Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and State Department Spokesperson U.S. Institute for Peace
Thank you for that kind introduction, Adele, and a special thank you to the U.S. Institute of Peace for hosting us all this afternoon. It is a treat to be able to use this great facility alongside the National Mall. I would also like to acknowledge the staff of the Global Engagement Center (GEC) for organizing this event.
On behalf of the Department of State, I want to thank you all for being here today. We are fortunate to have participants from a broad array of backgrounds, including academics, researchers, technologists, and app developers. We know there is no silver bullet that will solve the problems of foreign propaganda and disinformation, but with the help of this diverse group, I am confident we will find new approaches in this effort.
Moreover, this event is a great example of how the U.S. government can work with private industry, and how the two can mutually benefit from that collaboration.
Foreign propaganda and disinformation clearly is not a new problem. However, the same technology that has put an ever-growing crowd-sourced encyclopedia in the hands of anyone with an internet connection, has also put a multimedia storyteller in almost everyone’s pocket. It is not always clear which messages may be sponsored by foreign governments or non-state actors.
In this charged atmosphere, information – or more frequently its weaponized counterpart, disinformation – is emerging as the secret weapon used by our adversaries to tip the scales. We are at a crucial moment, when we must define the problem and develop effective solutions, consistent with the rule of law and our democratic norms and values. And we need the folks in this room to help us in that endeavor.
Over the next six months, I encourage you to participate regularly in this GEC-organized series of technology demonstrations. Our goal is to show the U.S. interagency how specific technology can be applied to stem the spread of false narratives and to authenticate emerging information.
If you have not done so already, I urge you to speak with my GEC colleagues here today to schedule your own technology demonstration at an upcoming session.
I want to thank you again for taking the time to participate in today’s kickoff event. Effectively countering foreign propaganda and disinformation is important to our national security and protecting our democracy, and I sincerely appreciate your commitment to this effort.
With that, I am honored to close this inaugural session of the GEC Technology Series. Now I am pleased to invite you to an informal reception upstairs on the Solomon Roof Terrace.
U.S. Department of State
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea L. Thompson will travel to Paris, France, and London, the United Kingdom May 14-18, 2018.
On May 15, Under Secretary Thompson will head the U.S. delegation for the 2018 Fifteenth Anniversary Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) High Level Political Meeting (HLPM) in Paris, France. This meeting will provide the 105 endorsers of the initiative with an opportunity to review the accomplishments of the last fifteen years, leverage those accomplishments to further focus the Initiative’s efforts to interdict transfers of WMD- and missile-related items, and provide strategic direction for the next years of activity. It will send a message of PSI to proliferators “that we are watching and will act to stop you, whether at sea, in the air, or on land.”
On May 18, she will represent the United States at the Ministerial Meeting of the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons in Paris. The Partnership ministerial will address chemical weapons use by States and non-State actors in recent years, in addition to actions the Partnership can take to contribute to the attribution and deterrence of future use.
Under Secretary Thompson will also hold bilateral discussions on a range of arms control and nonproliferation issues.
For more information, follow Under Secretary Thompson’s activities on Twitter @UnderSecT.
As we exit the Iran deal, we will be working with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian threat. We have a shared interest with our allies in Europe and around the world to prevent Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon. But our effort is broader than just the nuclear threat and we will be working together with partners to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East and beyond. As we build this global effort, sanctions will go into full effect and will remind the Iranian regime of the diplomatic and economic isolation that results from its reckless and malign activity.
U.S. Department of State
The United States continues to monitor closely the situation in Armenia. As a friend of Armenia, we urge all parties to engage in good faith negotiations on the formation of a new government in accordance with the Constitution, and to reach a resolution that reflects the interests of all Armenians.
We support the ongoing efforts of the Office of President Sarkissian to facilitate dialogue between all parties.
We continue to commend the peaceful nature of the demonstrations, and trust that the security forces and those exercising their right to peaceful protest will remain committed to non-violence in the days to come.