The George Washington Initiative is an information civil defense force that defends truth and democracy. We disrupt, degrade, and destroy disinformation ecosystems, correct misinformation, and empower members to fight honorably.
Disinformation and misinformation (DisMis) are pervasive and growing, and present a grave threat to social cohesion and stable democratic governance in the United States and around the world. Hostile actors, both foreign and domestic, are employing DisMis tactics to manipulate human emotion, skew political discourse and influence voter decisions. This is a war that started out entirely in the information domain but is now spilling out into the physical world. A comprehensive strategy to combat DisMis has not yet existed. GWI’s goal is to force DisMis ecosystems to collapse and create the time and space for the Legislative Branch to enact policies to safeguard America’s democracy.
The George Washington Initiative is an information civil defense force that defends truth and democracy, working to destabilize and collapse DisMis ecosystems with tactics developed by the information warfare community. These ecosystems are made up of people, and people are the solution, that’s why we’re developing and training an online community to take offensive action against DisMis. It is time for individuals committed to free and fair democracy to start fighting back.
The George Washington Initiative was founded in 2020 and is led by Phil Ehr, a retired U.S. Navy commander, who applies the just war tradition and principles of electronic warfare to this fight. Our team includes professionals with extensive experience in political campaigns, research institutions and military operations. We established a “information civil defense force” to defend democracy, and we named it after George Washington to acknowledge the warning in his Farewell Address against factionalism. We believe that nonviolent messaging analogous to tactics in information warfare and electromagnetic spectrum operations can effectively destroy many disinformation ecosystems. Using such tactics will turn the tide toward the kind of national unity Americans want.
We are facing a societal problem that is made up of people, and people are the solution. We must rely on individuals committed to free and fair democracy to start fighting back. Because, when truth prevails, so does America.
Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare
by Thomas Rid
The introduction to this excellent history explains not only what disinformation is, and what it is not, but also the grave threat it poses to national security.
Twilight of Democracy
by Anne Applebaum
Close personal relationships are casualties of disinformation as much as free-world patriotism is a casualty of partisan tribalism. These accounts from Europe continue the series of alarms for family, friends, and democracies everywhere.
How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict
by Nina Jankowicz
Since the start of the Trump era, the United States and the Western world has finally begun to wake up to the threat of online warfare and the attacks from Russia. The question no one seems to be able to answer is: what can the West do about it?
“The great mass of our citizens require only to understand matters rightly, to form right decisions.”
– George Washington