Defense and security officials are worried that Russia is trying to influence the mood of the American armed forces by campaigning in social media, Voice of America reports.
A number of U.S. military have reported to the Voice of America that Russia is trying to spread misinformation among the servicemen.
In the case of the U.S. military, according to current and former U.S. and Western officials, the Kremlin's aim is likely to establish what is known as reflexive control. By seeding U.S. troops with the right type of disinformation, they say, Russia can predispose them to make choices or decisions that are favorable for Moscow.
The exact extent to which U.S. military personnel have been targeted or swayed is unclear.
There are cases when Russian agents in Twitter pretended themselves to be US servicemen. On October 17, Twitter unveiled accounts associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency. At least 39 of them presented themselves as related to the American military.
"We know it goes on," said Ed Wilson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy. "That's why we've amped up and increased the attention that we're paying," Ed Wilson added.
"We're taking a renewed look at how we train and educate the broader force," he said, noting that efforts go beyond just the military to the Defense Department's partner agencies.
The former commanding general for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, Army Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, described the need to educate and shield troops from disinformation campaigns as a matter of "force protection."
"It doesn't matter if it's a physical force or an information force," Funk said. "Are you concerned about it? Of course. Do you have to have campaigns where you inform your soldiers of those kinds of things that happen? Sure."
US Secretary of Defense Mattis stressed that not only the US military suffered from foreign cyber operations and claimed that the military should be attentive to attempts of influence, like the rest of society.