SCAME Analysis of Information Warfare
SUMMARY: Recognize disinformation and propaganda by determining the Source, message Content, Audience reached, Medium of dissemination, and the Effects on a Target Audience (TA). This 5 part analysis is known as the SCAME Technique.
America is the active battlespace of a hybrid information operation (IO) war fought in a grayzone. It's vital to know what data being fed to us is part of the attack or not. U.S. Psychological Operations specialists have conducted such operations on adversaries. The concept of sowing discord through PSYOP actions is common practice. The success of such attacks on the U.S. populace is not so common. Political, economic, racial, societal, and religious unrest in America are in part due to seeds planted by foreign actors. In almost all cases these are instance of Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) put into motion by "gray" or unknown actors. In some cases "black" activity is at play. Gray IO is unattributed while black IO is falsely attributed.
Consider the effects of laying out months of "black" online chatter about a high-profile assault on a Goverment building with the intent to paint a certain group as violent and traitorous.
Recognizing false news is an obvious purpose for conducting a SCAME report. We can more actively counter propaganda or at the very least, not fall prey to it, by completing our SCAME Analysis of the information battlespace.
SCAME: Source, Content, Audience, Media, and Effects.
The "Source" is the individual, organization, or government that sponsors and disseminates the propaganda. Source analysis should consider all of the various players involved in the design, development, and dissemination of the propaganda or information. Correct identification of the
various sources behind a particular item of propaganda can assist in providing a clearer picture of the opponent’s capabilities and intent. The source may also be classified as White, Gray, or Black.
"Content" analysis reveals what the propaganda message says and what is trying to be achieved regarding the TA. This analysis can also reveal the source’s intent, motives, and goals. Content analysis reveals the meaning of the message, the reason the message was disseminated, the intended purpose or objective, and the manner in which the message was presented to the TA.
In the "Audience" aspect of propaganda analysis, we attempt to determine which TAs are being reached by the propaganda and which TAs were specifically selected by the opponent. By viewing the TA via opponent propaganda, we may become more aware of themes and symbols that are more effective; these themes and symbols can later be used in the development of counter-propaganda. Audience analysis must be conducted in concert with content analysis, as content analysis will discover what behavior or attitude the opponent seeks in the TA. In LIC the typical intended behavior is civil unrest and distrust among authorities.
We have to determine what particular "Medium" was selected to deliver IO, what media capabilities the opponent has, and how consistent the message was across a variety of media. Propaganda can be disseminated via visual, audio, and audiovisual means. Propaganda transmission modes may also be overt or covert. Typically we'll see IO delivered directly to the TA via social media private messages, post engagements, message threads, etc.
Determining the IO's "Effectiveness" on the TA is vital to countering the messages. The ultimate measure of opponent propaganda effectiveness is the changes in behavior or attitude of the TAs involved. Both direct and indirect impact indicators are significant indicators of effectiveness. An effective IO influences a society over time and allows the real damage to be inflicted from within.
After completing a SCAME, you'll find yourself more skeptical of every message you see. Don't delve into conspiracy theories in response to this new analysis. Just be aware that hostile actors may be at work and not every message should be accepted at face value.
Learn more about the Grayzone in which enemies operate by subscribing to the Grayman Briefing.