IDA Ideas host Rhett Moeller spoke to Breeana G. Anderson and Kelso W. “Kelly” Horst Jr., researchers in the IDA Systems and Analyses Center, about their experiences as attendees on the first day of the Defense and Aerospace Test and Analysis Workshop (DATAWorks) 2022, held at IDA in Alexandria, Virginia, on April 26-28.
IDA Ideas host Rhett Moeller spoke to Ricky D. Lindsey Jr. and Steven A. Rabinowitz, researchers in the IDA Systems and Analyses Center, about their experiences as attendees on the second day of the Defense and Aerospace Test and Analysis Workshop (DATAWorks) 2022, held at IDA in Alexandria, Virginia, on April 26-28.
IDA Ideas host Rhett Moeller spoke to Nicole L. DeGregorio and Allison L. Goodman, researchers in the IDA Systems and Analyses Center, about their experiences as attendees on the first day of the Defense and Aerospace Test and Analysis Workshop (DATAWorks) 2022, held at IDA in Alexandria, Virginia, on April 26-28.
How Russian Disinformation Campaigns in Africa Are Manipulating Public Opinion and Eroding Western Influence
IDA Ideas host Rhett Moeller spoke to Miriam M. Roday and Sarah A. Daly, researchers in the IDA Systems and Analyses Center, about their opinion piece, “Information Operations: An Understudied Facet of Russian Influence in Africa,” published on the website Foreign Policy News. The coauthors discuss Russian disinformation campaigns being spread via mass media and social media in Africa. These campaigns criticize U.S. and French security assistance efforts and praise Russia’s ability to serve as a mediator and counter-terrorism partner, thereby undermining U.S. influence with allies and partners in Africa.
Orbital Debris Tracking: Improving Orbital Debris Environment Predictions Using Satellite Movement Data
IDA Ideas host Rhett Moeller speaks to Daniel Pechkis, Jason Sheldon, and Stephen Ouellette about how they and others at IDA recommended an approach to improve predictions about the orbital debris environment using satellite movement data. Many of the discussion topics arose during the IDA Forum on Orbital Debris Risks and Challenges, held on October 8–9, 2020, which was attended by IDA researchers and decision makers from the Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, Department of Commerce, NASA, Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Communications Commission.
Orbital Debris and Kinetic Anti-satellite Concerns: How a “Kessler Syndrome” Threatens U.S. Use of Space Assets
IDA Ideas host Rhett Moeller spoke to IDA President Norton Schwartz, Joel Williamsen of the IDA Systems and Analyses Center’s Operational Evaluation Division, and James Heagy of the IDA Systems and Analyses Center’s Science and Technology Division about the threat of orbital debris and kinetic anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons to the economic and military value of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), especially satellite constellations. Many of the comments in this podcast arose during the IDA Forum on Orbital Debris Risks and Challenges, held on October 8–9, 2020, and attended by IDA researchers and decision makers from the Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Air Force, Department of Commerce, NASA, Federal Aviation Administration, and Federal Communications Commission.
IDA has supported nearly 20 years of sponsored and independent research into the effects of orbital debris and ASAT weapons on satellite systems. This research has intensified in recent years due to the phenomenal growth in satellite constellations in LEO, and the DoD’s expected use of such constellations for national defense. Much of IDA’s work has centered on predicting the effect of orbital debris on spacecraft mission loss, both in the short term from collateral damage due to satellite collisions or ASAT tests and in the long term as the background orbital debris population continues to grow. This growth has led to what many researchers believe to be the beginning stages of a Kessler Syndrome, named after the original NASA researcher who predicted the onset of a self-sustaining debris growth environment as existing debris hits operating and nonoperating satellites, creating more debris. Such a debris environment increases the risk of losing reliable and safe access to affected regions of space.
IDA Ideas host Rhett Moeller spoke to researchers from the Science and Technology Division of IDA’s Systems and Analyses Center about their use of machine learning to create a prototype system for analyzing Twitter posts that U.S. adversaries made to influence public opinion in the years leading up to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Joining him are Shelley Cazares, who leads the ongoing project, and two members of her team, Emily Parrish and Jenny Holzer.
The project began in 2018 with about three million tweets from early 2012 through early 2018 that had been posted by the Russian-backed Internet Research Agency. The team set out to create a prototype system using open-source software tools that could have helped intelligence analysts during that time. Using a machine learning technique called Latent Dirichlet Allocation and open-source software called MALLET, the team found that the topics of the adversary’s tweets evolved over time into several tactical phases. Specifically, their English tweet topics grew tighter over time, more specific, more negative, and more polarizing, with their final pattern solidifying one full year before the 2016 election. With this system, this and other revealing information about U.S. adversaries’ social media operations could be reported to U.S. Government decision makers with as little as one month of lag time.
In this episode of IDA Ideas, host Rhett Moeller interviews researchers from IDA’s Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) about their research into China’s commercial space sector. STPI researchers Bhavya Lal, Irina Liu, Shirley Han, and Tom Colvin provide an overview of their work, their discussions with Chinese space experts, their thoughts on technological advancements in China, and their assessment of China’s strengths and weaknesses in the sector.