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Information Warfare Panel with the Information Professionals Association (IPA)
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When: Tuesday, May 5, 2020
1100 - 1200 CDT
Where: Virtual
United States

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Information underpins competition and conflict. Accurate information is vital for situational awareness, planning and assessment. It is also an area of conflict itself, where it is used for influence, persuasion, deception, distraction and coercion. To effectively compete in this great power competition, DOD must evolve to effectively prepare, train, operate and win in this increasingly hostile environment.

IPA and Alamo AFCEA have assembled a panel with decades of experience as thought leaders and pioneers in operations in the information environment. Together they will outline emerging challenges and offer well-considered, candid recommendations for evolving US efforts to more effectively and proactively compete in the information environment.

Dr. Paul Lieber photo
Dr. Paul Lieber
Mass Influence and Comms Author, IPA Chief Scientist, Former JSOU Faculty
Dr. Paul Lieber is an award-winning scholar and practitioner in global strategic communication and mass communication influence, with over five dozen scholarly publications and presentations on these topics. COLSA Corporation and the Information Professionals Association’s Chief Scientist, he’s served as the Command Writer for two USSOCOM Commanders, likewise Strategic Communication Advisor to the Commander of Special Operations Command-Australia. Within academic environs, Dr. Lieber was a full-time member of the Graduate faculty at Joint Special Operations University, Emerson College, University of South Carolina, and the University of Canberra, respectively. Within these roles, he taught across the entire strategic communication and influence curriculum, with a research emphasis on social media-based persuasion and methodological design.

Dr. Lieber holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication and Public Affairs and a Masters of Mass Communication from Louisiana State University, likewise a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University.


L. Dean Worleyphoto
L. Dean Worley
National Space Program Portfolio Director
National Security Engineering Center (NSEC)
DoD Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC)
Mr. Dean Worley is portfolio director for the National Space Program (NSP) portfolio in The MITRE Corporation’s NSEC. The NSEC is an FFRDC sponsored by the Department of Defense. Mr. Worley is responsible for developing, leading, and overseeing MITRE’s NSP overall strategy, work program, and business operations in direct support of the National Reconnaissance Office.

Before assuming the role of the NSP portfolio director, Dean was portfolio director of MITRE’s Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)) portfolio. In less than three years, he optimized MITRE’s effectiveness supporting the USD(I), especially in its highest strategic priorities such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, intelligence architectures and platforms, industrial protection and supply chain resiliency, joint hard target strategies, and innovation.

Dean joined MITRE in September 2015, as a strategist and analyst focusing on national security strategy development, information operations (IO), joint operational planning and execution, and the intelligence community (IC). He was the primary author of the well-received “Hybrid Warfare Deterrence Strategy” for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and was MITRE’s lead for its Counter Russian Aggression Strategic Initiative.

Mr. Worley retired from the USAF as a Colonel after 27 years of service in joint operations, electronic warfare, IO, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, command and control, strategic planning, and the IC. He was a commander at squadron (755th Operations Support Squadron and 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron); group (55th Electronic Combat Group); and wing (461st Air Control Wing) levels, including twice commanding a deployed squadron at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. A decorated combat veteran, he served in operations in the Pacific, Middle East, Central Asia, Caribbean, South America, and Europe. As a Navigator (Electronic Warfare Officer), Dean’s primary weapons systems were the EC-130H Compass Call and E-8C JSTARS. His flying and staff assignments included the USAF Weapons School; National Security Agency; Headquarters US European Command; Headquarters Seventeenth Air Force (Air Forces Africa); and Professor of Strategy at Air War College. He completed his military service on USD(I) staff dual-hatted as Deputy Director, Hard Target Program and Chief, Special Access and Space Programs Division.

Mr. Worley was handpicked as a member of the 2019 Defense Science Board Summer Study on “The Future of U.S. Military Superiority.” In 2019, he earned MITRE’s highest award, the Program Recognition Award, for the “Deliver Uncompromised” strategic study.

Dean earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Virginia Tech, and master’s degrees in both Military Operational Art and Science (Air Command & Staff College), and Strategic Studies with Academic Distinction (Air War College). His executive development includes attending the Center for Creative Leadership, and the Enterprise Leadership Seminar at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.


F. Austin Branch photo
F. Austin Branch
Executive Director, Information Strategy and Programs, COLSA Corporation
Austin Branch joined the COLSA Corporation in July, 2015 after serving almost 30 years in Federal service as an Army Officer and Senior Civilian. He was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1986 from The Citadel, Charleston S.C. and went on to serve in multiple Command and Staff positions in conflict and in peace becoming the Army's first Information Operations Officer. Austin pioneered military operations in the information environment in key leadership positions in the Army and Joint Organizations across the globe.

Upon retirement from the Army, Austin joined the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence as the Deputy Director and Chief of Operations for the Defense Policy Analysis Office, and in 2008 was selected as a Defense Intelligence Senior Executive as Senior Advisor for Defense Information Operations.

In 2010, Austin was selected by the Secretary of Defense to lead the Information Operations and Military Information Support Defense Enterprise as the first Senior Director for this mission area in the Office of Policy and Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.

In 2013, Austin was again tapped to establish and lead a new organization at the National Counter Terrorism Center to address Domestic Counter Terrorism, Counter Violent Extremism, and Counter Terrorism Cyber Strategy and Policy in support of the National Security Council. Austin is also one of the founder's and President of the newly formed Non-profit, Information Professionals Association (IPA). IPA is a professional organization established to serve the interests of the broader Information community worldwide and for issues related to Cognitive Security.

Austin and his wife, Carol live in Bluffton, South Carolina and have three children. They have two sons serving as active duty Army Officers and a daughter at Elon University, North Carolina.


Bob Pearson photo
Bob Pearson
Author, professor, digital consultant
Bob has played a key role in building two media firms that are ranked in the top 50 worldwide. He was employee #1 for GCI Health, where he and CEO of GCI, Bob Feldman, launched a new health division. Most recently, he was involved in building an 800-person firm, W2O Group, which is centered on algorithms, machine-learning and innovative media models that lead to insights-driven marketing communications campaigns. He has served as Chief Technology Officer, President and Vice-Chairman.

Prior to W2O Group, Bob worked as VP of Communities and Conversations at Dell to develop the Fortune 500’s first global social media function—an industry-leading approach to the use of social media, as highlighted in the best seller, GroundSwell. Before Dell, Bob was Head of Global Corporate Communications and Head of Global Pharma Communications at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland, where he served on the Pharma Executive Committee and he held the role of Vice President of Media and Public Affairs for Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi).

He is an author, frequent speaker and blogger on digital marketing, as well as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas McCombs School, where he is teaching a new course on digital media models and developing a second course on persuasive selling. He is a Visiting Scholar at The University of Southern California, where he has designed a new graduate-level class that is focused on emerging analytics and digital models. Bob is also a guest lecturer at the U.S. State Department’s Marketing College with a focus on digital media and how to counter disinformation and extremism. He works in a digital media capacity as a contractor for OTI/USAID and the U.S. Agency for Global Media and serves as an advisor for the Global Engagement Center for the U.S. State Department.

He has written two digital media books (PreCommerce and Storytizing) based on key learning’s from the firm’s work with innovative companies and individuals. Bob’s third book, Countering Hate, explores how bias, hate and extremism forms and how we can counter it. His fourth book, Crafting Persuasion, was written with Kip Knight & Ed Tazzia about their learning’s in teaching companies and diplomats how to tell their story effectively. Bob is currently working on his first novel (a technology thriller) and putting together an outline for a future book about the “next generation” agency.

Bob currently serves as an investor and advisor for several media software companies and as CEO of the MedicAlert Foundation. He resides in Austin, Texas with his wife, Donna.


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Matt Venhaus
Executive Director, Information Professionals Association
He is a Senior Principal Cyber Operations Engineer with the MITRE Corporation where he leads, shapes, and manages MITRE’s support to USCYBERCOM. He develops and oversees execution of cross-cutting technical strategies to increase MITRE’s impact in advancing the effectiveness of cyber operations. He has a deep and abiding passion for the effective application of influence and persuasion in warfare as technological advancements drive new realities in the way that people consume and process information.

Previously, Matt served over 28 years in the U.S. Army primarily in the field of persuasive communications (PSYOP) to understand, inform, engage, and influence global publics in support of national policies and objectives. Matt conducted PSYOP on four continents across the full spectrum of peace and armed conflict. His initial service during America’s last period of intense near-peer competition, the Cold War, gave way to peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance throughout the 1990s, and later to the early stages of invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq where he designed, implemented, and managed multi-media campaigns across the Middle East to reduce terrorist recruiting effectiveness. His military service culminated in the Pentagon as the principal staff advisor to the Secretary of Defense for information operations.

A 1987 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Matt is a plank-holder in the PSYOP Regiment and a Life member of the PSYOP Veterans Association. His published works include a special report entitled “Why Youth Join al-Qaeda,” which examined case studies of individuals who became foreign fighters to discern their behavioral motivations and seeks to establish a usable strategy to divert future generations from the path to extremism. He has also authored several classified reports on the application of persuasive communications against malicious cyber actors. He has also been awarded a Master's Degree in International Relations from Troy University, and Masters of Professional Studies in Strategic Public Relations from the George Washington University.


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Dr. Brian M. Pierce, PhD
Visiting Research Scientist, Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), University of Maryland at College Park
Dr. Pierce is a Visiting Research Scientist at the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) at the University of Maryland at College Park. ARLIS is a University-Affiliated Research Center of the Department of Defense supporting the Intelligence Community.

Pierce is also a mediaX Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University for 2019-2020, and serves on the advisory board for sparks & honey, a “cultural intelligence” firm based in New York City that works with Fortune 100 companies, startups and others to help them visualize disruption scenarios and zone in on opportunities.

Prior to joining ARLIS, Pierce served on the leadership team of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as Deputy Director and then Director of the Information Innovation Office (I2O) over 2014-2019. During his tenure at DARPA, Pierce contributed to the development and implementation of the strategy for I2O driving advances in artificial intelligence, data analytics and cyber. Additional DARPA experience includes serving as the Deputy Director (2005-2010) of the Strategic Technology Office (STO) with programs in space, cyber, strategic and tactical networks, counter-underground facilities, defense against weapons of mass destruction, small unit operations, maritime operations, and global ISR.

Pierce also has held leadership roles in the aerospace and defense industry, which included Technical Director for Advanced Concepts and Technology at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (2012-2014), and Executive Director for the Electronics Division at Rockwell Scientific Company (now Teledyne Scientific) (2002-2005).

Pierce has published 40 technical articles, and produced 28 U.S. Patents. Dr. Pierce holds a PhD and MS in Chemistry from the University of California at Riverside, and a BS in Chemistry and Mathematics (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of California at Riverside.

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