A Strategic Perspective on “Information Warfare” & “Counter-Propaganda”

On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, the Emerging Threats & Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee convened a hearing entitled “Crafting an Info Warfare & Counter-Propaganda Strategy for the Emerging Security Environment .”

I recommed watching the worthwhile conversation. Below are my prepared remarks given at the top of the hearing.

Continue reading “A Strategic Perspective on “Information Warfare” & “Counter-Propaganda””

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#59)

March 19, 2017
Seen on the Web, 1521-1570

This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas flow and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by: Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University; Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

Download Don Bishop’s Quotable’s No. 59.

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#58)

March 12, 2017
Seen on the Web,  1461-1520

This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas flow and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by: Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University; Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

Download Don Bishop’s Quotable’s No. 58.

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#57)

March 11, 2017
Seen on the Web,  1394-1460

This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas flow and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by: Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University; Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

Download Don Bishop’s Quotables No. 57.

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#56)

March 5, 2017
Seen on the Web,  1365-1394

This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas flow and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by: Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University; Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

Download Don Bishop’s Quotables No. 56.

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#55)

March 2, 2017
Seen on the Web,  1335-1364

This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas flow and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by: Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University; Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

Download Don Bishop’s Quotable No. 55.

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#54)

February 26, 2017
Seen on the Web 1305-1334

This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas flow and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by: Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University; Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

Download Don Bishop’s Quotables No. 54

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#53)

February 20, 2017
Seen on the Web, 1252-1304

This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas flow and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by: Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University; Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

Download Don Bishop’s Quotable’s No. 53.

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#52)

February 7, 2017
Seen on the Web 1166-1251

This newsletter provides a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports of interest to practitioners and scholars of strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. “Quotables” are gists of articles and reports available on the website of the Public Diplomacy Council.  “Seen on the Web” entries provide key quotes and links. They:

  • bring to busy overseas practitioners some of the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields.
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy.
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy —  military public affairs, strategic communication, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, for instance.
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.  These are labeled “Classic Quotables.”

Edited by
Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University
Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

Download Don Bishop’s “Seen on the Web” No. 52.

The Past, Present, and Future of the War for Public Opinion

The myth of the United States Information Agency as America’s defense against political warfare lives on. Just last month, the Director of National Intelligence repeated calls for a muscular USIA. Others have declared that the absence of USIA has left us vulnerable.

In November 2015, I wrote that these and similar invocations of USIA are coded laments that “we lack a strategy, an organizing principle, and empowered individuals to execute information warfare today.” These calls also ignore the role our actions have in influencing the minds and wills of others. Informational activities — whether public affairs, public diplomacy, strategic communication, or psychological operations — is not “pixie dust” that will magically transform a mind when actions contradict the words. This is not merely an issue of values versus interests, though that is a factor. No, whatever psychological or information instrument we employ cannot compensate for absent or ill-conceived policies and plans.

Last month, in The Past, Present, and Future of the War for Public Opinion, I expanded the look back into the environment which gave rise to USIA. But USIA was a public affairs bullhorn and never charged or prepared, structured, or properly equipped, including training, to deal with the realities of political warfare, defensive or offensive, despite the mythology. It’s notable that examples given to support arguments that USIA was responsive to the Soviet Union’s nonmilitary aggression are not from the “cold war” period marked by political and ideological conflict waged before borders the walls went up. Instead, they come from the “Cold War” bipolar order marked my military confrontation between two superpowers and proxy battlefields.

As I wrote in The Past, Present, and Future of the War for Public Opinion, the Congress essentially re-established a USIA with regards to its coordinating function. It’s named the Global Engagement Center. The other components, the elements of great substance and impact, exist in the State Department. The Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), for example, continues to languish under a lack of direction, poor support, and self-marginalization as successive unit leaders chased resume-building initiatives rather than national security requirements or supporting inter- and intra-department needs.

We need to focus on the people, organizations, and tools we have before wasting more money on new toys. Money cannot buy a solution. There needs to be leadership, a purpose, training, accountability (as well as tolerance for experimentation and failure), and an overall a strategy. What does success or “victory” look like? Knowing what we are attempting to achieve, followed by how we can achieve the goal or goals, helps define the methods and never is the solution a bigger bullhorn.

I closed the latest article with a quote from 1963 that fits today as much as it did then: “Someday this nation will recognize that global non-military conflict must be pursued with the same intensity and preparation as global military conflicts.”

Read the whole article here: The Past, Present, and Future of the War for Public Opinion.