The history, why we are so bad at this, and current challenges given the domestic and geopolitical situation
Labels such as “psychological warfare,” and “information warfare,” or “hybrid warfare,” and “political warfare” have appeared in recent years to reflect attempts to understand and frame how an adversary attempts to shape the minds and will of people toward a political end. Matt Armstrong argues the US has long struggled conceptually, organizationally, and practically on how to approach these and related issues as he argued the United States continually fails to properly armed itself for the cold reality of the political warfare waged against its interests.
An absence of historical perspective and understanding suggests we will continue our missteps, if we take any steps at all. The US Information Agency, created in 1953, is often held out as a symbol of success that should be recreated in some form, but it actually represented a failure in that it replaced an agency that had a far broader portfolio, enjoyed greater authorities, and was already integrated into formulation and conduct of foreign policy, and it was not tasked with defending against foreign political warfare. What now?
Mr. Matthew Armstrong is currently pursuing a PhD at King’s College London on US responses to Russian political warfare in the early cold war. He was previously nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve (2013-2017) as a Governor on the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He previously served as the Executive Director of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. For nearly two decades, he has worked with the Defense Department, the State Department, Congress, NATO organizations, and ministries of NATO member countries on issues related to the US government’s international information activities. He’s testified several times before Congressional committee, including the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on “information warfare” and “gray zone” activities. He is an Honorary Member of the Psychological Operations Regiment at the US Army’s JFK Special Warfare Center and School. He was sanctioned by Russia in 2022.
He earned a B.A. in International Relations and a Master of Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California and studied European security at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He has lived in Europe since 2013, with the past seven years in Zürich. Matt is married with two kids, two cats (one British, one Lithuanian), and a rescued dog (Romanian).