What General Petraeus Said a Year Ago About "Operation Earnest Voice"


The Guardian had an astonishing piece yesterday about US military efforts to build the capability to engage in social media using fake identities.

Everyone's reblogging the Guardian piece, but I thought I would find and post an excerpt from the 2010 Congressional hearing with General David Petraeus that the article references.

That's it, above. A relevant bit about three minutes long.

And here's a written version from the US Central Command of the statement Gen. Petraeus delivered in the video.

Information Operations

In the past year, CENTCOM has pursued several initiatives to improve our capabilities in the information domain, and we have coordinated these actions closely with the State Department’s Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale.

This past year, we made significant headway in improving our ability to counter adversary information operations – including establishing a full-fledged Joint Information Operations (IO) Task Force in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go, and we desperately need to build the capabilities of a regional IO Task Force to complement the operations of the Task Force that has done such impressive work in Iraq and the one that is now beginning to do the same in Afghanistan.

In the broader CENTCOM AOR, Operation Earnest Voice (OEV) is the critical program of record that resources our efforts to synchronize our Information Operations activities, to counter extremist ideology and propaganda, and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard. OEV provides CENTCOM with direct communication capabilities to reach regional audiences through traditional media as well as via websites and regional public affairs blogging. In each of these efforts, we follow the admonition we practiced in Iraq, that of trying to be “first with the truth.” Full and enduring funding of OEV and other DoD information operations efforts will, in coordination with State Department initiatives, enable us to do just that and, in so doing, to communicate critical messages and to counter the propaganda of our adversaries.

Activities in Cyberspace

Cyberspace has become an extension of the battlefield and we cannot allow it to be uncontested enemy territory. Indeed, in the years ahead, extremist activities in cyberspace will undoubtedly pose increasing threats to our military and our Nation as a whole. DOD and other elements of our government are, of course, working to come to grips with this emerging threat. Clearly, this is an area in which we need to develop additional policies, build capabilities, and ensure adequate resources. I suspect, in fact, that legislation will be required over time, as well.

Within DOD, the establishment of the US Cyber Command proposed by Secretary Gates represents an essential step in the right direction. This initiative is very important because extremist elements are very active in cyberspace: they recruit there, they proselytize there, they coordinate attacks there, and they share tactics and techniques there. We have to ask ourselves if this is something that we should allow to continue. And, if not, then we have to determine how to prevent or disrupt it without impinging on free speech.

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