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Cognitive Warfare: NATO Is Planning A War For People’s Minds

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Cognitive Warfare: NATO Is Planning A War For People's Minds

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Written by Jonas Tögel. Originally published on Geopolitika.ru 

Since 2020, NATO has pursued plans for psychological warfare that must stand on an equal footing with the military alliance’s five previous areas of operation (land, water, air, space, cyberspace). It is the battleground of public opinion. NATO documents speak of “cognitive warfare”, i.e.: mental warfare. How concrete is the project, what steps have been taken so far, and who is it aimed at?

To be victorious in war, one must also win the battle for public opinion. This has been carried out for more than 100 years with increasingly modern tools, the so-called soft power techniques. These describe all those psychological tools of influence by which people can be guided in such a way that they themselves are not aware of this control. The American political scientist Joseph Nye thus defines soft power as “the ability to persuade others to do what one wants without using violence or coercion”.

Distrust of governments and the military is increasing, while NATO is stepping up its efforts to use increasingly sophisticated psychological warfare in the battle for people’s minds and hearts. The main program for this is “Cognitive Warfare”. With the psychological weapons of this program, man himself is to be declared the new theater of war, the so-called “Human Domain” (human sphere).

One of NATO’s first documents on these plans is the September 2020 essay “NATO’s Sixth Domain of Operations”, written on behalf of the NATO Innovation Hub (abbreviated: IHub ). The authors are American August Cole, a former Wall Street Journal journalist specializing in the defense industry who has worked for the transatlantic think tank Atlantic Council for several years, and Frenchman Hervé le Guyader.

Founded in 2012, IHub claims to be a think tank where “experts and inventors from all over work together to solve NATO challenges” and is based in Norfolk, Virginia, in the US. Officially not part of NATO, it is funded by NATO Allied Transformation Command, one of NATO’s two strategic headquarters.

The essay tells several fictional stories and concludes with a made-up speech by the U.S. president, who explains to his listeners how cognitive warfare works and why anyone can get involved:

“Today’s advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science, driven by the seemingly unstoppable advance of the troika of artificial intelligence, big data, and the ‘digital addiction’ of our civilization, have created a far more disturbing prospect: an integrated fifth pillar, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, acts according to the plans of one of our adversaries”.

Each individual’s thoughts and feelings are increasingly at the center of this new war:

“You are the disputed territory, wherever you are, whoever you are”.

In addition, there is to be lamented a “steady erosion of the morale of the population”. Cole and Guyader thus argue that the human domain is the greatest vulnerability. This area of operation (“domain”) would consequently be the basis for all other battlefields (land, water, air, space, cyberspace) to be controlled. Therefore, the two authors urge NATO to act quickly and consider the human spirit as NATO’s “sixth domain of operations”.

Participatory Propaganda

Almost at the same time, former French official and chief innovation officer at IHub, François du Cluzel, was working on the comprehensive strategy paper “Cognitive Warfare” that was published by IHub in January 2021. Instead of using imaginary scenarios, du Cluzel wrote a detailed analysis of the war of minds. Like the authors of “The Sixth Domain of NATO Operations”, he emphasizes that “trust (…) is the goal. This can be won or destroyed in information warfare or through PsyOps, i.e., psychological warfare. However, conventional soft-power techniques are no longer sufficient; what is needed is cognitive warfare, i.e., relative to the mind, a “participatory propaganda” in which “everyone takes part”.

It is not clear who exactly is the target of this propaganda, but du Cluzel emphasizes that everyone is involved in this new form of manipulation and that the goal is to protect NATO’s “human capital”. The area of application refers to “the entire human environment, whether friend or foe”. Although the enemy’s capabilities and threat in the field of cognitive warfare are “still low”, du Cluzel calls for NATO to act quickly and promote cognitive warfare:

“Cognitive warfare may be the missing element that enables the transition from military victory on the battlefield to lasting political success. The ‘human domain’ may well be the decisive factor (…). The first five theaters of operations [land, sea, air, space, cyberspace] can lead to tactical and operational victories, but only the human theater of operations can lead to ultimate and complete victory” (pag. 36).

Neuroscience as a weapon

A few months later, NATO took up the strategists’ demands. In June 2021, it held its first scientific meeting on cognitive warfare in Bordeaux, France. In an anthology that accompanied the symposium, Innovation Hub strategists had the opportunity to speak alongside high-ranking NATO officials. In the preface, French General André Lanata thanked “our Innovation Hub” and stressed the importance of “exploiting the weaknesses of human nature” and leading this “battle” in “all areas of society”. It is also about engaging neuroscience in the arms race (“Weaponization of Neurosciences”). It has been pointed out that NATO’s cognitive warfare is a defense against similar wars by China and Russia. Their “disinformation activities” have led to “growing concern” among NATO allies.

At the symposium, there was intense discussion on how to use neuroscience to carry out digital attacks on human thought, feelings and action:

“From the attacker’s perspective, the most efficient, though most difficult action to take, is to encourage the use of digital devices that can disrupt or influence all levels of an adversary’s cognitive processes” (pag. 29).

NATO would like to confuse potential opponents as thoroughly as possible to “dictate” their behavior. (pag. 29) As part of the symposium, Du Cluzel wrote an essay together with French cognitive researcher Bernard Claverie explaining that-contrary to the claim that one reacts only to threats from Russia or China-it is also “good to execute well-considered attack processes as well as countermeasures and preventive measures” (pag. 26):

“Attacking is the stated goal and exploiting, devaluing or even destroying the way one builds one’s reality, one’s spiritual self-confidence, one’s faith in functioning groups, societies or even nations” (pag. 27).

Strategists rarely openly admit that these techniques can be used not only on enemy populations but also within NATO countries. Statements about this are often vague. However, there are indications that NATO is also targeting its own population. French General Eric Autellet writes in an article in the anthology cited above (pag. 24):

“Since Vietnam, our wars have been lost despite military successes, in large part because of the weakness of our narrative (i.e., ‘winning the hearts and minds of the people’), both in relation to local populations in theaters of operations and with respect to our own populations. There are two stakes in our relations with enemy and friend, and we can choose passive and active modes of action-or both-when considering the limits and constraints of our model of freedom and democracy. As for our enemy, we must be able to “read” the minds of our opponents to anticipate their reactions. If necessary, we must be able to “penetrate” the minds of our opponents to influence them and enable them to act on our behalf. As for our friend (and even ourselves), we must be able to protect our brains and improve our cognitive understanding and decision-making skills”.

The fall 2021 NATO innovation competition

The next step was taken by the IHub, which officially announced the NATO Countering Cognitive Warfare Innovation Competition in October 2021. The Innovation Challenge has been in existence since 2017, and since then the competition has been held twice a year. In order to gather as many ideas as possible, NATO always emphasizes the open nature of the competition: “The challenge is open to everyone (individuals, entrepreneurs, start-ups, industry, science, etc.) who is in a NATO member country”. Those who win can expect a cash prize of $8,500.

Topics are selected in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. They are always topics “particularly influential for the development of future military capabilities”, following the motto “the best way to anticipate the future is to invent it”. The areas are artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, space, hypersonics, quantum technology, and biotechnology.

Thus, the key questions in previous competitions are contrasting and set very different priorities. In fall 2018, for example, it was about systems that can be used to intercept unmanned drones. Here the Dutch drone manufacturer Delft won. In fall 2019, the focus was on helping soldiers with psychological stress or fatigue in order to improve their performance in combat. Spring 2021 was about space surveillance. Here the French start-up Share My Space won.

Despite the different focal points, one topic continues to emerge: information and data management on the Internet. In spring 2018, the innovation competition was dedicated to this topic under the motto “Complexity and Information Management”, in spring 2020 the theme was “Fake News in Pandemics”, and in fall 2021 finally “The Invisible Threat – Neutralizing Cognitive Warfare”.

“The most advanced form of manipulation”

In October 2021, just before this competition was publicized on the IHub website, NATO broadcast a live stream discussing cognitive warfare and calling for participation in the innovation competition. The task is “one of the hottest topics for NATO right now”, du Cluzel pointed out in his opening remarks. French defense expert Marie-Pierre Raymond took the opportunity to explain what cognitive warfare actually is, namely “the most advanced form of manipulation that exists today”.

There were ten participants in the final of the competition, broadcast almost two months later. Eight of them had developed computer programs that use artificial intelligence to scan and analyze large amounts of data on the Internet in order to better monitor and, one assumes, predict people’s opinions, thoughts and information exchange. The most popular target of computer programs are social media: Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Telegram.

Changing beliefs and behaviors

The winner was the U.S.-based company Veriphix (motto: “We measure beliefs to predict and change behavior”), which has developed a platform with which it is possible to identify so-called nudges, or unconscious psychological “nudges” on the Internet. The Veriphix platform has been in use for years, working with several governments and large companies, according to the head, John Fuisz, who has close family ties to the U.S. security apparatus. For him, cognitive warfare is about changing beliefs (“changing beliefs”). His software can analyze these changes “within your military, within your population and within a foreign population”, as he explained to the competition judges.

Considering that cognitive warfare is already underway and the latest manipulation techniques are currently being used in the war in Ukraine to direct the thoughts and feelings of the populations of all nations involved in the war, clarification on the soft power techniques of cognitive warfare would be appreciated and should be more urgent than ever.

Original column of Jonas Tögel LINK

Translation by Costantino Ceoldo 


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At this far I don’t believe the Jews are going to succeed in any “MK Ultra”.

But rather create some big mess that get them linched.

Everybody is growing tired of bullshit.


This shit does not work when you only have 2 options to pick: do you want to get 6″ or 8″ diameter Russian dick up your ass 😆

This what happens when you star believing tour own bullshit: Denial. Cognitive warfare, mental warefare, crotch warefare, asshole gazing blah blah blah… Cope!

Last edited 2 months ago by Phoenix

Fear Allah(swt) GeoPsychological Warfare.


The best way to win the hearts for Nato would be to share the wealth among the populations. Increase standards of livings above what previous generations had and so on…

But making people poorer and poorer shall the few rich defend the their wealth themselves.

I would never defend the jews in power and their wealth if Germany was attacked…

And I would hope that if someone else took over by force, live would get better…

Donbas is 100% liberated

So wait winter is already here, europe ia not freezing, there are no shotages of gás actually its price keepa plumetting, on the other Hand weapons and financial support to ukraine are increasing even more. So… All analyses in SF were wrong?


This article is allready irrelevant. NATO has been brainwashing Europeans for at least a year, maybe more. If Russian goverment don’t want to see this facts, then “good bye Russia”. Remove Putin, it is necessary to take radical actions before it’s too late. Or your nation will be lost for ever. Achmat sila!


i ment years


To win “the battle for people’s minds and hearts”, the people in question first have to have those. It is increasingly evident that Americans – and to an increasing degree Western Europeans – have neither.

jens holm

Fine with me. Who cares about Your oppions about anything anymore-

Russia isno part of Europe. We have no solutions by Rustica as well.

If You need it we will help You building a wall to protect You against us. We still have some DDR leftovers, You rent or get for free.

All GDP as well as long lives show we are doing a lot right. Thestart it we produce much more. By that there is at east soething to share. That weas the main mistake for Comecon and the Warsaw pact.

Now people there at least has the chance for something better and we help them in a somthing for smething. added gidft/donations here and there too.

We also give poeple right to go to wor in any country. So fx Poles can work in Spain or Denamrk if we have vacant jobs for them. By that they feed themself and at lest send some few money home every month.

Poland of today has a higher GDP then Russia and some of the poles are going back to poland again because they create jobs there.


lots of computer system abuse happening, both foreign, and domestic. Really want to win hearts and minds then post positive educational content and teach people how to make/fix/do, to help themselves and others to improve their lives. Else, the beatings will continue…

Tom Bombastadillo

Joos are gonna joo …. Joos ain’t gonna work at anything beneficial.


Fascinating glimpse of their perspective and motivation, not to mention their disregard for living people. It’s a bit disturbing that they put this much effort and this amount or resources into lying to and murdering rather large numbers of people while they are stealing all of their stuff.

jens holm

You get nothing. We buy things to world market prices. The big difference is we upgrade products by tech makng them worth 10.000 or 100.000 more.

Rusticas do that. Thye should. They not even educate people for that and has systems and non systems, which makes even Kafka and Minister Potemtin into a patients in traumecenters.

I wonder why You still can believe in those illusions. The facts are all over and even in Russi itself.

Basics like food, oil an gas is easy to produce. We buy them where the price is best. Rustica has very few advanced product to sell. I only remember first class aluminum.

And I have not written we in west has Our finest hours all over, but we hve a good world economy making wellfare to most of us.


The hole in the propagandists thinking is that anyone with some basic internet competency can just go online, using auto translation services if required, to see what others are doing and saying, thus exposing the untruths and making those promoting such things look worse than before. The old strings they are trying to pull are not so well connected now.

Joseph Day

Exactly, I’m 60yo when I was young all I got was whatever was on TV, now I have a world of info at my fingertips. And it’s been an eye opener

Tom Bombastadillo

Remember the grainy B/W images of fat old scarf-clad Russian women in cold muddy fields that the three propaganda networks NBC ABC and CBS and two propaganda ‘news’ services UPI and AP always showed us? That is the only thing I ever saw about Russia in those days.

jens holm

I partly agree. We have to add and subtracts as well.

But it is true so many in Rustica and Arabuistan tell us we have secrets keeping things inthe dark. But they dont dotheir job. We in Denmark dont translate anything we have in theopen to foreign countries.

Just because we use daish by the Goiverment , the parlament and thelocalparlaments does not say its a secret.

People in Denamrk anytime can see it right away also by TV. A lot is given to the libraries for free AND foreuigners has free entrences to it in details as well.

You can copy as may pages, photos and videos as Yoiu wish and then traslate it to own language.

jens holm

2) You have to search to find things. We also see some countries has forbidden theirown citicens to do free searh here. Sothey are the obes keepingtheirown populations in the dark.

We see the same for Ukraine. We in west has so overwhelming many sources everyday. In Russia You cant even use facebook. So many use the very childish andlimited Yandex.

You also has to blame the right people and in that elect someone else, if the old ones are no good.

Rusticans has us in EU as well as Nato as somthing we dont recognize – And we live here in homes and can go to the streets.

But when I try to tell about it Im named as total liar beung CIA, Mossad. Jewe Nazis, Rocjefeller lover or hired for selling more weapons.

In thoe matters its very much to try to talk to the behind of a very low educated skinny bear. It seemes blindfoded having no ears as well.


More and more people are starting to realize that they are getting duped.

USA is a shithole, EU is becoming one

And robbed, raped, despised and under a constat assault to be dehumanized by the State, which is just a beaurocratic oriented tribe owning the rest of the humans as human livestock, having them to breed, to do the boring and dirty tasks for them, be used as toys etc.

Last edited 2 months ago by USA is a shithole, EU is becoming one
jens holm

You can leave from Rustica. They already make spendables. Youalready is nothing and will remain so.

USA is a shithole, EU is becoming one

The covid scamdemia marked the final assault against our minds and for the total possesion of our bodies by the State.

Ursula van der Lying is planning to impose a social credit system on every EU country (human farm), Chinese style.

Better never to have been is given a new dimension.

Last edited 2 months ago by USA is a shithole, EU is becoming one
jens holm

None will blame You from permanent stay out of ÉU and Nato. We even give one way tickets for support.

Ursula has every right to try ro pay back some of the loans we have made and makes. It has to be done in one way or another. If a chinese system is the best made in a EU context Im for it.

I dont like that kind of debt and has none myself anymore. It was a big relase when it finally after 20 years was not there.


This is exactly how dumb polaks behave. Maybe nuking Warsaw should clear their mind a bit.

End Ukraine once and for all!

Why nukes when we have FOABs? :)

jens holm

They of curse will show You the same respect as You do with them. The poles has done many things right eve they stil insist in old mistakes too. Your dumb Polacks now has a GDP pr capita higher then Rustica. They also HAD a very high unimployment rate.

jens holm

Nato as well as EU has not been stepping up.

USSR collapsed themself and as usual the vakuum is being filled up with something, whcih hopefully is better.

The real blame is and was USSR in the most greedy and infertile way didvided Europa and other places all the way to west of DDR and to Bosperus added parts of Asia as well.

In that we in west also was creating a bufferzone having Ukraine and Belarus in it. We aso has beenthe ones keeping Minsk 2 about it.

Buford T Justice

NATO , creating a reason to exist. This is insanity .


I simply love Southfront with all the crappy laughable propaganda, it’s so ridiculous 🤣🤣🤣. Imagine all the simple minded idiots believing this bullshit 😆😆😆

Tom Bombastadillo

Well then go back to CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo! And getcher next booster while yer at it!


“Cognitive Warfare”? Is this a joke? 90% of the mindless sheeple have no cognitive function whatsoever as has been proven and is still being proven day in day out as mutton brained woolly critters still line up and obediently allow their “minds” to be injected with khaZar gene juice mRNA filth even as their bodies are treated as mere guinea pig meat by the vertical swine we call our “leaders”.

You are the disease, their covaid$ death squirt the cure and the girly men and manly girls from Natostan but a joke as each day in rump Ukrapland has shown.


90% of the herd is mutton meat, 5% is Satanic filth and then there is the rest, 5% that gets it and that has, at least until now, saved the herd from oblivion and total Satanic poisoning. The good always wins, karma always eats the snake, albeit after many trials and tribulations. This world is a mere test, a process of spiritual growth and refining. In the end it matters not a dust mote should the entire galaxy and universe flare, sputter and disappear from the verse. Enjoy the ride by all means but never forget the price must be paid when you get off. Let that price not be your eternal soul surrendered to the darkness. And remember, as the demons well understand, the herd must never be “convinced”, the herd must only be turned and even an old mouse can bring about such a turning.

Onward ever faster to the end of the angloZionaZi empire of shit and its legions of degenerate, fallen “angel$”.



I read it somewhere that you just need to convince the women that the war is necessary and you’ll get the war …. I’d say that you just need to convince the women that anything is necessary and you’ll get anything…. that’s how advertising works isn’t it?

Ahmed the Trans from Iran

Yup, bitches and cunts start all wars. Why not? They never pay the price.

That is why Americans always bomb the cities, not trenches.

Keine Namen

They just want to make up lies and then spread them……I wonder how long it took them to find another word for lies. It must have cost millions and they had to meet in a luxury hotel for over a week to find other words for lies. This global dictatorship of the stupid is sometimes kind of funny but mostly just stupid and useless.


Learn to think for yourself!

Paul Citro

Manipulating people’s minds and spirits is about as evil as things can get. We talk about using it on others, but soon we will turn it on ourselves. We’re in for a ghastly dystopia that may take thousands of years to grow out of.

Last edited 2 months ago by Paul Citro

The time has come to ask whether, objectively speaking, Vladimir Putin is an agent of American imperialism. For no American has ever done half as much damage to what Mr. Putin calls the “Russian world” as the Russian leader himself.

This thought came to me recently when I was in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, talking to Ukrainians who Mr. Putin’s war has made refugees in their own country. “I was a Russian speaker until Feb. 24,” said Adeline, an art student from the now Russian-occupied town of Nova Kakhovka, referencing the date of Russia’s full-scale invasion earlier this year. (The Globe and Mail is identifying sources by first name, or not at all, because they fear repercussions.) Russia has failed to take over Ukrainian culture, she said, so now it has set out to kill it. Several other Ukrainian students told me they find “the spirit of freedom” in Ukrainian literature, while subservience to power permeates Russian writing.

Tetiana, a refugee from the ruthlessly bombed city of Mariupol, had suffered without heat, light or water in a cellar while under constant bombardment. She saw her best friend killed by a Russian missile, and then had a traumatic odyssey of escape. Tetiana speaks much better Russian than Ukrainian; her mother is actually from Russia – the Russian President would consider her a Russian. So I asked her for her message to Mr. Putin. She replied that she would like to kill him.

Wherever I turned, in every conversation, there was a total rejection not just of the Russian dictator, not merely of the Russian Federation as a state, but of everything and almost everyone Russian. Polling by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology shows that some 80 per cent of Ukrainians had a positive attitude toward Russia in 2013; by May, 2022, the figure was just 2 per cent. A university lecturer told me that his students now write “russia” with a small initial letter. “I don’t correct them,” he said.

This may be unsurprising in Ukraine, a country suffering from a Russian war that is now primarily directed against the civilian population. But the same thing is happening across much of the territory of the former Russian (and subsequently Soviet) empire, which, since the early 2000s, Moscow has tried to reimagine as russkiy mir – the Russian world.

In Georgia, a strong resentment of neo-imperial Russia is unsurprising, since Russia has occupied roughly one-fifth of the country’s sovereign territory since 2008. But following the invasion of Ukraine, that hostility has enveloped almost all Russians. Ironically enough, this affects the many tens of thousands of Russians who have fled to Georgia precisely to avoid being conscripted into fighting. Or as one banner put it, “Putin is killing people in Ukraine while Russians eat khachapuri in Georgia.” (Khachapuri is the distinctive Georgian cheese bread.)

The revulsion is also found in Central Asian states, which still have very close ties to Moscow. Kazakh journalist Arman Shuraev recently posted a video excoriating Russian bully and ambassador to Kazakhstan, Alexei Borodavkin, in fluent Russian: “Russophobia is all that you have achieved with your stupid actions,” Mr. Shuraev said. If Russia dared to invade Kazakhstan, he added, “the entire Kazakh steppe will be strewn with the corpses of your conscripts.”

When Russia launched its invasion, Ukrainian journalist Olha Vorozhbyt tried to explain to an Indian public what was going on. “Could you imagine a Britain that claims India is in its empire?” she wrote in The Indian Express. “That is what Russia is doing now.” One can extend the analogy: Imagine that a revanchist, militarist British dictatorship instrumentalized the cultural notion of an “English-speaking world” to justify its re-invasion of India.

The notion of russkiy mir was revived in the late 1990s as a kind of Russian soft-power initiative (mir means “peace” as well as “world.”) In 2007, a Russkiy Mir Foundation was created by presidential decree, and presented as a Russian counterpart to the British Council or Germany’s Goethe Institute. But the concept was then weaponized to justify Mr. Putin’s war of recolonization in Ukraine. He explicitly mentioned the term in a speech justifying the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The predictable result: Revulsion against his attempted recolonization has extended to the whole notion of a Russian-speaking world. Those who justify their wars in terms of culture will find their culture treated as an enemy.

Mr. Putin is trying to recover parts of the Russian empire by brute force and terror. Some 14 million Ukrainians, a staggering one-third of the country’s population, have been displaced. Europe has seen nothing like this since 1945.

In the end, Vladimir Putin will go down in history not merely as the man who failed to restore the Russian empire, but as the destroyer of the Russian world

Last edited 2 months ago by Bitu

BS but at least you put effort into your BS. However, I would suggest you catch up on real Russian history.


“Cognitive Warfare”? Is this a joke? 90% of the mindless sheeple have no cognitive function whatsoever as has been proven and is still being proven day in day out as mutton brained woolly critters still line up and obediently allow their “minds” to be injected with khaZar gene juice mRNA filth even as their bodies are treated as mere guinea pig meat by the vertical swine we call our “leaders”. You are the disease, their covaid$ death squirt the cure and the girly men and manly girls from Natostan


90% of the herd is mutton meat, 5% is Satanic filth and then there is the rest, 5% that gets it and that has, at least until now, saved the herd from oblivion and total Satanic poisoning. The good always wins, karma always eats the snake, albeit after many trials and tribulations. This world is a mere test, a process of spiritual growth and refining. In the end it matters not a dust mote should the entire galaxy and universe flare, sputter and disappear from the verse. Enjoy the ride by all means but never forget the price must be paid when you get off. Let that price not be your eternal soul surrendered to the darkness. And remember, as the demons well understand, the herd must never be “convinced”, the herd must only be turned and even an old mouse can bring about such a turning.

Tommy Jensen

The good thing is the more they use these tools, the more dysfunctional they become themselves. Whoever enemy Nato and UK have, this enemy just have to sit down and see Nato and UK strangle themselves slowly.

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