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John Lenczowski and David Glancy discuss U.S. security against disinformation

The Institute of World Politics’ founder and president Dr. John Lenczowski and IWP professor Dr. David Glancy were featured in an article entitled “The Price of Naïveté” by Gopal Ratnam published in CQ Magazine on June 24, 2019.

A model from the Cold War

In the article, Mr. Ratnam discusses how disinformation campaigns should be countered by strategies employed during the Cold War to protect U.S. security. In particular, he cites the U.S. Actives Measures Working Group as what should be the model of defense against Russian and other disinformation threats. This group was a “multi-agency effort led by the State Department” that worked to discover and expose Soviet disinformation and eventually helped lead to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Countering disinformation

Dr. Lenczowski, who was a key member of the Active Measures Working Group while he served as President Reagan’s principal advisor on Soviet affairs, discussed the need to revive the strategies utilized in the Cold War era to counter disinformation from Russia, China, Iran, and others. Furthermore, he suggested that, with the rise of social media as a tool for disinformation, new groups should involve a partnership of both government agencies and technology companies.

In the article, Dr. Lenczowski says, “How else do you fight against propaganda, disinformation, and active measures? You have to collect intelligence and expose it because a lot of this happens in the darkness and that’s how criminals like to operate.”

Dr. Lenczowski then critiques the downgrading of key tools of national strategy since the collapse of the Soviet Union, emphasizing the ongoing need for information strategy in order to face foreign threats.

A multi-agency effort

Dr. Glancy, who has experience working with the State Department and Defense Department, also shared his expertise, providing the insight that there exists a gray zone in between war and peace of which the U.S. is just now becoming aware, following the actions by Russia in 2016. He suggests that perhaps the formation of an independent multi-agency entity with the goal of combatting disinformation should be undertaken to ensure future security for the United States.

“The Price of Naïveté” can be found in CQ Magazine. Mr. Ratnam is a senior staff writer for CQ Roll Call covering the intersection of advanced technology, cybersecurity, policy, and legislation.

At IWP, Dr. Lenczowski teaches International Relations, Statecraft and Integrated Strategy and Russian Politics and Foreign Policy. Dr. Glancy teaches several courses, including on Economic Statecraft, Political Risk Analysis, Foreign Propaganda, Political Warfare, and Public Diplomacy.

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