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Join the GeoTech Center on Thursday, April 22, at 9:30 a.m. EDT as it convenes three expert panels to discuss shortcomings in, new directions for, and findings about disinformation and counter propaganda technologies in coordination with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center under their Technology Engagement Team initiative.


Opening Remarks

Joseph Parente, Deputy Coordinator, Global Engagement Center, US State
Patricia Watts, Director, Technology Engagement Team, Global Engagement
, US State Department

Panel 1 – CPD Shortfalls and Priorities

Kalina Bontcheva, Professor of Text Analytics and Senior Research Fellow,
University of Sheffield
Alex Ruiz, Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoTech Center, Atlantic Council
Gwyneth Sutherlin, Faculty, College of information Cyberspace, National Defense
Henrik Twetman, Project Manager, Department of Strategic Communications, Lund

Moderated by Ed Haugland, Independent Consultant and Interagency Advisor, Technology
Engagement Team
, Global Engagement Center, US Department of State

Panel 2 – Advancing Whole-of-Government and Allied Test Bed Efforts

Pablo Breuer, Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoTech Center, Atlantic Council
Luis Viegas Cardoso, Senior Expert on Digital, Technology and Innovation at the Advisory Service of the President of the European Commission (I.D.E.A.) Ursula von der Leyen
Daniel Grassetti, Deputy Director, Information Operations Directorate, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, US Department of Defense
Heidi Tworek, Nonresident Fellow, Department of Strategic Communications,
German Marshall Fund of the United States

Moderated by JD Maddox, Senior Technical Advisor, Technology Engagement Team, Global
Engagement Center
, US State Department

Panel 3 – Atlantic Council GeoTech Commission Report Interim Findings

Peter Brooks, Senior Advisor, GeoTech Center, Atlantic Council
Melissa Flagg, Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoTech Center, Atlantic Council
Ed Haugland, Independent Consultant and Interagency Advisor, Technology
Engagement Team
, Global Engagement Center, US Department of State
Sara-Jayne “SJ” Terp, Senior Advisor, GeoTech Center, Atlantic Council

Moderated by David Bray, Director, GeoTech Center, Atlantic Council

Event description

On April 22, 2021, the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center and the Department of State’s Global Engagement Center will host the Counter Propaganda and Disinformation Technology Working Group (CPDTWG). The CPDTWG will serve as a conduit for highlighting CPD differences and needs among stakeholders where participants will benefit from collated responses that identify how efforts can be coordinated to counter misinformation and disinformation. The event will feature three thirty-minute panels.

  • Panel one: CPD shortfalls and priorities
  • Panel two: Advancing whole-of-government and allied testbed efforts
  • Panel three: GeoTech Center Commission Report Interim Findings

Since its February 25, 2021 inaugural launch, the CPDTWG has paved the departure from what has traditionally been individual and piecemeal approaches to identify, assess, test, and scale the application of CPD technological solutions.  During the February working group, we initiated a conversation and structure – the first of its kind – around what interagency and international representatives view as shortfalls and priorities in addressing propaganda and disinformation. In this capacity, the CPDTWG acts as an avenue to highlight CPD gaps and needs from across our partners and identify areas of alignment.

Members invited can ensure their group’s top concerns are incorporated, but they will also benefit from the collated responses that identify where alignments lie and how efforts can be synchronized, leveraged, and/or scaled. Countering propaganda and disinformation is a whole of globe, public, and private problem that can be most efficiently and effectively addressed when an approach is shaped together.

In addition, please fill out the following short survey on CPD functional or operational shortfalls and priority no later than Friday, April 9. The GEC is seeking a diversity of inputs and not an official organizational position. Instructions are included in survey.  The GEC will share a high level summary of all inputs received from across the international, interagency, and private sector; responses will not attribute, or otherwise specify, shortfalls associated with an individual or organization. The POC information requested in the document will only be used to facilitate follow up for clarification or questions.

Additional background on intent of CPDTWG

The CPDTWG provides the foundation for expanded interagency, international, private, academic, and think tank discussions. It will prepare colleagues for the GEC’s Senior Technology Forum & Technical Assessment Panel (TECHFOR & TAP) forum. Once permitted, the group will operate as a forum for Assistant Secretaries and other Senior Executives to discuss CPD shortfalls, relevant priorities, and scaling of solutions and seek technical expertise from external sources to inform senior leaders of technical leads.

Background on the GEC and the TET

The GEC is mandated to counter foreign state and foreign non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining or influencing the security, stability, and policies of the United States, as well as its allies and partner nations. In addition, the GEC is mandated to share a wide range of technologies and techniques, seek expertise from external sources, and implement best practices. This directive is addressed through the Technology Engagement Team’s (TET) mission. With these directing clauses, the GEC has established the CPDTWG to leverage, globally, maximum efficacy and synchronization against the propaganda and disinformation problem set. The members receiving this invitation are seen as primary leaders in this discussion.