Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Andrei Shoumikhin


The new and spreading phenomenon of social media and its growing applications have many positive effects for the national security of the US. It may be used as a warning or prevention tool, in military campaigns, e.g., in the war on terror, and as an institutional communication tool. However, social media may also hinder national security. It plays a controversial role in information warfare, may be used as a recruitment tool by terrorists as well as by criminals and hacktivists for purposes of misinformation and spreading uncontrollable threats. Options for dealing with these challenges are as varied as they are controversial. They range from regulating the Internet to leaving social media free of any controls. This thesis evaluates different approaches to regulating the cyberspace while also discussing the positive and negative effects social media has on national security. This thesis finds that social media seems to have a greater negative impact on national security than a positive one. Recommendations include a self-regulation of the Internet rather than an increased government control.


social media, intelligence community, national security, cyberspace, open source intelligence

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Timothy N. Whelpley

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