Earlier this year, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen wrote the Pentagon placed too much emphasis on the strategic in “strategic communication.” The modern environment of New Media and strategic corporals (or captains if you prefer) blur the distinctions (and stovepipes) of tactical, operational, and strategic communication and perception management.
Then came the permission to ditch the Strategic Communication Integration Group, or SCIG, early last month. So, when the SCIG expired on March 1, 2008, instead of rechartering it for another year, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England let it rest in peace. In its place, CAPT Hal Pittman, USN, will form “a communication integration and planning team” within Public Affairs, a group that believes it can inform without influence.
Now comes word the phrase “strategic communication” itself has fallen out of favor at the Pentagon and those with these words on their business cards have been advised to get new cards.
Is it true we’re saying good-bye to strategic communication’s selective emphasis on controlling the narrative, a public relations approach? Is it being replaced by an another word pair that signifies interactive discourse and perception management to indirectly control or affect behavior in the psychological struggle we face today and into the future? What is the new title? And, is “strategic effects” also out of favor?