Soft Power Projection in Cyberspace

By Kevin Coleman -- Defense Tech Cyberwarfare Correspondent

The use of Soft Power Projection (SPP) is growing by leaps and bounds and cyber activities are becoming a popular mechanism for projecting such power. That being said, many are still unfamiliar with this concept and thus unaware of how cyber activities play into this concept. The United States has a well documented history of success when it comes to hard power projection. So soft power projection, specifically via mechanisms that are cyber based, is much more difficult to measure our successes in.

Soft Power Projection is defined as the ability to influence or obtain a desired position of others through facilitation, enticement, allure and attraction. The antonym is obviously Hard Power Projection (HPP).  HPP is a term commonly used in military that refers to the application of common military assets such as aircraft, tanks, troops and naval vessels etcetera.

Arguably, the most common form of government based SPP is through its policies and public diplomacy and that obviously includes the use of the United Nations. Less obvious is the use of email, text messages and web sites, specifically blogs and social networking sites with content designed to reinforce or influences others toward a specific position. The ability to obscure the true identity of those behind the messaging is a highly leverageable asset, especially on the international stage. Organizations that have the soft power mindset and capabilities have grown in number with a success rate that shows they are up to the challenge of going against larger, well established and better financed opponents. This is an area of great interest to many. Inside sources say it is a new course of study for political science majors and the intelligence community has recognized the limitations of hard power and the value and benefits of cyber soft power projection.

 

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