You’ve heard of Twitter. But Army brigades are learning about Tweeter.

As the service incorporates social media into its training, Army leaders are exploring how to monitor and better use the social media platform in a modern conflict.

To that end, the National Training Center at Fort Irwin has established a mock internet during training rotations for brigades.

“We have our own kind of social media events here. We don’t have Twitter but we have ‘Tweeter,’” Brig. Gen. Jeff Broadwater, commander of Fort Irwin and the National Training Center, told C4ISRNET during a recent visit.

Broadwater said the center wants to make rotations the most difficult and realistic experience for brigades rotating through. Part of that means learning how to exploit technologies such as social media to create advantages, but also understanding how these vectors create vulnerabilities.

“A new soldier might pick up something on open source media,” he said. “Sometimes we forget just the little things that we have to protect ourselves and that makes it easy for the enemy to get our systems or information from us as well.”

In experimental constructs, information operations specialists embed with brigade combat teams to tell commanders about the information environment and how to exploit it. In some cases, these specialists will monitor social media feeds to see if adversaries are on certain networks or using the medium to coordinate attacks against friendly forces. U.S. forces might want to influence, deny or degrade the adversary’s ability to get that message out by executing a cyber or electronic countermeasure.

Or social media monitoring could be used to gauge host nation sentiments toward U.S. operations in country. If the brigade commander had a bad engagement, he’ll want to know and monitor the response to see if maybe he needs to deploy public affairs to counter the negative messages.

No word yet on the popularity of the #GoArmy on Tweeter.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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