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EDA Symposium on Social Media in Security and Defence

On 16 and 17 July, the European Defence Agency (EDA) hosted a symposium to discuss the current and potential role for social media in security and defence.

Social Media is an increasingly pervasive part of global communication with increasing security and defence relevance.  However,  MoD staff and international organization are struggling to fully understand how social media can be used within the broad spectrum of security and defence activities.

The two day symposium hosted by EDA gathered experts Member States, industry, the European External Action Service (EEAS), and NATO, to discuss how analysing social media activities can help enhance situational awareness. This was based partially on the analysis of the results of an EDA study on social media for defence.

Enhancing situation awareness in operational circumstances

The symposium, as well as EDA’s other work on social media, contributed to the Multinational Capability Development Campaign (MCDC), of which EDA is a participating member. MCDC is designed to develop and introduce new capabilities to enhance multinational and coalition operations. One strand of MCDC is on how social media can be used as a form of open source intelligence to help enhance armed forces’ situation awareness in operational circumstances.   

The conclusion of the symposium was that social media has great potential to increase the effectiveness of OSINT, Command and Control and StratCom/ Information Ops. However work is needed to manage the risk associated with using social media platforms and to demonstrate how it can effectively enhance information capabilities.

Another outcome of the symposium was demand for the reinvigoration of open source intelligence training,  something that was previously advocated and delivered by EDA.