hearts and minds
Thursday, January 19th 2017
“You can call it ‘information warfare,’ ‘hybrid warfare,’ or ‘political warfare,’ but whatever you call it, an adversary’s attempts to shape the minds and will of people toward a political end is not new to the United States. Nor will this be the first time the United States sought to wield these weapons against its foes.”
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. . . by blocking the development and deployment of civilian and overt activities, Fulbright’s actions on the Freedom Academy and the Smith-Mundt Act have done more to militarize American foreign policy than any other single act by denying Congress, policymakers, and practitioners critical experience, methods, and historical precedent to properly defend the nation through nonmilitary means.
Author: Matthew ArmstrongRead More
Saturday, October 8th 2016
During his career, George Gallup (1901-1984), the pioneer of opinion surveys and founder of the Gallup Poll, frequently commented on issues relating to Public Diplomacy. This 1963 essay was prepared during the Cold War, but the principles Gallup advocated seem as relevant to ISIS today as they did to the Soviet Union of yesteryear. One is struck by the way he anticipated the current phenomenon of democratization followed by “one man, one vote, one time.” He urged focus on messages, research, English teaching, and exchanges as well as “ideological warfare.” The “arguments” against “propaganda” that he summed up in this essay, moreover, are still current.
Headline: THE CHALLENGE OF IDEOLOGICAL WARFARERead More
Sunday, September 25th 2016
“The fact that information is biased does not make it false, and the fact that information intends to shape public opinion and action does not make it underhanded or deceitful. * * * America has met the enemy’s PR effectiveness with its own PR failures. Misconceptions about RPA operations have been widespread and continue to proliferate.”
Sunday, August 28th 2016
“Their new weapons are laptops, digital cameras and sets of a low-power, portable radio kit called a ‘radio in a box.’ Their mission: to destroy a target that has proven to be highly resistant to U.S. efforts -- the Islamic State's extremist ideology.” Chad Garland of the Stars and Stripes thus opened an article, “Marines Arm Iraqis, Kurds with 'Clever' Messages to Defeat IS,” published on August 13, 2016. "You cannot defeat an idea with a bullet," U.S Marine Corps Capt. Melissa Giannetto told those seated in the classroom, the first of the Kurdish forces, or peshmerga, to undergo training under the Vocalis Program. Designed by the Marine Corps, it aims to train them to "choose decisive messages that will destroy (the Islamic State's) influence."
Garland’s article also discussed the work of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center. Here are some highlights:Read More
Sunday, June 26th 2016
Soft power. Non-kinetic effects. Nonstate international actors.
Another example of the intellectual ferment among armed forces thinkers was recently provided by three leading retired officers – James Stavridis, Ervin Rokke, and Terry Pierce – writing in Joint Force Quarterly. Their March 29, 2016, essay was titled “Crafting and Managing Effects: The Evolution of the Profession of Arms.”
A recent event – the cyber attack by North Korea on Sony Pictures after it released a film mocking Kim Jong-Un – prompted much of their thinking. Their article examined (1) the new influence of non-kinetic instruments of power, (2) the influence of non-state actors such as the ISIL, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, drug cartels and crime syndicates, and (3) the cyber domain. (When the three refer to “cyber” in the article, they mean not only the electrons but the content.)
It led them to re-examine the concepts in Samuel Huntington’s classic text, The Soldier and the State (1957) and to integrate Joseph Nye’s concept of “soft power” into military thinking, expanding “the battlefield beyond the traditional domains of land, sea, air, and space to accommodate more effectively than ever before the battles of wits.” Some quotes:Read More