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Thread: Strategic Communications

  1. #1

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    Strategic Communications

    The latest PARAMETERS has included two very interesting and, perhaps, important articles on strategic communication. Strategic communication is an emerging discipline critically important to our national security and yet remains misunderstood and poorly practiced by our nation to date.

    Richard Halloran offers two definitions here-

    Strategic Communication

    His own- "...strategic communication is a way of persuading other people to accept one’s ideas, policies, or courses of action."

    and the official definition offered by DoD-

    “Focused United States government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of United States government interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all instruments of national power.”

    Whew! Is there any wonder that we appear to have some difficulty communicating the otherwise powerful message of democracy?

    Dennis M. Murphy and James F. White offer this DoD definition of progaganda in their article, also in PARAMETERS-

    Propaganda: Can A Word Decide A War?

    “...any form of communication in support of national objectives designed to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of any group in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly.”

    which seems quite close to Halloran's definition of strategic communication but also reflects the confusion with which these concepts are viewed within our government. Murphy and White go further by briefly reviewing America's history of information operations from W.W.I to the present.

    Tying all this together (hopefully) is a coherant vision underwhich our government intends to convey it's message(s) globally-

    The U.S. National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication

    As a matter of interest, I've lifted the DoD Strategic Communications Plan for Afghanistan and included it here-

    Strategic Communications Plan For Afghanistan

    At a minimum, it would be nice if the Afghan plan dovetails and synchronizes it's effort to the national plan. I don't know as I haven't read the national plan yet nor consider myself an expert in these matters.

    To date, democracy represents man's greatest tool to liberate the human spirit for the greater good of all. If accepted in principle, then this message must be effectively conveyed everywhere.

    As a people who created Madison Ave, I know that we can do better than Karen Hughes.)

    I look forward to your thoughts.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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    Definitional problems aside, this is no small task. The saying, "where you sit determines where you stand” certainly comes to mind. Clearly, our foreign/security policy bureaucracy isn’t well configured for coherent “strategic communications," let alone unity of effort.

    And please forgive me, but I've got to add a democratically controlled Congress to the list of impediments.

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    GAO Report on Public Diplomacy


  4. #4
    New Member toby11's Avatar
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    S-2, Your link "Strategic Communications Plan For Afghanistan" gave me the same document as your first link: "The U.S. National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication".

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    toby11 Reply

    Here ya go-

    DoD Strategic Communications Plan For Afghanistan

    Sorry for the sloppiness.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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    Thanks for fixing the link. I am amazed at the detail the US makes available about strategic planning.

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    toby11 Reply

    "I am amazed at the detail the US makes available about strategic planning."

    Our encoded, acronym-heavy, bueraucratese remains a minefield for the uninitiated. Then there's the annexes and appendixes. That usually finishes them off altogether.)

    Better to show them your hand and confuse the enemy altogether. Trust me. We've a decisive advantage, having spent years reading U.S. generated OPLANS and OPORDS, they are both daunting and incomprehensible to most.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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    Quote Originally Posted by S-2 View Post
    Better to show them your hand and confuse the enemy altogether. Trust me. We've a decisive advantage, having spent years reading U.S. generated OPLANS and OPORDS, they are both daunting and incomprehensible to most.
    And we confuse the enemy further by not following what we wrote.

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    OoE Reply

    "And we confuse the enemy further by not following what we wrote."

    Yes sir. A national failing, that one.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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    Quote Originally Posted by S-2 View Post
    "And we confuse the enemy further by not following what we wrote."

    Yes sir. A national failing, that one.
    Both ways, that dog bites us as often as it bites them.

  11. #11
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    It bites them more. We know what they're thinking about us.

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    And hear we thought the "wind talkers" confused them.)
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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