BIONIC II Challenge

Jul 28 2023 - Aug 15 2023



Addressing Misinformation and Disinformation in the Pacific Islands

The Pacific Islands, comprising a vast and diverse region with unique cultural and ecological contexts, are increasingly grappling with the detrimental impact of misinformation and disinformation. This pervasive issue poses significant challenges to the social fabric, public health, environmental conservation efforts, and overall well-being of communities across the Pacific Islands.

To combat this urgent problem, there is a critical need to engage and empower students/participants to develop innovative solutions that effectively address the spread and impact of misinformation and disinformation in their respective Pacific Island contexts.

Key Challenges

Misinformation Proliferation: The Pacific Islands face a surge in the dissemination of inaccurate, misleading, and false information across various platforms, including social media, local news outlets, and community networks. This misinformation often contributes to widespread misconceptions, prejudices, and distorted perceptions among individuals and communities.

Socio-Cultural Implications: The diverse cultural heritage and social dynamics of the Pacific Islands make the spread of misinformation particularly challenging. Misinformation can perpetuate harmful stereotypes, cultural appropriation, and misinterpretation of traditional practices, leading to social tensions, erosion of cultural values, and strained community relations.

Public Health Concerns: Misinformation and disinformation related to health issues, such as vaccines, natural remedies, or contagious diseases, can significantly impact public health efforts in the Pacific Islands. False information can lead to vaccine hesitancy, delayed treatment-seeking behavior, and the propagation of dangerous alternative remedies, ultimately jeopardizing community health and well-being.

Environmental Conservation and Sustainability: Misinformation and disinformation can undermine environmental conservation and sustainability efforts in the Pacific Islands. False claims about resource management, climate change, or ecological practices can hinder effective policy implementation, impede conservation initiatives, and disrupt the delicate balance of fragile island ecosystems.

Limited Awareness and Information Literacy: Many students and community members lack essential skills and knowledge to discern and critically evaluate information sources. Insufficient education on media literacy, fact-checking techniques, and critical evaluation leaves individuals vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation campaigns, language equity is also an issue.

By empowering students/participants  to take an active role in combating this issue, the challenge aims to promote information literacy, encourage critical thinking, and raise awareness among communities to mitigate the spread and impact of misinformation.

The challenge also seeks to encourage collaboration between students, educators, local communities, and relevant stakeholders to develop sustainable strategies that preserve the rich cultural heritage, protect public health, support environmental resilience, and promote security and stability in the Pacific Islands.

Alignment with USAF Indo-Pacific priorities

CMI strategies for the Indo-Pacific include the following priorities:

  • Facilitate information sharing and collaboration between the U.S. Air Force and local Pacific Island communities.

  • Design training programs aimed at enhancing the information literacy and critical thinking skills of U.S. Air Force personnel operating in the Pacific Islands.

  • Propose collaborative research projects between the U.S. Air Force and academic institutions in the Pacific Islands.

  • Design strategies to promote AF situational awareness about mis/dis in the Pacific islands (e.g.,  identifying key sources of misinformation and disinformation, tracking emerging trends, and monitoring adversary activities to effectively respond to and counter false narratives).


The primary objective of this challenge is to foster innovative ideas and solutions that address the detrimental effects of misinformation and disinformation in the Pacific Islands. Students will create an informational CMI presentation to expose and mitigate maligned influence campaigns.

Challenge Deliverables

1. Identify a case study from the last five years of a malign influence campaign that has impacted an SDG, or security in the Indo-Pacific

2. Conduct an impact analysis of the study and potential threat how it has affected or can affect the Pacific region.

  • What was the likely goal of the mis/disinformation?

  • What was the likely impact of the mis/disinformation?

  • What was the likely reach of the mis/disinformation?

  • How should we prioritize the mis/disinformation campaign?

3. Develop a CMI strategy/solution

  • Classify super-claims, claims, sub-claims.

  • Suggest Solution approaches targeting at least five of the claims/sub-claims.

  • Include solutions drawn from the following CMI strategy types:

    • Innovative Educational Initiatives: Participants should create educational programs or initiatives that promote information literacy, critical thinking, and media literacy skills among students and community members. These initiatives could include workshops, seminars, or interactive campaigns that raise awareness about the risks of misinformation and empower individuals to identify and verify reliable sources of information.

    • Technology-based Solutions: Students are encouraged to explore the potential of technology in combating misinformation and disinformation. This could involve developing apps, websites, or digital tools that provide accurate information, fact-checking resources, or platforms for community engagement in addressing misinformation.

    • Collaborative Community Campaigns: Participants should design and implement community-based campaigns that aim to counter misinformation and disinformation. These campaigns could involve collaborations with local media outlets, community organizations, and influential figures to disseminate accurate information, debunk myths, and promote responsible sharing of information.

Submission and Prize

Please use the attached PowerPoint template to outline your solution, your presentation should be no longer than ten (10) slides. The student who submits the winning solution will receive a $500 cash prize. Good luck, the deadline for your submission is August 15th.

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