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Social Media and the Spectrum of Modern Conflict

Co-hosted by the School of Media, Film and Journalism and the Faculty of Arts, Monash University, and the Strategic Plans Branch of the Australian Army

For those serving in the military it is an axiom that the character of war is constantly changing. The increasing use of social media in conflict, particularly by organisations such as Daesh, offers compelling evidence of this. The Australian Army recognises that if it is to counter the use of social media by adversaries or incorporate it into its own way of war it must learn more about it.

This symposium will enable Army to learn more about and better respond to the challenge of military operations in the social media space. Academics working in the social media space can explore how theories about new media play out at the sharp end of radicalisation and conflict, trace the practical applications of their work and explore new opportunities for collaboration and applied research.

  1. Social Media and Clausewitz: Incorporating new technologies into an old ideology - Colonel Mick Mumford

    Colonel Michael ‘Mick’ Mumford, CSC, is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College. In nearly 30 years of service he has commanded infantry soldiers at every level and his operational deployments include border protection in the Torres Strait, peace monitoring in Bougainville, election support in PNG, peacekeeping in Timor Leste, and active service in East Timor and Afghanistan. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the US Marine Corps’ Command and Staff College and School of Advanced Warfighting and he holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Military Studies, Master of Operational Studies, and Master of Divinity.

  2. Social Media as a Weapon - Levi J. West

    Levi West is the Director of Terrorism Studies at the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at Charles Sturt University, and is completing his PhD at the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies at the Australian National University on the impact of technology on insurgency. Levi has lectured at the National Security College at the ANU; as part of ANU Military Studies program at the Australian Command and Staff College at the Australian Defence College; at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation in Indonesia; and at the Indian National Police Academy. Levi has undertaken research, lectured, and consulted to law enforcement, intelligence and military audiences in the Middle East, South and South-East Asia, and North America.

  3. Soldier Morale: Defending a core element of military capability - Captain Sean Childs

    Captain Sean Childs is a member of the Australian Army Public Relations Service and a Public Affairs Officer currently posted to Headquarters Joint Operations Command as the Middle East Region Public Affairs desk officer. He has previously served with Headquarters 4th Brigade, the 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit and on two deployments to Afghanistan. Prior to joining the Australian Defence Force in 2010, Captain Childs was a video journalist and senior producer based in London covering global security conflicts for US-based The Associated Press Television News, a policy adviser for Free TV Australia and an Account Director with the media intelligence corporate the iSentia Group.

  4. Enemy on the Wire: Who's Patrolling the Online Battlespace - Bruce McFarlane

    Bruce McFarlane has 18 years of operational law enforcement experience. During this time he has worked in a variety of investigative, computer forensic and physical/online security intelligence roles within Australia, United Kingdom and the Middle East. Bruce has a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and is currently completing his PhD with Monash University focusing on how violent extremists interact and exploit the online environment to facilitate terrorist related activity.

  5. Responding to the narrative challenge - Lieutenant Colonel Jason Logue

    Lieutenant Colonel Jason Logue, AM, is a currently serving AAPRS officer and a 2009 graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College. He has also completed a Masters of Arts (Organisational Communication) from Charles Sturt University. He was commissioned in 2001 after several years serving as an infantry soldier in the Royal Queensland and Royal Australian Regiments. He has served as an embedded Australian Information Operations planner in Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently the lead Information Operations planner at Headquarters Joint Operations Command. He has a strong interest in the information environment, particularly its relevance to military operations, and has published several papers and articles on the topic.

  6. A Fragmented Audience: How to remain on target - Dr Andy Ruddock

    Andy Ruddock is a Senior Lecturer in Communication Studies and Media at Monash University. He is the author of 3 books and approximately 40 book chapters and journal articles, all broadly focused on how media affect audiences. Many of these published works concern the political impact of violence and conflict. Andy’s current book project, Exploring Media Research, considers how social media affects popular mourning; a topic explained in relation to the cultural history of the Great War.
    For this seminar, Andy will discuss the role of conflict in studies of media influence, and how this research informs the questions that we ask about military blogging.