Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

The information environment has been changing right along with the broader security environment. Today, the information environment connects almost everyone, almost everywhere, almost instantaneously. The media environment has become global, and there’s no longer such thing as “the news cycle” —everything is 24/7. Barriers between US and global publics have virtual disappeared: Everything and anything can “go viral” instantly, and it’s no longer possible to say one thing to a US audience and another thing to a foreign audience and assume no one will ever set the statements side by side. The Pakistani military has a very clear idea of what the Secretary of Defense tells Congress about Pakistan, for instance—and Congress has an equally clear idea of how Pakistani leaders talk about the United States to their domestic constituencies.

Technological changes and lower costs have also democratized the media and information environment: Internet and cell phone access is increasingly ubiquitous, and individuals and organizations are ever more reliant on electronic communication. Today, news, commentary, and video can be produced and accessed equally by first world media producers, Washington decision-makers, Iowa housewives, Afghan shepherds, Chinese university students, Colombian insurgents, and Al Qaeda members.

As with the security environment more broadly, the rapidly changing information environment creates both new challenges and new opportunities for the US government. The author emphasizes that this is true across the executive branch. All USG agencies, from Defense to State to Treasury and beyond, are struggling to adapt anachronistic programs and policies.

Publication Citation

Rosa Ehrenreich Brooks, National Security in the Information Age, in ECONOMICS AND SECURITY: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN A RESOURCES CONSTRAINED WORLD (Newport, R.I.: Naval War College forthcoming)