Another example of why we need to get our info house in order

Kip at AM says what I’ve been saying: what the hell are we doing?  While the presentation of the child videos is better than the sterile mil-speak that announced the Zarqawi blooper reel, the separation of public affairs from information operations from strategic communications from public diplomacy certainly affected how the videos were released, the audiences, and ultimately the impact. 

Over a month to release those videos?  That’s better than other video and audio material that took longer or were never released at all that would have put a bright and disturbing light on the roaches.  

At some point you’d think we’d learn and move away from the zero-defect mentality.  The enemy has weaponized information and has maintained — by design — their version of public affairs approval very close to the point of collection that provides tremendous agility in turning around and distributing a media product.  We, the home of Madison Avenue and exploiter of global comm networks for internal comms, have so burdened our approval process that it takes over a month to release the kids video. 

Why the length of time?  Barring some other delay for synchronicity with another operation (which I doubt considering the sloppy and still sterile delivery here), three reasons: a) Information effects isn’t a priority; b) Information can’t be contained, in other words, fear of blowback; and c) A failure to grasp the value of information throughout the chain of command. 

Not only that, but because of a confused and flat wrong interpretation of a sixty year old law that intended to create a voice to speak to the world while working with domestic news agencies, the DoD has little to no creativity in disseminating this important information.  If IO was involved, it was a targeted whisper and not part of a collaborative effort with foreign speakers to shout this from the roof tops. 

Perhaps next time we should enlist UNICEF to help us with the next juicy opportunity to expose al-Qaeda for what they really are. 

2 thoughts on “Another example of why we need to get our info house in order

  1. Matt, Depressing, but not surprising. When we had the audacity to suggest that “PAO” and “IO” cells collaborate in our experiments at USJFCOM J9, we were roundly criticized by our own Public Affairs office — who was convinced that even the hint of association between IO and PA would undermine their “credibility”.

  2. The fear of becoming ‘tainted’ is pervasive.Perhaps indicative of the confusion is what a Director of Strategic Communications told me when talking about a project to engage Americans: “I need to run that by Public Affairs because I don’t do Public Diplomacy.” And this was from somebody at State.

Comments are closed.