The long-lasting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to increased inquiry into the concepts and practices of counterinsurgency (COIN). Eric T. Olson, in his work, focuses on the importance of reconstruction attempts in COIN operations and discusses the role of military. The author served in the U.S. Army for over three decades and retired as a Major General. Currently, Mr. Olson is an independent defense contractor and works with Army brigades and provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) who are preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. As the title suggests, his monograph considers such reconstruction attempts to have uttermost importance in successful military operations.
By Cliff W. Gilmore
In Tom Gjelten’s September 23 NPR story titled “Seeing The Internet As An ‘Information Weapon’” Gjelten asks, “…why is there no arms control measure that would apply to the use of cyber weapons?” One obvious answer is that geography-based legal frameworks are ill-adapted to deal with a domain that is unconstrained by geography and subject to numerous competing interests. The situation is complicated further by an environment that changes at the speed of Moore’s Law.
Perhaps the most significant challenge however may be the information-centric mindset highlighted by Gjelten and prevalent among leaders, planners and communication practitioners alike. Part of the reason we have yet to develop applicable arms control measures for cyber weapons is a continued treatment of communications and communication (sans "s") as a singular activity rather than as two distinct fields of practice, the former grounded in technical science and the latter in social science.
Too little is known in the US about the history of Afghanistan. History is something Americans tend to ignore, often to our detriment. We forget our history and ignore the history of others. Precedence is, in the American mind, reserved only for the law and not to the shaping perceptions or forming public opinion. This is a defect in our approach to global affairs. Such is the case with Afghanistan, where we failed to grasp (and ignored sage advice on) the impact of history on modern events.
Enter The Great Game: Afghanistan, an epic 3-part play (nine hours total) from the UK’s Tricycle Theatre, which explores the “culture and history of Afghanistan since Western involvement in 1842 to the present day.” This play begins its US tour in Washington, DC, next month. It then goes to Minneapolis, San Francisco, and New York. (Why no Los Angeles date? SF does not count.) Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, the US tour is sponsored by the British Council in an example of cultural diplomacy.
According to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, the Defense Department was required to provide a report on
the organizational structure within the Department of Defense for advising the Secretary on the direction and priorities for strategic communication activities, including an assessment of the option of establishing a board, composed of representatives from among the organizations within the Department responsible for strategic communications, public diplomacy, and public affairs, and including advisory members from the broader interagency community as appropriate, for purposes of (1) providing strategic direction for Department of Defense efforts related to strategic communications and public diplomacy; and (2) setting priorities for the Department of Defense in the areas of strategic communications and public diplomacy.
This report (PDF, 660kb) is known as the 1055 report, after the section of the NDAA that called for it.
From “The Great Debate”, a blog at Reuters, First 100 Days: What not to do in public diplomacy by Kristin Lord:
As Senate confirmation hearings approach, America’s next public diplomacy leaders will get abundant advice about how to improve America’s standing in the world. The Obama administration’s nominees (an under secretary and at least two assistant secretaries in the State Department alone) would be wise to listen.
Yet, in truth, America’s new public diplomacy team can accomplish much by following that age old maxim: first, do no harm. Seven key “don’ts” are worth bearing in mind.
1) Don’t let the pollsters get you down …
2) Don’t forget the borders …
3) Don’t forget the Pentagon …
4) Don’t go it alone …
5) Don’t forget old standards …
6) Don’t trust your gut …
7) Don’t forget friends …
Public diplomacy is a tough business. Success usually goes unnoticed, but failures can resound globally. Avoiding missteps is impossible but avoiding these seven mistakes will give America’s next public diplomacy leaders a useful head start.
It’s a short post. Go read the whole thing here.
Public diplomacy, strategic communication, global engagement, “smart power”… each term is a variation on all the others with different kinds of associated activities and focus, but each recognizes the importance that states are not autonomous and that the reactions by individuals and groups of different sizes must be included in the calculus of foreign policy. This is Kristin’s point.
From the Associated Press comes Pace Tries to Ease Iraq Concerns:
ISTANBUL, Turkey – In the troubled region surrounding Iraq, a frequent question posed to the top U.S. military officer visiting the area was not when his troops will pull out of Iraq, but how long they will stay.
From the glittery King’s palace in Saudi Arabia to the devastated slopes of the Pakistani mountainside and a staid Turkish symposium, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sought last week to ease concerns about whether opposition to the war at home could pressure American forces to leave Iraq before it is stable.
"I think it’s fair to say that in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, there is a clear desire for the U.S. to stay with it until the job is done – which, coincidentally, is how we look at it," Pace said Sunday as he left Istanbul for Washington.
On his first diplomatic-oriented trip since last fall, Pace traveled to three countries whose leaders are worried about the U.S. commitment to the Iraq war and the global war on terror. Failure to secure Iraq could fuel insurgencies in their countries and instability in the region, where terrorism is a familiar threat.
I wish I had the time to analyze the news for word usage and framing in the context of the military doing "diplomacy" and related terms. Official DoD news releases do not use the word "diplomacy" or "diplomatic" but do use other key phrases normally associated with State.
- Pace said that he “did more listening than talking” during the
meetings. Still, he was able to answer questions from his counterparts
on U.S. government policy on Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. "It
made for a full and open dialogue," he said….In Turkey, Pace said he tried "to solidify the superb relationship"
between the two countries. "I looked them in the eye and told them the
truth," he said….The chairman said his visits built on previous ones by other government
officials, and said further visits will build on his progress. "We have
to keep the dialogue open so you have ample opportunity to answer the
questions before the questions become confusion," Pace said.
- Good governance, economic development, and education are more important
in ultimately choking off terrorism than military might, Pace said at
the symposium, which is sponsored by the Turkish General Staff. There
is a role for the military in providing security, but economic programs
that create jobs will be the long-term solution to terrorism, he said.
"Once we have security in place, the other elements of national power
will be the keys to the long-term victory in the war on terror," he
said…."Good education systems that do not teach hate, but tolerance of
various religions, ideas and principles" will also help defeat
terrorism, Pace said. "How can any country reach its full potential if
it does not include various sectors of its people, whether it be for
religious purposes, or color of skin or for any other reason, like
gender?" he said.
Where is Condi and her State Department?
Briefly, the Custer Battles lawsuit will likely be an eye opener for many. The Iraq war has been a watershed in the outsourcing of not just tangible assets and roles the military used to provide for itself (meals, logistics) but intangibles also. The role of private military companies in the war, from pre-deployment training to site security to force and VIP/"nation building contractors" protection, are part of the soft power of the United States.
Heads up on a report just acquired by FOIA by National Security Archive: Information Operations Roadmap. The National Security Archive headline describes it thus:
A secret Pentagon "roadmap" on war propaganda, personally approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003, calls for "boundaries" between information operations abroad and the news media at home, but provides for no such limits and claims that as long as the American public is not "targeted," any leakage of PSYOP to the American public does not matter.
Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University and posted on the Web today, the 74-page "Information Operations Roadmap" admits that "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa," but argues that "the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S. government] intent rather than information dissemination practices."
The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, amended in 1972 and 1998, prohibits the U.S. government from propagandizing the American public with information and psychological operations directed at foreign audiences; and several presidential directives, including Reagan’s NSD-77 in 1983, Clinton’s PDD-68 in 1999, and Bush’s NSPD-16 in July 2002 (the latter two still classified), have set up specific structures to carry out public diplomacy and information operations. These and other documents relating to U.S. PSYOP programs were posted today as part of a new Archive Electronic Breifing Book.
Several press accounts have referred to the 2003 Pentagon document but today’s posting is the first time the text has been publicly available. Sections of the document relating to computer network attack (CNA) and "offensive cyber operations" remain classified under black highlighting.
There is a lot to digest in this and related documents. Other priorities prevent me from diving deep right now, but I’ll return to this later.
UPDATE 1 Feb 06 See ZenPundit’s posting on same (but with a different title and 3 days after this post :).