By Matt Morgan
In the most recent issue of Joint Forces Quarterly, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has put his name on a short commentary that states, "It is time for us to take a harder look at "strategic communication."
The apparent point of the piece is that the admiral believes the military has walked away from the original intent of Strategic Communication, allowing it to "become a thing instead of a process, an abstract thought instead of a way of thinking."
The article presents a number of reasonably good points, most notably the conclusive statement that we need to pay much more attention to what our actions communicate. Unfortunately, the overall effect of the essay makes the Chairman appear late to the game in the eyes of those most engaged in SC concept development. For the most part there is little here to disagree with. But the central argument offers very few substantive observations not already addressed in the USJFCOM Strategic Communication Joint Integrating Concept. Furthermore, it doesn’t so much as bother to acknowledge the DoD’s own SC principles [PDF 1.5Mb], which include — among others — Dialogue, Understanding, Credibility, and Unity of Effort; all key themes presented more or less effectively by the Chairman.