace of growth in social media and other networked communications, this bustling domain of words and images—once relegated to the sidelines of strategic planning—is poised to become ever more critical to national security and military success around the globe.
Understanding and operating in the information domain poses a number of novel challenges, however. Many tools are available today to reveal whether rockets and bombs hit their targets or otherwise achieved their tactical goals. But no such tools are available to rigorously assess the effects of the volleys of information that are traded through social media and other communications channels.
DARPA’s Quantitative Crisis Response (QCR) program aims to address those challenges. It is developing suites of largely automated digital tools that can help operational partners better understand how information is being used by adversaries and to quantitatively predict and assess—in real time and at scale—the effects of those campaigns and of countermeasures.
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