The Formation of In-Formation by the US Military
Articulation and Enactment of Infomanic Threat Imaginaries on the Immaterial Battlefield of Perception
Author(s): Elgin Brunner, Myriam Dunn Cavelty
In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs
Publication Year: 2009
This article explores the role of perception management as a doctrinal concept in the construction and deconstruction of threats. Threat construction involves a continual, reciprocal and constitutive relationship between the attribution of meaning and practice. It takes place in an environment changed by the multiple forces of the so-called information revolution, in which discursive links are forged between technology and victory as well as between scientific progress and military superiority. Through articulation and enactment, information and information technology are represented as both threatening and threatened in three dimensions: dependency on information as data, possible loss of information superiority, and loss of control over information as image. The enemy Other in these threat constructions is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and is seen as being greatly empowered by the same tools that empower the United States military establishment. But while, for many military actors, regaining control in the information domain through technological innovation seems more or less straightforward, the immaterial battlefield of perception proves harder to master. We purport that military strategists do not seem to fully grasp the illusionary nature of the belief that the information space is a thing to be shaped at will and without restrictions.