Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Friday, August 12th 2016
On July 27, 2016, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, spoke at the 2016 Deterrence Symposium. Here are excerpts from his speech that relate to information:
- Among our most significant challenges is Russia, which since 2014 has destabilized the European security system with an assertive behavior and provocative actions that challenge internationally recognized borders, norms and international laws.
- As a result of the changing environment, EUCOM together with NATO, has instituted a comprehensive shift from assurance to deterrence.
Friday, August 12th 2016
In a tour d’horizon of foreign policy issues as the Obama administration closes, Vice President Joseph Biden published an essay, “Building on Success: Opportunities for the Next Administration,” in Foreign Affairs. It was posted to the magazine’s website on August 7, 2016.
Its major subheads were “The Foundations of Power,” “Pacific Opportunities,” “Managing Regional Powers,” “Tackling Transnational Challenges,” “Defeating Violent Extremism,” and “An Enduring Agenda.”
In the section on “Defeating Violent Extemism,” the Vice President largely spoke of the use of “precise and proportional military actions,” training local forces, partnerships with countries facing domestic extremist movements, humanitarian and stabilization assistance, intelligence sharing, law enforcement assistance, and governance. Here are some of the Vice President’s light touches on ideas and ideologies:Read More
Wednesday, August 10th 2016
“For information operations (IO) professionals long accustomed to incorporating messages into host-nation newspapers and radio broadcasts, it is now imperative that they consider online methods to reach the widest audience targeted by their contemporary information campaign.”
Army Major Gregory Tomlin reported this as a major lesson of a NATO exercise, Trident Juncture, organized by the Allied Force Command (in Brunssum, the Netherlands) with additional players in Canada, Norway, Portugal, and Spain. At the Foreign Service Institute, students have wrestled with the problems of “San Bronico” and “Anthuria.” The NATO exercise scenario involved an invasion of “Tytan” by “Kamon.”
Tomlin described the exercise in an article, “#SocialMediaMatters: Lessons Learned from Exercise Trident Juncture,” in the Joint Force Quarterly issue for the third quarter of 2016. It should interest all Public Diplomacy professionals who are thinking about the turbulence of social media during crises and conflicts. American embassies will be involved, and Public Diplomacy officers need to understand Information Operations.Read More
Wednesday, August 10th 2016
“The Obama administration has revamped a program designed to lure foreign fighters away from extremist groups like the Islamic State, focusing on a series of new advertisements and social media posts that seek to appeal to emotion rather than logic,” reported Helene Cooper of The New York Times in an article, “U.S. Drops Snark in Favor of Emotion to Undercut Extremists,” published on July 28, 2016. “It is the latest in a long series of efforts from the Obama administration at what diplomats and other officials euphemistically call “public engagement,” and the multiple reboots have shown how hard it has been for these programs to find traction,” she added.
The article discussed the activities of the Global Engagement Center, but it addressed a larger point about the use of emotion in effective communication. I recall that this was a key point emphasized by then-Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Charlotte Beers in the first global conference for State Department Public Affairs Officers. Here are some bullet points from the Cooper article:Read More
Quotable: Kristin Colley on U.S. strategic communication in the urbanized, littoral, and connected world of the future
Wednesday, July 27th 2016
Less than two decades from now, our nation’s adversaries “will be extensively electronically connected, able to communicate rapidly and securely via new apps. They will be able to instantly transfer money via phone, and control of the water and food supply lines into cities will allow them consistent access to capital. Additionally, they will be adept at using both traditional and social media to tell their stories and recruit support.”
This changed international environment will challenge the U.S. Marine Corps, wrote Marine Corps information operations planner Captain Kristin Sproat Colley in a deep and searching article, “Combined Arms Effects: Adapting our thinking for the Information Age and urban littorals” in the July, 2016, issue of Marine Corps Gazette. It should be rocketing around the world of Public Diplomacy, foreign policy, and national security. “As is currently the case with the Islamic State, [adversaries] will each promise a solution (individual, national, or international) to the ills of society. The U.S., as the dominant face of Western culture, diplomacy, economics, and imperialism, will naturally continue to be a unifying target, as will her allied governments. They will not fight our technical superiority but our weaknesses in strategic communications and outdated tactics.”Read More