01:47 PM

DARPA Seeks To Learn From Social For Warfare

Agency aims to explore how the use of social media--particularly on mobile devices--can be used to help wage military campaigns.

14 Most Popular Government Mobile Apps
Slideshow: 14 Most Popular Government Mobile Apps
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Department of Defense (DOD) aims to develop new ways to use social media sites like YouTube and Facebook to help it better leverage the technology for military engagements.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking proposals for a "new science of social networks" through a program called Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC), according to a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) posted on the FedBizOpps.gov site.

The agency aims to use social media on "an emerging technology base," including but not limited to mobile devices, which DARPA said is a key driver for how social media can change the game for the military.

"The conditions under which our Armed Forces conduct operations are rapidly changing with the spread of blogs, social networking sites, and mediasharing technology (such as YouTube), and further accelerated by the proliferation of mobile technology," according to the BAA. "Changes to the nature of conflict resulting from the use of social media are likely to be as profound as those resulting from previous communications revolutions."

DARPA believes that by using social media effectively, the DOD can better understand the environment in which it operates and use information more nimbly to support its missions, according to the announcement.

For example, the agency said in one instance, the military was trying to find a certain individual and rumors of that person's location were circulating in the social media world. Because of the rumors, people communicating on social media sites were calling for the military to attack the rumored location.

However, by monitoring those rumors and sending out "effective messaging" to dispel them before they were verified, an unnecessary and unwarranted attack was averted, according to DARPA.

"This was one of the first incidents where a crisis was (1) formed (2) observed and understood in a timely fashion and (3) diffused by timely action, entirely within the social media space," according to the BAA.

There are several specific goals for the SMISC program, according to the BAA. The first is to detect, classify, measure, and track how ideas are formed, developed, and spread via social media, as well as how purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation are used.

DARPA also aims to develop recognition of persuasion campaign structures and influence operations across social media sites and communities, as well as to identify the participants and intent of these campaigns, as well as measure their effects.

Finally, the agency plans to detect influence operations of its adversaries and counter their messaging, according to the BAA.

The initial date for proposals for the program is Aug. 30, with final papers due to be submitted by Oct. 11. DARPA will hold an Industry Day about the program on Aug. 2.

What industry can teach government about IT innovation and efficiency. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Government: Federal agencies have to shift from annual IT security assessments to continuous monitoring of their risks. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Deb Donston-Miller
Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2011 | 3:36:17 AM
re: DARPA Seeks To Learn From Social For Warfare
"DARPA believes that by using social media effectively, the DOD can better understand the environment in which it operates and use information more nimbly to support its missions, according to the announcement."

I think the same can be said for any organization today when it comes to social media.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Five Emerging Security Threats - And What You Can Learn From Them
At Black Hat USA, researchers unveiled some nasty vulnerabilities. Is your organization ready?
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
According to industry estimates, about a million new IT security jobs will be created in the next two years but there aren't enough skilled professionals to fill them. On top of that, there isn't necessarily a clear path to a career in security. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts guests Carson Sweet, co-founder and CTO of CloudPassage, which published a shocking study of the security gap in top US undergrad computer science programs, and Rodney Petersen, head of NIST's new National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.