Thursday, April 6th 2017
Information operations in Malaya were a particularly effective tool that led to the surrender of many insurgents while simultaneously bringing the Chinese population of Malaya onto the side of the government. However, this was the result of years of trial and error during which the British gradually adapted their message to meet the demands of the conflict.
Sunday, October 30th 2016
“ . . . ‘modern insurgency’ [is] ‘… essentially a strategic communications campaign supported by military action rather than a military campaign supported by effective strategic communications.’”
Headline: 21st Century Maneuver Warfare
Subhead: Absorbing the lessonsRead More
Saturday, January 2nd 2016
Public Diplomacy practitioners command a repertoire of programs that can be brought to bear on an insurgency – public affairs, media relations, broadcasting, social media, narrative, exchanges, education, media and journalism training, English teaching, and cultural preservation among them. Managing these activities that are a significant part of the “information” element of national power is no easy challenge, so much so that a professional focus on “programs” easily crowds out strategy, adaptation, and innovation.
Think what you may about the use or misuse of Public Diplomacy in Iraq and Afghanistan, Public Diplomacy will again be called to join counter-insurgency efforts. The time to think about it is now, not later.
Marine Corps Second Lieutenant Ben Kallas has usefully reframed the coming challenges to the international order by using the concept of “Fourth Generation Warfare” (4GW), focusing on how the internet empowers insurgents and alters the perceptions and psychology of an opposing nation’s people, opinion leaders, and decision makers. His article, “Counterinsurgency Considerations for the Information Age,” appeared (behind a paywall, alas) in the November, 2015, issue of Marine Corps Gazette.Read More
Wednesday, December 30th 2015
“Military power will win battles in Syria and Iraq, but only soft power can win the war” read the subhead of a December 28, 2015, article by James Stavridis, “Killing the Islamic State Softly,” on the Foreign Policy magazine website. There is a “series of clear steps” to plan a military campaign against ISIS, wrote the retired Admiral, now Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, but it is “far more difficult to outline is what tools and strategies will comprise the long game against the Islamic State.”Read More
Saturday, September 26th 2015
“We Americans instinctively think we possess the panacea for the wicked problems of the world. This arrogance handicaps us. We seldom understand how to exercise tactical patience, and typically do not slow down enough to listen.” So wrote Navy Commander Larry LaGree following his tour as leader of the Asadabad Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province.
His article, “Thoughts on the Battle for the Minds: IO and COIN in the Pashtun Belt,” appeared in the September-October, 2010, issue of Military Review. The article and its strong pushback against top-down “overarching policies” is frequently cited in military literature on the war in Afghanistan.Read More