Story by JFC Naples J-3
TIRANA, Albania – Allied Joint Command Naples and the Albanian Ministry of Defense held a conference on information fusion in the age of disinformation on informing, understanding, and developing strategies the Western Balkans and Black Sea Region 15-16 May.
"We are constantly being influenced by the growing number of communication tools and methods that are having an impact it in the Western Balkans, said Albanian Deputy Defense Minister Petro Koçi. "In the Western Balkans, hybrid warfare is becoming a serious threat to the stability of our countries. Such dangers are constantly being fueled by the continued presence of Russian influence through some digital means and tools, like Sputnik and they are unfortunately receiving strong support from some of the countries in the region, particularly in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
Deputy Commander of NATO Joint Force Command Naples, Lieutenant General Christian Juneau said that future wars would have a far greater emphasis on information than physical effects.
"All actions and words create informational effects on the perception of the population, either intentionally or not," said Juneau. "These effects have become even more complex by today's global information environment, which levels the field of communication, empowers asymmetric opponents and complicates messages because of the interconnection of different audiences and ‘real-time’ media. It is likely that the upcoming war will be more informational than a physical one. Is NATO ready for it? Our potential opponents use information and misinformation as a key component of hybrid warfare.”
The high level of participation, including representatives from NATO HQ Public Diplomacy Division (PDD), Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), and European Union Coordination Element (EUCE), highlighted the timeliness and importance of the information presented and allowed all stakeholders to contribute to strategy development.
On the second day, the group focused on Western Balkans and Black Sea Region syndicate work to frame and understand the information environment (IE), understand adversary threats in the information space, and develop feasible frameworks for information action.