Over five years, the authors of LikeWar studied what social media has been doing to politics, news, and war around the world, drawing upon everything from historic cases to the latest in AI and machine intelligence. At the same time, they tracked dozens of conflicts and quasi conflicts in every corner of the globe, all playing out simultaneously online, scooping up everything from the spread of YouTube battle clips to a plague of Nazi-sympathizing cartoon frogs. They interviewed experts ranging from legendary internet pioneers to infamous “reality stars,” weaving their insights together with those of viral marketers and political hacks, terrorist propagandists and preteen reporters, soldiers and generals (including one who may have committed some light treason). They visited the offices and bases of the U.S. defense, diplomatic, and intelligence communities; traveled overseas to meet with foreign government operatives; and made trips to both the brightly colored offices of social media companies and the dark labs where the future of battle is being created. Meanwhile, they treated the internet itself as a laboratory, leaping into online battles just to experience the fight and see where it would lead. They joined distant nations’ digital armies and set traps for Russian and NeoNazi trolls, both to learn from them and have some fun at their expense. Then, before the book was even out, they found themselves being enlisted into the fight in new ways, asked to advise the investigations trying to figure out how other nations had attacked the United States with these new weapons, as well as aid the U.S. military information operations tasked to fight these wars.
Prior to the book’s release, the authors have briefed its findings to groups including:
US Naval War College
US Army War College
US Army Strategic Leaders Seminar
US Air Force
US Marine Corps
US Pentagon – Joint Staff
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
US Strategic Command
US Special Operations Command
Australian Signals Directorate
Australian Home Affairs Department
Sydney city government
New South Wales state government
Peter Warren Singer is Strategist at New America, a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, and Principal at Useful Fiction LLC. He has been named by the Smithsonian as one of the nation’s 100 leading innovators, by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues, by Foreign Policy to their Top 100 Global Thinkers List, and as an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Peter is the author of multiple best-selling, award winning books in both fiction and nonfiction, ranging from Wired for War to Ghost Fleet. No author, living or dead, has more books on the professional US military readings lists.
Described in the Wall Street Journal as “the premier futurist in the national- security environment,” Dr. Singer is considered one of the world’s leading experts on changes in 21st century warfare, with more books on the military professional reading lists than any other author, living or dead. He has consulted for the US Military, Defense Intelligence Agency, and FBI, as well as advised a range of entertainment programs, including for Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, Universal, HBO, Discovery, History Channel, and the video game series Call of Duty, the best-selling entertainment project in history. He served as coordinator of the Obama campaign’s defense policy task force and was named to the US Military’s Transformation Advisory Group, and is an Associate with the US Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute. He has provided commentary on security issues for nearly every major TV and radio outlet, including ABC, Al Jazeera, BBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NPR, and the NBC Today Show. In addition to his work on conflict issues, Singer served as a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy and as an advisor to IDS. In the entertainment sector, he has received awards/ support from the Tribeca Film Institute, Sloan Filmmakers Fund, Film Independent, and FAST Track at the L.A. Film Festival.
His first book Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry pioneered the study of the new industry of private companies providing military services for hire, an issue that soon became important with the use and abuse of these companies in Iraq. It was named best book of the year by the American Political Science Association, among the top five international affairs books of the year by the Gelber Prize, and a “top ten summer read” by Businessweek. Singer advised the Defense Department, CIA, and the European Union on the issue and helped bring to light the role of private contractors in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal and the Halliburton controversies in Iraq.
Children at War was the first to comprehensively explore the tragic rise of child soldier groups and was recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book of the Year Award. Singer served as a consultant on the issue to the Marine Corps, and the recommendations in his book resulted in changes in the UN peacekeeping training program. An accompanying History Channel documentary, “Child Warriors,” won a CINE Golden Eagle Award for excellence in the production of film and television.
Wired for War examined the implications of robotics and other new technologies for war, politics, ethics, and law in the 21st century. Described as “awesome” by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, Wired for War made the NY Times non-fiction bestseller list in its first week of release. It was named a non-fiction Book of the Year by The Financial Times and featured at venues as diverse as all three US military academies, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas, TED, and the royal court of the UAE. The book was made an official reading of the US Air Force, US Navy, US Army, and Royal Australian Navy.
Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know explores the key questions we all face in the cyber age (how it all works, why it all matters, and what we can do?). It was described by the Chairman of Google as “an essential read” and by the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO as “the most approachable and readable book ever written on the cyber world.” The book has been added to the US Navy and US Army professional reading lists and featured at venues like the Microsoft CEO Summit and South by Southwest festival.
Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War (June 2015) is Singer’s debut novel. It melds nonfiction style research on emerging trends and technology with a fictional exploration of what the future of war at sea, on land, in the air, space, and cyberspace will be like in the future. Described as “a modern-day successor to tomes such as The Hunt For Red October from the late Tom Clancy.” (USA Today) and “A Wild Ride” (The Economist), it went through 6 print runs in its first 6 weeks of release. Its new model of “useful fiction” has been endorsed by a unique group that ranges from the head of the US Navy to the writer of HBO Game of Thrones and the producer of Hunger Games.
LikeWar (Oct 2018), which explores how social media has changed war and politics, and war and politics has changed social media. It was named an Amazon book of the year, a NY Times “new and notable,” and reviewed by Booklist as “LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.”
His latest book is Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution. Out on May 26, 2020, it has been described by the creator of Lost and Watchmen as “A visionary new form of storytelling—a rollercoaster ride of science fiction blended with science fact.” and by the head of Army Cyber Command as “I loved Burn-In so much that I’ve already read it twice.”
Prior to his current position, Dr. Singer was the founding Director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution. He was the youngest scholar named Senior Fellow in Brookings’ 101-year history. Prior to that, he was the founding Director of the Project on US Policy Towards the Islamic World, where he was the organizer of the US-Islamic World Forum, a global leaders conference. He has also worked for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a contributing editor at Popular Science, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. Singer received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard and a BA from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
Emerson T. Brooking is a Washington, DC-based writer and an expert on the relationship between social media and conflict. Most recently, he was Research Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations—the youngest researcher in a generation to receive such an appointment. He has served as an adviser on information warfare to the National Security Council, Joint Staff, and U.S. intelligence community.
His first book, LikeWar, will be out in October 2018. It explores how social media has changed war and politics, just as war and politics have changed social media.
Previously, Brooking was Research Associate for Defense Policy, also at the Council on Foreign Relations. In that capacity, he studied defense budgeting and strategy, the national security bureaucracy, and civil-military relations. His coauthored report, “Mending the Broken Dialogue: Military Advice and Presidential Decision-Making,” marked the culmination of a years-long study of defense institutions and use-of-force deliberations.
Brooking’s coauthored November 2016 cover story for the Atlantic, “War Goes Viral,” was the most prominent article to predict the weaponization of social media. His exclusive November 2015 report for Foreign Policy, “Anonymous vs. the Islamic State,” offered the first glimpse of a phenomenon that soon became a national story. Brooking has published additional work in WIRED, Popular Science, and the National Interest. He has provided commentary on defense and internet-related topics to NPR.
Brooking holds a BA in Political Science and Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where his thesis—a study of Roman counter-revolt practices—won the departmental prize.