The Devil Is in the Data: Publicly Available Information and the Risks To Force Protection and Readiness

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Army Cyber Institute

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Modern War Institute

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The commercialization of personal data and the practices of commercial data brokers have enabled companies and our adversaries to accumulate vast amounts of knowledge on US persons, included service members. We argue that failing to fully understand how these data systems impact military operational effectiveness will set the United States at a strategic disadvantage. While the wholesale removal of risk is not possible, a careful examination of risk can shape policy, open pathways for technical mitigation strategies, and define best data hygiene practices. We propose that commanders conceptualize these risks as stemming from the information dimension and manifesting in the cognitive and physical dimensions to assess the risks they face in the modern operating environment more accurately.

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