Future Operating Environment

Link | Strategic Army: Developing Trust in the Shifting Landscape

By Emily Bienvenue and Zachary Rogers January 14, 2020

"Emerging from technological change is a strategic war against trust—trust in the open rules-based system and the sociopolitical systems of its key players. Authoritarian states such as China and Russia, for whom a level of revision of the existing order is a key strategic interest, are contending to rewrite, disrupt, or block the preferred narratives of the Western liberal democracies such as Australia’s by sowing seeds of distrust within and without of their hyper-connected societies."

This article, first published in the Joint Force Quarterly, examines the changing operational environment and argues that trust, characterised by its relational nature, is the connective tissue that provides legitimacy and authority to the promise and functionality of openness and rule-making. It's an excellent insight into how the global norms we have grown up with are now under pressure and how trust - in society, in the information we consume, in our political leaders - is under pressure in Western liberal democracies.

This undeclared war is taking place in the 'cognitive battlespace' where the lines demarcating civil and military spaces and conditions of peace and war are being blurred and reconstituted. The authors contend that building individual and organisational trust can provide the 'cognitive shield' in this changing operating environment. Well worth a read.



Emily Bienvenue and Zachary Rogers

Emily Bienvenue is a Senior Analyst in the Joint Operations and Analysis Division at the Defence Science and Technology Group Edinburgh. Zachary Rogers is a Research Lead in the Jeff Bleich Centre for the U.S. Alliance in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance at Flinders University.

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