Recently, you’ve probably heard a lot about Influence Activities or Influence Operations, usually in the context of Russia and the 2016 election. For many Americans, this topic may seem to have come out of nowhere. At SOFREP though, we’ve been talking about it for a long time. See here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Many news sources either dismiss the matter or clutch their pearls, depending on their partisan leanings. The fact is that foreign adversaries will use all elements of national power in order to pursue their objectives. Attacking the US directly is generally a poor choice. Instead they invest in non-kinetic approaches to achieving political ends.

For years now those of us involved in the profession of Influence have been writing about problems that hamstring our efforts. Occasionally RAND Corporation (Research ANd Development) or another think tank joins the chorus. More often than not American policy makers focus on the delivery platform (social media or cyber, for instance) rather than the Art and Science of the field.

Now the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins is directly asking the Intelligence Community to support and fund scientific research in Influence, arguing: