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Jedburgh
07-19-2007, 02:39 PM
New from RAND:

Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation (http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2007/RAND_MG607.pdf)
COIN and other stability operations are central to the current operational environment and are likely to remain so in the future. These operations demand a unique focus on shaping indigenous audiences. Virtually every action, message, and decision of a force shapes the opinions of an indigenous population. Creating a unified message is key in this regard, as the words and deeds of coalition forces must be synchronized to the greatest extent possible. U.S. force actions help set conditions for establishing credibility and fostering positive attitudes among the indigenous population, which, in turn, enable effective and persuasive communication. We have identified commercial marketing practices that can assist the U.S. military in its COIN shaping endeavors. We have also drawn on the insights of U.S. military personnel and past operational experiences....

Tom Odom
07-19-2007, 04:44 PM
Being a compulsive index and bibliography scanner, I was somewhat to see absolutely no FMs, Joint Pubs, CALL products, or anything other service or agency listed. That to me indicates this study on marketing is shaped by its own sources.

That said, I will scan read it further.

Tom

PS Somewhat eating my own words I looked again. Found 2 FMs on PSYOP and 1 on IO. 4 Joint Pubs on PAO, IO, Urban Ops, and PSYOPs. 7 other pubs from DoD, UN, DoS, and USMC. Still there are no studies from CALL--and we have done many that are relevant--and other forums like SSI.

More later

Jedburgh
07-19-2007, 04:57 PM
...I was somewhat to see absolutely no FMs, Joint Pubs, CALL products, or anything other service or agency listed. That to me indicates this study on marketing is shaped by its own sources.....
Same here. I would have expected to at least have seen current PSYOP doctrinal pubs included in the bibliography. The "marketing approach" is not a new concept.

However, there are quite a number of interviews listed with CA, IO, PAO, PSYOP and other military personnel. In that context, you are 100% correct in that the study is "shaped by its own sources", and it states up-front in the Preface that the contents of this monograph rely heavily on interview comments made by members of the U.S. military and the commercial marketing industry.

Tom Odom
07-19-2007, 05:01 PM
Jed,

Where the shaping concerns me is the selection of the military participants. I don't see a lot of operators or operational HQs here, suggesting that the study like the entire subject of IO has been "desynched" from the operations side.

Again more later.

Best

Tom

Tom Odom
07-19-2007, 06:05 PM
Ok quick read later and I pretty much restate the concerns here. this study makes some great points and totally misses others. It is fine to talk to civilian advertising types and military IO, PSYOPs, and even CA types. They speak a similar language and their ideas are mutually supporting. But to mean anything, you have to engage the operations and the intelligence side. Making suggestions concerning training is easy if you do not engage those doing the training.

It is not bad--it is just in a bubble.

Tom

SWJED
07-21-2007, 10:32 AM
20 July Washington Post - The Pentagon Gets a Lesson From Madison Avenue (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/20/AR2007072002163.html?hpid=topnews) by Karen DeYoung.

In the advertising world, brand identity is everything. Volvo means safety. Colgate means clean. IPod means cool. But since the U.S. military invaded Iraq in 2003, its "show of force" brand has proved to have limited appeal to Iraqi consumers, according to a recent study commissioned by the U.S. military.

The key to boosting the image and effectiveness of U.S. military operations around the world involves "shaping" both the product and the marketplace, and then establishing a brand identity that places what you are selling in a positive light, said clinical psychologist Todd C. Helmus, the author of "Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation." The 211-page study, for which the U.S. Joint Forces Command paid the Rand Corp. $400,000, was released this week...

Jedburgh
08-30-2007, 10:47 PM
Shifting Fire: Information Effects in Counterinsurgency and Stability Operations (http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usacsl/publications/ShiftingFire.pdf)
The “Information Operations and Winning the Peace” workshop, held at the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, was a collaboration between the War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership (http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usacsl/index.asp) (CSL) and the Advanced Network Research Group (http://www.cambridgesecurity.net/project-anrg.html), University of Cambridge (UK). It brought together, over a three-day period (29 November to 1 December), an audience of some 60 leaders and practitioners representing the military, national security, intelligence and interagency communities, as well as academia. It included representatives from the U.S., UK and Canada. The venue was CSL’s Collins Hall and the workshop structure consisted of introductory expert briefings followed by small group discussions. Three case studies drawn from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict served as the “driver” for small group work. These case studies examined aspects of the second Intifada phase of that conflict (circa 2002) and looked at the realities and challenges of managing “information effects” in a counterinsurgency at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. The case studies provided a jumping off point for discussion of the issues and challenges facing U.S. and coalition militaries in adapting to the complexities of the “long war.” The workshop was an unclassified event, and the Israeli-Palestinian case studies allowed participants to engage issues without prejudice or risk to on-going operations.....

tequila
08-30-2007, 10:55 PM
Interesting choice of scenarios - not one I would have chosen. Israel/Palestine is not really a case of COIN as there is no real struggle for control over population loyalty or security.

Jedburgh
08-30-2007, 11:05 PM
Interesting choice of scenarios - not one I would have chosen. Israel/Palestine is not really a case of COIN as there is no real struggle for control over population loyalty or security.
You're right - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an example of pure COIN. But neither is the situation in Iraq, and each of those two is as different from the other as they are from classic counterinsurgency. However, there are certainly applicable lessons to be learned.

Clive Jones, who wrote an excellent piece on Israeli intelligence failings in Lebanon which also holds lessons for Iraq, wrote this other article related to the scenarios above which also makes for an interesting read:

One Size Fits All: Israel, Intelligence, and the Al-Aqsa Intifada (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/polis/research/pdf/wp16cjones.pdf)

murphyd
08-31-2007, 04:45 PM
The Israeli-Palestinian context was chosen for two reasons. First, as a proxy case for thinking about Iraq and Afghanistan, the case study approach freed up participant discussion and encouraged out of the box reflections and learning. Second, the Israeli experience has certain significant parallels with current operations in Iraq, although it also has significant differences. (See page 13 of the unabridged study). The importance of the report is really in the take-aways regarding current operations.

Cavguy
08-31-2007, 08:58 PM
The Israeli-Palestinian context was chosen for two reasons. First, as a proxy case for thinking about Iraq and Afghanistan, the case study approach freed up participant discussion and encouraged out of the box reflections and learning. Second, the Israeli experience has certain significant parallels with current operations in Iraq, although it also has significant differences. (See page 13 of the unabridged study). The importance of the report is really in the take-aways regarding current operations.

I absolutely love the paper. Great Work! The observations below are very useful.

Never assume you are on the moral high ground, and that you therefore don’t need to message. (Perceptions of moral authority/legitimacy)

An intervening armed state tends to be seen as “Goliath,” while non-state actors that resist are often cast as “David.” (Perceptions of moral authority/legitimacy)

Targeting insurgent leaders won’t stop the resistance and the resulting informational effects may fuel further radicalization. (Tactics versus strategy)

Direct action against a threat may create positive informational effects with home audiences, but negative informational effects in the COIN theatre. (Informational effects: challenge of different audiences)

When a campaign’s strategic narrative contradicts the observed realities of your soldiers on the ground, it can hollow out the army’s morale. (Informational effects: challenge of different audiences)

Eliminating insurgents won’t stop the resistance or the terror tactics. (Tactics versus strategy)

When it comes to rumors of war-fighting gone wrong, the first stories onto the wire stick. Even if these stories prove to be exaggerated or false, the damage to your reputation, and moral legitimacy, is hard to erase. (Information sequel: perceptions of moral authority)

Humanitarian action undertaken to limit civilian casualties should be documented and communicated before, during and after action. (Informational sequel and prequel: perceptions of legitimacy; preempting and dispelling rumors)

Even if you don’t trust certain media, engage them. Restricting media gives an informational advantage to your adversary. (Information management: perceptions of legitimacy)

Western democracies have low tolerance for the moral ambiguities of kinetic action. This is especially so when, in the heat of battle, mistakes or civilian casualties occur. Kinetic action that violates the law of war creates informational effects that decrease domestic and Western support. (Informational effects: perceptions of legitimacy)

Political messages that target domestic audiences can spillover to other audiences, and create detrimental informational effects in the COIN theater. (Informational effects: GIE and challenge of different audiences)

Cohesive all-of-government coordination can yield synchronization of the message, but not necessarily the effects. (Informational effects: Perceptions of legitimacy/perception management)

Information Operations need to keep going, even after the physical action is over. (Information sequel: perception management)


Read the whole thing!

St. Christopher
09-07-2007, 02:07 PM
For what the RAND team was commissioned to do by JFCOM, Enlisting Madison Ave achieves its goal. Maybe it was shaped by its sources, but those sources are pretty on-target with their criticisms of the larger military strategic communications (SC) apparatus (IO/PSYOP/PA). My biggest criticism of the book is that it's militarily focused. With the talent on the investigative team and for a little more money, RAND could have done a dynamite study incorporating Interagency and international SC elements.

There were several edits to the book from its original incarnation, Enlisting Geckos, Camels, and Clydesdales, (a title I preferred). Some interesting material fell out, particularly the recommendation for a PSYOP general officer.

Jedburgh
10-16-2007, 04:53 PM
USIP, 15 Oct 07: Developing Media in Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations (http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/srs/srs7.pdf)
Summary and Recommendations

• In war-torn societies, the development of independent, pluralistic, and sustainable media is critical to fostering long-term peace and stability. Post-conflict civilian populations are particularly vulnerable to manipulation by mass media as tensions run high and the possibility of violent relapse remains strong. Many civilians harbor deep skepticism and mistrust of the media, being accustomed to platforms that are controlled either by the state or by political groups looking to further their political agendas.

• An effective media strategy can mitigate postwar tensions by elevating moderate voices and dampening extremist ones. It can create peaceful channels through which differences can be resolved without resort to violence. The creation of a robust media culture will also allow citizens to begin holding their government accountable for its actions and ensuring its commitment to democracy.

• Efforts to develop local media institutions should be undertaken separately from attempts to develop strategic communications. In an increasing number of non-permissive environments (i.e., environments where security is not fully established), the distinction between these two endeavors is blurred because of a mistaken assumption among some players that both activities share the same purpose and goal.

• A poorly developed media strategy can be detrimental in a war-ravaged country still rife with violence. A hastily conceived plan may reinforce divisions between warring parties or create a weak media sector that is vulnerable to exploitation by warlords, political patrons, and spoilers. Media development efforts also fail when the public does not trust them to establish a credible source of information.

• Ideally, given the media’s capacity to shape war-torn countries, interveners should apply a coherent strategy in the pursuit of media development. Unfortunately, no such strategy yet exists and thus interveners have little guidance as to what tools and methods work best in the development of media institutions. In fact, media development is still conducted on an ad hoc basis from conflict to conflict.

• This report seeks to fill this strategic gap. More particularly, it recommends that interveners take the following series of steps as they generate a strategy for media development in post-conflict zones.
Complete 20 page paper at the link.

Cow Cookie
02-01-2009, 06:39 AM
I’m a lurker on this board who’s a student of the media. In addition to viewing all the usual COIN topics, I spend much of my time reading comments about the media’s actions. The tone seems to me to be generally critical of the media’s performance.

While I can think of good arguments both for and against this assessment, I’m intrigued at how the media, especially our own Western media, seems to be treated differently than other players in the COIN fight. Many who are adept at co-opting former enemy fighters into their COIN strategy are quick to malign, insult or disparage media organizations who, like it or not, will be the ones telling the story to the local populace or those back home.

The media is clearly a part of COIN strategy at higher levels, but for some reason this view does not seem to have trickled down to lower levels to the extent that other COIN strategies have. I’ve heard many soldiers in Iraq tell reporters that they don’t like the media in general or the reporter’s paper in particular. I’ve never heard soldiers tell Iraqis that they just don’t like that person’s neighborhood, party or sect – even if they might feel that way privately. I think you can see this on these very boards: Many complaints about the media, very few complaints about the local populace or their organizations. This seems counterproductive.

My gut feeling is that many view the media as somehow outside the COIN fight instead of an integral part of it. Ironically, it seems many find it easier to conceptualize Arab and Afghan media as part of COIN than Western media. My guess is that this is because we already view the Arab and Afghan populations as the target of our efforts, while we view Western media as unfaithful allies. I’d argue that COIN efforts must target both local media to undermine the insurgency and domestic media to build support for the counter-insurgency.

I’m not saying much of the reaction against the media isn’t justified. I just don’t think leaders and soldiers are as pragmatic in their attitude toward the media as they are with other aspects of COIN.

This is not to say that media shouldn’t be held accountable when they screw up. Yet the top-to-bottom focus should be on relationship-building efforts the same as with any other part of COIN. Even commanders who lose a soldier to an IED don’t stop community development altogether, although they may berate the local council. If they can work with complicit locals in that environment, it should be easy to set aside suspicions and work with media organizations.

So I’m curious, whether you think I’m completely off base. Is the media, particularly Western media, an accepted part of the COIN at all levels or is it seen as an opponent in an us-versus-them conflict?

ODB
02-01-2009, 06:42 AM
If I post on pure emotion I will not stay with the good graces of the SWJ. I will sleep on it, then answer with a level head.

Additionally please go here link (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=1441) and introduce yourself

Cavguy
02-01-2009, 08:01 AM
Cow,

Read this article (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/02/changing-the-organizational-cu-1/) by LTG William Caldwell, CG of Fort Leavenworth and former MNF-I spokesman and the discussion on the board here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=4806). I'm happy to say my initial reservations have all been well addressed. He's been requiring all officers and organizations at Fort Leavenworth to regularly engage with the media - traditional and non-traditional.. In fact, it's a CGSC graduation requirement.

My opinion, we have to engage with the media to win, and accept that some of the time we won't get the reporting we want - the benefits of engagement usually outweigh the costs.

Tom Odom
02-01-2009, 08:33 AM
Also look at this newsletter from CALL--put together by yours truly from JRTC.

Media is the Battlefield (http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/call/docs/07-04/toc.asp)

And its follow on

Media relations (http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/call/docs/09-11/toc.asp)

That has an article by LTG Caldwell

Best

Tom

Cow Cookie
02-01-2009, 08:47 AM
ODB, those are exactly the emotions I’m interested in exploring.

I’m a reporter, so I admittedly come at this from a different perspective. But I have a hard time understanding why soldiers get so angry at the media when they deal so calmly with so many other situations that, to my mind, are much worse than even the most unfair news story.

For example, I’d been with a unit for a few weeks when an IED killed a soldier. The soldiers went door to door asking neighbors near the blast if they’d seen or heard anything. Each said they were inside at the time, even though it was a beautiful day. I was amazed by how calmly and professionally the soldiers handled the situation even though residents clearly knew more than they were saying. A platoon sergeant later confided that he was seething inside, but he never gave any hint of that to the Iraqis. The mindset was, “Mission first.”

That pragmatism isn’t always there with the news media, though. I’ve had countless soldiers tell me when I show up for an embed that, “I’ve just got to warn you, I don’t like the media. It’s nothing personal, but I had a bad experience one time and I can’t stand journalists.”

Even if that bad experience was unjustified, this strikes me as a very unpragmatic approach in an organization that prides itself on pragmatism. And chances are, the soldier has had many other bad experiences in other arenas that he or she doesn’t allow to affect the mission. What about the media gets under soldiers’ skin?

Cavguy, great article and discussion. I see that on the ground. Leaders in many units have a required number of “leader engagements” in which they must talk to the media (although I can also see arguments that that might be swinging the pendulum in the other direction). In general, I think the leaders generally have it down pretty well.

But where most junior soldiers have a very good understanding of the soft approach that COIN requires (limit damage, build relationships, etc.), I haven’t found that to be the case in regards to the media. Tom Odom expressed this very well in the discussion you reference:

We have been pushing the idea that the media is much like terrain; it is part of the battlefield and you have to adapt to it. No one I know likes humping a ruck through mountains. But most of us don't waste our time disliking the mountains. Instead we change loads or find another way to go. The same line of reasoning applies to the media.

And like I said earlier, I think soldiers conceptually view the Arabic and Western media differently. As a westerner myself, I can be just as guilty of this misconception (ie. IO is something the military does to them, while PAO is something the military does for me).

Schmedlap
02-02-2009, 02:51 AM
Even if that bad experience was unjustified, this strikes me as a very unpragmatic approach in an organization that prides itself on pragmatism. And chances are, the soldier has had many other bad experiences in other arenas that he or she doesn’t allow to affect the mission. What about the media gets under soldiers’ skin?

My observation is that you are just as likely to have a Soldier deal in a counterproductive fashion with the media as with the indigenous population. I think the difference is that, as a media member, you are more likely to notice ill will towards the media whereas I, as a former small unit leader, was more likely to notice inappropriate behavior towards the population.

If there is a more commonplace acting out of resentment towards the media - which I admit is possible - then it is most likely because reporters seem to be drawn towards the dumbest guy in the unit who is most likely to say something stupid. But, that is partly a leadership shortcoming for allowing it to happen, so I don't place all of the blame for that on the reporter. Another possible reason is that we think we have a better chance of influencing the population and it is more directly tied to the mission. Many of us feel that we're never going to get a fair shake from the media in this war, because this war was started by someone whose ideology does not line up with the dominant ideology of the media. For example, when I was in Bosnia, we did not view the media as hostile. It seemed that they wanted to report good news because they liked the guy in the White House. After 2003, hating the President seemed to be the media version of converting to the one true religion. Was it really necessary for the NY Times to put Abu Ghraib photos on the front page 30 times? There is a difference between reporting the news and actively seeking to create a sensationalized propaganda coup for your enemies. The NY Times did not just slightly cross that line - they sprinted across it and then did an end-zone dance.

I would also add that there is a special type of resentment set aside for the media because they've seemed to take such pride, since 2003, in taking cheap shots at the men and women who risk their lives to defend their rights to disparage us. Even when they are not taking cheap shots, there is an amazing propensity for many journalists to demonstrate almost unfathomable ignorance in their reporting and they have a seeming inability to not view the news through a bizzaro lens that fits their often woefully incorrect preconceived notions. I'm not saying that any of this justifies counterproductive interaction with the media - and I've never let it affect me when dealing with the media. I'm just trying to shed some light on the source of the resentment. The resentment is justified. But, as Soldiers, we are not justified in losing our bearing.

Just to reiterate, while I recognize that I may be wrong, I think that counterproductive interactions with the indigenous population are more common and more problematic than counterproductive interactions with the media, so I question your assumptions. If it is your anecdotal experience against mine, then I guess we'll just agree that you'll say tomato and I'll say tomato (that never comes across well non-verbally).

Ken White
02-02-2009, 03:36 AM
Tales of misquotes and out of context statements drive the troops to avoid the media. There are exceptions and a few have told me of specific reporters -- also few -- that were always welcome. In fairness to the reporters on the ground, they have frequently complained to people I know that their stateside editors changed the story. My sensing is that AP is held in particularly low regard in this regard...

There were problems early on with local stringers who would appear before fire fights. Thus the troops inferred, rightly or wrongly, that they had connections with the bad guys. Stuff like that gets passed along and grows as it travels. Most outlets then tried to do a better job with the stringers but the problem persisted in Iraq until recently. Afghanistan seems to attract wandering western journalists who appear to want to show NATO / US atrocities or cluelessness more than they wish to get accurate stories. Not there, haven't been -- but have heard that perception voiced by some who have been there.Each theater is a little different.

Tom Odom is correct, the Armed forces and the Media have to live with each other. The Officers and senior NCOs will do that -- however, the lower ranked guys are not as constrained by a sense of duty so they let their feelings show. With them, a lot of trust has been abused in their view and they are not a forgiving bunch of people. It's easy for many media types to dismiss them as the great unwashed and Joe Sixpack in ACUs -- but the troops sense that and they resent it strongly. Some will get along with the media, most will not. I doubt they will try to mend the rift -- and there is one. It doesn't serve either side well but in the view of most I know, the media screwed the deal and Joe isn't disposed to try to unscrew it.

A recurring complaint, minor and even petty to some but serious to those making it, is that the media is pretty ignorant about things military. Improper terminology, wrong names and a host of minor misunderstood things appear in print and foster the perception that many in the media don't know much and do not care that they don't know much. That to some is an indicator of low regard and no one likes to believe they are held in low regard. Some media folks have written books about the current wars; I have not heard one universally praised by anyone in uniform, on the contrary, most have been panned for "making stuff up that the writer couldn't have known."

FWIW, this is not a new phenomenon, same thing happened in Korea to a lesser extent and in Viet Nam to about the same extent.with the same set of complaints at about the same volume.

Interestingly, there may be a Texas factor at work here. In SEA in the early days, the Press was enamored of Kennedy and thus, anything we in the area did was fine and was well and pretty accurately reported. After Johnson became President, it all went down hill rapidly. Johnson was not popular with the media and it showed in coverage in Viet Nam post 1965. Some will say it was due to other factors but having been there at the time, that was not my sensing; it was going to be wrong, no matter what.

joelhar
02-05-2009, 02:27 PM
...So I’m curious, whether you think I’m completely off base. Is the media, particularly Western media, an accepted part of the COIN at all levels or is it seen as an opponent in an us-versus-them conflict?
Of course the media is a part of COIN but there has to be a balance. The US Military is not allowed to "lie" to the media, I'll be gosh-darned if I know what law prevents this, but Public Affairs officers are loathe to even stretch the truth. Their overriding concern is always to be perceived as truth-tellers. When Information Operations operators and planners work with PA folks there used to be a lot of animosity and mistrust, but this appears to no longer be the case. As a matter of fact in Afghanistan it is codified that they work together and on almost all staffs there is cooperation.

But, there are two primary parts of Information Operations that make it difficult for PA and IO to work together, sometimes to the detriment of PA. Psychological Operations and Military Deception. The perception that PSYOP lies, while thy usually emphasize facts supporting their point, implies to some in the media that working with PSYOP means you might be not telling the truth (a misperception). Military Deception, by its very nature, either hides the truth in plain sight or absolutely obscures our true intentions, this could be perceived as outright lying. Thus there is a perception that anyone working in IO may or may not be telling the truth. This has also seemed to lead a misperception by some media members that the military is always 'not telling the truth'.

Another problem is that bad news sells. I can walk the media through countless shows of positive progress but the story that will sell deals with tragedy, corruption, illegal activities or another sort of a negative story. I've seen media folks not paying attention at demonstrations and slip away to find a "Joe Tentpeg" and ask their story, hoping to find a scoop. I can't fault them for this, not personally, but professionally it hurts.

Another problem is presenting the story. Dead babies worked great in Lebanon in 2006, showing the Israelis to be brutal, cruel, heartless - terrific negative press. The 2008/2009 Israeli-Hamas war saw Israel controlling media access to the battlespace and maximizing a myriad of media to portray their story, but the media was hobbled and spoon fed some stories.

How does this relate to COIN? Embedded media works, but it has inherent risk. Press releases are boring, press conferences are useful because it is more human, but empowering the press allows them to roam and see the truth for themselves. Issuing a list of 'must sees' to the media is an idea that occasionally works, but generating interest outside what appears to be official channels will draw media reporting - and this is a true challenge.

Cultural sensitivity is another really important issue. The military is beginning to understand that cultural differences create problems and is aggressively solving the problem when it occurs. But the media has the same problems, especially if they are foreigners... highlighting the difference between two very disparate cultures shows how well the situation is being addressed when successes do occur.

This is all difficult but must be done...

Spud
02-06-2009, 11:28 PM
Tales of misquotes and out of context statements drive the troops to avoid the media. There are exceptions and a few have told me of specific reporters -- also few -- that were always welcome.

A recurring complaint, minor and even petty to some but serious to those making it, is that the media is pretty ignorant about things military. Improper terminology, wrong names and a host of minor misunderstood things appear in print and foster the perception that many in the media don't know much and do not care that they don't know much. That to some is an indicator of low regard and no one likes to believe they are held in low regard.

Over the past few years my experience with the lads has led me to believe that the disagreement/mistrust/disgust between our soldiers and journos has been based on the perception of professionalism. The digs are hyper-critical. They spend their lives training and perfecting their skills and operate in an environment where everyone is focussed on excellence. When mistakes occur we immediately apply critical thought processes and analyse the mistakes to see what we can learn from them so that it doesn't happen again. The organisation is focussed on excellence from the individual level up. Now picture a journo ... he/she writes well but in no way is a SME in the military field. They focus on their next deadline rather than the longer term and through their processes essentially wipe the slate clean each time an article is published. The media game is focussed on the next 24 hours so much that the past is simply that ... the past. Journo's essentially start each working day fresh with no real organisational consequence for what happened the day before (unless they commit a shocker). In essence you have two organisations that are diametrically opposed in their work ethic/value set and the consequences of those factors are all too real to one group while they are esoteric to the other.

I think Professor Phil Taylor sums it up quite well in one slide -- "The Clash of Cultures"

Importantly this doesn't mean we can't work together ... we spend a fair bit of time educating our digs about these differing values so that we can build better relationships. Breaking the parochial military view of everyone else on the battlefield is key and as soldiers get more exposure, experience and education they are not as quick to jump to values-based decisions.

Ken White
02-07-2009, 12:44 AM
Troops than we now do. It would also help if DoD could develop a concise Pamphlet to assist in the education of the media types so they can use the terminology a little more accurately and understand to whom they were talking. No easy fixes on this one, regrettably...

Schmedlap
02-07-2009, 12:49 AM
Dog eat cat?

Ken White
02-07-2009, 01:10 AM
That was a few years ago. Today's Dogs are also kinder and gentler and just harass the Cats to distraction, they make no attempt to kill 'em.

I think that bullet on the slide alludes to the desire to become a really big name no matter what the cost to competitors or even one's own institution or organization (or, apparently from today's world, ones own ethics). Much as the 'dog eat dog' implies that seniority is not only not respected, it is to one's credit to trump a nominal senior or elder of the pack. It's the Columbia University School of Journalism's apparent answer to everything -- "me, me, me..."

SWJED
02-07-2009, 11:35 PM
... in our SWJ column This Week at War (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4665) by Robert Haddick (Westhawk (http://www.westhawk.blogspot.com/)).

The military and the media - two scorpions in a bottle?

An anonymous journalist who covers the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ventured onto the Small Wars Journal discussion board to ask the question, "How well have we incorporated the media into COIN [counter-insurgency] efforts?" The anonymous journalist went on:

I'm intrigued at how the media, especially our own Western media, seems to be treated differently than other players in the COIN fight. Many who are adept at co-opting former enemy fighters into their COIN strategy are quick to malign, insult or disparage media organizations who, like it or not, will be the ones telling the story to the local populace or those back home.

The media is clearly a part of COIN strategy at higher levels, but for some reason this view does not seem to have trickled down to lower levels to the extent that other COIN strategies have. I've heard many soldiers in Iraq tell reporters that they don't like the media in general or the reporter's paper in particular. I've never heard soldiers tell Iraqis that they just don't like that person's neighborhood, party or sect - even if they might feel that way privately. I think you can see this on these very boards: Many complaints about the media, very few complaints about the local populace or their organizations. This seems counterproductive.

This reporter's reasonable question was met with some impassioned responses from the Small Wars Council's combat veterans. The soldiers expressed their frustration with what they saw as the media's preconceived conclusions and propensity for distortion. One soldier noted the differences he personally witnessed in the media's behavior covering Bosnia (supportive of the policy) compared to Afghanistan and Iraq (not supportive).

The tempestuous relationship between the military and the media is both ancient and enduring. But it is also an issue that the U.S. military, and especially the Army, is now addressing in a thorough manner. Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the commander of the Army's Combined Arms Center (a sprawling system of schools and training programs), has had his staff study the issue and prepare "how-to" manuals on media relations, written for soldiers in the field (see here and here). Chapter titles include such topics as, "Arab Media Interviews and the American Commander," "Breaking Through the National Media Filter," and "The Al-Qaeda Media Machine."

It remains to be seen how long it will take General Caldwell's efforts to reach down to the captains and sergeants now on patrol in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Schmedlap
02-08-2009, 02:14 AM
No commenting feature at the FP blog? Too bad. I'd be interested to see what perceptions are among the non-military readers of that site.

William F. Owen
02-08-2009, 02:36 PM
Well as one of only two full-time defence analysts employed by a UK based news organisation during both A'Stan 01 and Iraq 03, I have lectured a far deal to military audiences on this. I'll paraphrase my main points,

a.) Engaging with the media comes at great risk of loss and very little of gain.
b.) The media can and does invent stories with little chance of being challenged. They military cannot do the same.
c.) In order to compete with the media, you need to make "information warfare," into "physical warfare." Physical restrictions are both legal, and workable.
d.) Most US and UK military Media organisation are not fit for purpose, and those advising them mostly preach a doctrine beneficial to the media and not the military.

If media are part of a COIN effort, then they need to be "under command." If not "under command," they are a high risk liability.

Rex Brynen
02-08-2009, 04:23 PM
I might add that the very topic of how well have we incorporated the media into COIN efforts plays about as well in the journalistic community as how well do we incorporate the military into whistle-blowing and critical investigative reporting would in the military.... :rolleyes:

William F. Owen
02-08-2009, 04:26 PM
I might add that the very topic of how well have we incorporated the media into COIN efforts plays about as well in the journalistic community as how well do we incorporate the military into whistle-blowing and critical investigative reporting would in the military.... :rolleyes:

Could not have said it better!! Exactly!

Ken White
02-08-2009, 06:24 PM
is in competence. The media is not ever going to be really competent due to commercial pressure. That's life...

The media (and the politicians) will look for stories, bad news sells (and garners votes. Maybe...). The Armed Forces can be more competent than they now are by a fair degree without a great deal of effort and at small cost. Such competence will attract far less adverse media (and political) attention and that will likely offset the slight cost increase.

Rex Brynen
02-08-2009, 07:20 PM
...I don't think the media is quite as incompetent as he does.

Certainly, there are a great number of poor media outlets, lazy reporters, and a lot of playing to the entertainment demands of the market rather than informing and analyzing. Those sorts of weaknesses apply in any industry or organization.

That having been said, as someone who works with both open source/media information (in my usual academic capacity) and top-end classified stuff (when sometimes wearing an intel analysis hat), I have to say that not only is the former sometimes/often more nuanced and informative than the latter, but that above and beyond this 1) the latter would often make little no sense without the broader contextualization offered by the former, and 2) the fact that so damn much of value now appears open source allows collection to be focused on confirming OS information, or examining the known (and potential) unknown unknowns.

Of course, it depends on what particular issues you're working on. I do political assessment. If, on the other hand, I wanted detailed analysis of military deployments or combat operations, I wouldn't look to the media for particularly informed or nuanced material.

Ken White
02-08-2009, 10:08 PM
...I don't think the media is quite as incompetent as he does.(He probably doesn't either but he does have fun slinging mud at them...) :D That having been said, as someone who works with both open source/media information ... and top-end classified stuff... I have to say that not only is the former sometimes/often more nuanced and informative than the latter...AgreedIf, on the other hand, I wanted detailed analysis of military deployments or combat operations, I wouldn't look to the media for particularly informed or nuanced material.True -- and, the generic reason for my less than nuanced shotgun blasts. That's where their ignorance and thus inadvertant incompetence show.. :wry:

Thus my comments and my belief that we have a problem of almost mutually repellent objects that can have a non problematic relationship only if one object changes; it is IMO to the advantage of the military for them to change as insistence on media change is unlikely to be heeded.

There is no news in jobs well done; dog bites man is not a story...;)

joelhar
02-09-2009, 01:21 PM
In my current position I'm working with the media more every day and I have found most of the Washington DC based Journalists show one of two faces: honest and enthusiastic and/or jaded and cynical. I find it fascinating when a journalist asks for a teleconference number to phone in rather than showing up in person, in my personal opinion they miss the opportunity to see faces and pursue follow up questions or introduce themselves to a good source...

I've also had the rare opportunity to work with real hard-core professionals who have done their homework ahead of time, work both sides of an issue, ask probing questions that elicit a lengthy response, and that recognize the nuances which can mean life or death for the guys on the ground. These folks are a genuine pleasure to work with, even though they sometimes drag my sorry butt through the mud with their search for the truth...

J Wolfsberger
02-09-2009, 04:40 PM
I have to disagree with you, Ken. The media is very competent. The real question is: competent at what? That is the central issue, and I think it gets at the role the media has played in our current COIN operations. The key points, IMHO, are:

1. Advocacy journalism. The US is an evil empire, with an army composed of ignorant economic losers, led by a bumbler from Texas, and after they return to civilian life they either kill themselves or go on killing sprees. Does all of that sound familiar? Every single bit is a narrative from the NYT, CBS, MSNBC, ... just about all of the national media. I realize for the journalists and editors it's nothing personal, but if you're on the receiving end of this it's personal as hell. Of course the military doesn't like the people who are seen as slandering them.

2. The media is involved in COIN - for the other side. I don't think it's so much that they want the jihadis to win, as that they want the US to lose. For evidence, look at Reuters refusing to call terrorists "terrorists." The NYT publishing anything that comes along that casts the US in a bad light. I could go on for pages. The point is, if the media is seen as acting in a way that benefits the other side, they can't be surprised when the people on our side treat them as adversaries - they are.

3. Using soldiers as pawns to advance their narrative. Haditha. Enough said?

I appreciate that the media should have a role. But I come from a period in time when the ideal of that role was to present all the facts and let people decide. The media of today sees itself as an active participant in affairs, one with special privileges, having no accountability to anyone, and acts accordingly.

Ken White
02-09-2009, 06:13 PM
I have to disagree with you, Ken. The media is very competent. The real question is: competent at what...

1. Advocacy journalism....

2. The media is involved in COIN - for the other side...

3. Using soldiers as pawns to advance their narrative. Haditha. Enough said?

I appreciate that the media should have a role. But I come from a period in time when the ideal of that role was to present all the facts and let people decide. The media of today sees itself as an active participant in affairs, one with special privileges, having no accountability to anyone, and acts accordingly.Not only do I bow but I will also present corroborative evidence of your brilliance:

LINK. (http://www.ap.org/pages/about/whatsnew/wn_020609a.html)

With an attitude like that, who needs enemies. An award for advocacy journalism, COIN involvement and the tossing of a Pawn or two on the fire... :rolleyes:

That causes me to restate something I said earlier: "...it is IMO to the advantage of the military for them to change as insistence on media change is unlikely to be heeded."

Sad. Really.

Schmedlap
02-09-2009, 06:50 PM
While reading that link, I had to remind myself, several times, that it was being written by a journalist, rather than someone in the comment section of a far-left blog. Holy crap.

He could have summed it up in one sentence rather than a lengthy article:

Shooting you in the back was easy and enjoyable until you so rudely moved and caused me the inconvenience of having to reacquire you in my sights.

Rex Brynen
02-09-2009, 07:11 PM
While reading that link, I had to remind myself, several times, that it was being written by a journalist, rather than someone in the comment section of a far-left blog. Holy crap.

He could have summed it up in one sentence rather than a lengthy article:

Shooting you in the back was easy and enjoyable until you so rudely moved and caused me the inconvenience of having to reacquire you in my sights.

The article reports on a journalist/editor/CEO expressing his personal views to an audience of fellow journalists/students where it would be fully appropriate for him to express his personal opinions. I didn't find anything in it that was especially objectionable—I find the references to al-Qa'ida a bit too silly and rhetorical for my tastes, but people tend to get rhetorical when delivering rhetoric.

When journalists stop advocating for first amendment rights/freedom of speech/etc is when one really needs to worry. If people find it odd that journalists think they should be free to to their jobs, then there is even mutual misunderstanding than I first thought! :D

Ron Humphrey
02-09-2009, 08:19 PM
The article reports on a journalist/editor/CEO expressing his personal views to an audience of fellow journalists/students where it would be fully appropriate for him to express his personal opinions. I didn't find anything in it that was especially objectionable—I find the references to al-Qa'ida a bit too silly and rhetorical for my tastes, but people tend to get rhetorical when delivering rhetoric.

When journalists stop advocating for first amendment rights/freedom of speech/etc is when one really needs to worry. If people find it odd that journalists think they should be free to to their jobs, then there is even mutual misunderstanding than I first thought! :D


This part somewhat confounds me
said the news industry must immediately negotiate a new set of rules for covering war because "we are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable."


Might just be me but i coulda sworn thats what having three separate but equal branches was all about:confused:


Exactly how should organizations such as the military who spend probably a good 30+% of their resources ensuring they keep themselves in check recieve such statements as this. Especially from those who help run organizations who not only in perception but in known highly visible reality tend to spend 85% of their time and efforts looking for whats wrong with others yet should anything be askance on their homefront will quickly turn all 100% toward CYA rather than owning up to it.


If people find it odd that journalists think they should be free to to their jobs, then there is even mutual misunderstanding than I first thought! :D

Perhaps theres something there

maybe definition of what exactly their job is??

Ken White
02-09-2009, 08:29 PM
...I find the references to al-Qa'ida a bit too silly and rhetorical for my tastes, but people tend to get rhetorical when delivering rhetoric.Said another way, actors play to their audiences. And this guy is an actor; he's a product of the USA Today / Gannet empire. Al Neuharth taught those folks all they know -- and 'just the facts' was not a part of his money grubbing equation. His, Neuharth's. autobiography is well named (LINK) (http://www.amazon.com/CONFESSIONS-SOB-Allen-H-Neuharth/dp/038524942X)....

Couple of quotes from the article I linked :

"""Much like in Vietnam, "civilian policymakers and soldiers alike have cracked down on independent reporting from the battlefield" when the news has been unflattering, Curley said. "Top commanders have told me that if I stood and the AP stood by its journalistic principles, the AP and I would be ruined."
. . .
"...He declined in an interview to say who said AP could be "ruined" for sticking to its principles, but "I knew that they were angry."""

I suggest he declined in an interview to say who said AP could be ruined because that didn't happen. The First Amendment gives him the right to give names. Professional ethics and any kind of moral grounding -- if they were possessed -- would require him to give names. BS artist got caught -- by his own folks...

This too:

"""His remarks came a day after an AP investigation disclosed that the Pentagon is spending at least $4.7 billion this year on "influence operations" and has more than 27,000 employees devoted to such activities. At the same time, Curley said, the military has grown more aggressive in withholding information and hindering reporters."""

Innuendo. I strongly question the numbers that are quoted -- if they mean the entire DoD information operation to include the Public Affairs folks, probably -- but pure info operations. No way.When journalists stop advocating for first amendment rights/freedom of speech/etc is when one really needs to worry. If people find it odd that journalists think they should be free to to their jobs, then there is even mutual misunderstanding than I first thought! :Dit isn't a mutual misunderstanding Rex, it IS a deep and abiding antipathy. Earned by both sides, unquestionably. However in my observation, the media precipitated it and I was present in Viet Nam when that highly regrettable downward spiral started.

The bad thing is that the public whom both sides support and need suffers due to that disconnect.

BayonetBrant
02-09-2009, 09:46 PM
Might just be me but i coulda sworn thats what having three separate but equal branches was all about:confused:




If they were actually equal anymore, that'd be a good argument, but since the executive seems to run roughshod over the other two for the past 15-20 years, I'm not so sure that's a good argument anymore...

Ken White
02-09-2009, 10:52 PM
over the other two -- and for longer than the last 15-20 years (See Roosevelt, F.D and Truman, H.S.). Few can compare to the abilities of Johnson (because he knew Congress better than any before or since) or Nixon (who didn't care) in the fairly successful running business. Yet, both of them effectively got trumped by the other two...

Clinton got squashed by Congress several times, as did Bush 43. The courts also backed off Bush 43 on several counts. All Presidents try to extend their power, few succeed. The current one will also try (already is) -- he's equally unlikely to succeed.

ODB
02-10-2009, 05:10 AM
and my thoughts with the press today. Honestly I say we throw them all out, stop providing them security, and let's see how far they get. Funny how quickly they forget Daniel Pearl!!!!

Don't dare use the word terrorist.

Don't remind people about 9/11 by replaying the images of the twin towers burning.

Don't report what truly takes place, put your spin on it, to get headlines and be the editors pet for the day.

Journalist are about as lowly as politians in my eye!!!

Yes I am jaded and will be for years to come.

Hey you journalists out there anyone want to come tell the stories of the men I work with who are still doing their jobs with limbs missing? Not sensational enough for you, you'd much rather cover the woe is me, look what happened to me and now I'm against the war people. Guess what those people volunteered, they signed the paperwork, they are just upset they had to actually go earn their paycheck. None are worse than this one Duckworth (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28995926/).

Want me to respect you and be somewhat open to you, you have got to earn it, do what is right. As long as you continue your shady ways, I will continue to go out of my way to avoid you and crush you every chance I get.

Sorry for the rant, but you wanted to know why I feel the way I do, this is just a small taste, the politically correct version.

George L. Singleton
02-10-2009, 05:20 AM
Cow Cookie:

Take a look at my posting last year [2008] pushing for revived Voice of America programing as per the 0/11 Commission Formal Recommendations, to counter Arab media negative to us, in particular al Jazeera.

As an older hand who used to work wargamming as a Chief of same for old USREDCOM, which then became USSOCOM (I was a reservist at the Assistant Chief of Staff level in both outfits, a weekend warrior, not an active duty type) civil affairs and psychological warfare was then, at least, one of our greatest weak spots.

Since 9/11 however, I thought we had changed over to the imbeded media people with all our units and forces in the field in Iraq and perhaps Afghanistan.

Did you overlook imbedded media in your comments?

Did you think about inclusing of Voice of America in the overall media umbrella efforts in your comments?

Youger, educated Pakistanis, Pukhtuns, and Iraqis do listen to and watch TV broadcasts from and by VOA current tense and many comment on their native websites that they like the programming, particuarly the Western music on air for them to enjoy.

Low key sideline comments by me for your reply or reaction.

davidbfpo
02-10-2009, 12:17 PM
A story in The Daily Telegraph (UK) on UK-sponsored adverts in Pakistan, to show the West is not the enemy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/4576893/British-Muslims-star-in-anti-extremism-advert-in-Pakistan.html

The Guardian (UK) slightly more detailed report: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/10/pakistan-advertising-campaign

Might fit in a Pakistani thread, but this one is about media and COIN.

davidbfpo

davidbfpo
02-10-2009, 12:58 PM
Currently there are two UK TV series on Afghanistan; a popular "hardman" with the British troops, two episodes so far and he is respectful of the Taliban's fighting skills, with 1m viewers: one review article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/3670611/Ross-Kemp-in-Afghanistan.html and to the programme http://sky1.sky.com/ross-kemp-2

To come, I think next week, is a fly-on-the-wall documentary on the medics who serve, mainly reservists.

Maybe some unintended effects, dispite "minders" and spin doctors. Ross Kemp's comment for example on the lack of helicopters will be noted widely.

davidbfpo

BayonetBrant
02-10-2009, 02:10 PM
(Just a note - I hope my off-the-cuff comment above about the gov't doesn't end up derailing this conversation.)



I will say that there are some perfectly good journalists out there who are trying hard to do the best job they can. I will also say that many military folks I know paint journalists with a broad brush of adversarialism with very little understanding of a journalist's perspective. Journalists are from an entirely different world, and many times they will make errors of context, perspective, or understanding not out of malice, but out of lack of knowledge. It's ignorance, not animosity. You can educate and train, but without living the military 24-7-365 it's hard to understand for an outsider.

This is why you will see quotes taken out of context - because the reporter lacks the context to properly frame them.
A great example was back in the '90s when ABC did a report on racism at Ft Bragg. Sam Donaldson was hammering on some company commander about why he didn't investigate reported racist incidents in his company. The CO CDR had reported the incidents to the BDE EO office, and was told that they were investigating. Under the Army policy at the time, the CO CDR was forbidden from investigating EO incidents himself, which is why he turned it over to the BDE EO office. Donaldson kept pounding on this CPT about why he didn't 'take responsibility for his unit' (paraphrasing) and investigate anyway. Donaldson lacked the requisite context of the EO office and how it worked to understand why the CO CDR backed off. It was not his job. But he was the guy sitting in front of the camera, so he got the questions.

I will tell you that I've got 14 years in uniform under my belt (4 active, 10 ARNG) and I work with a defense contractor now that I'm out. I also have my first 21 years growing up in the Army with my father, a career redleg. Oh, and my Master's degree is in Journalism, and 2 of my dad's brothers are journalists. I see this from both sides.

There are young guns out there - as there are in every field - who want to make a name for themselves by pushing for something that grabs attention. For every cub reporter out there trying to play 'gotcha' with a soldier, there's a soldier out there trying to be uber-sniper of his rifle platoon, and for every editor out there that thinks he's onto the great cover-up story of our generation, there's a brigade S2 or S3 out there who thinks he's cracked the code on the local insurgent groups and how to get them to stand down.

What is lacking is the context (to each other) of how those guys are motivated, trained, led, and resourced.

How do you fix it? Well... for one thing, I think the journalism field is one that could benefit greatly from an influx of military folks. I don't mean retired O-5 pundits, either. I'm talking about a horde of E-4s who do their 3-4 years and head off to college on the GI Bill, who enroll in J-schools with the intention of becoming a reporter somewhere. It ain't easy, either, because after earning your way up a few ranks in the Army, then going through 4 years of school, you're going to be starting over at the bottom of the journalism food chain, wondering why you're on the same rung with some 21-year-old fresh-faced undergrad who'd never traveled more than 50 miles from home, except for a trip with the Spanish Club back in high school. But you're walking into an interview with a newspaper with an understanding of deadlines, commitment, sacrifice, mission-focus, and world of perspective that those kids won't have (and likely a few more passport stamps, too). You're used to working crappy hours, and a lot of them. You understand hierarchy and that you earn your way forward in the office and that things aren't just handed to you.

There's a lot that one-termers can teach a newsroom, but it won't be a situation where you walk into a new job, and 2 weeks later you're off to cover ISAF as an embed. You'll start out covering city council - and surprise, surprise, there's a lot of context and understanding that reporters lack there, too. You'll have to write stories about planning board meetings, the sheriff's new anti-speeding task force, and school reassignment. But you earn your way forward, and you eventually get that assignment cover a deployment to the Horn of Africa.

What does all this have to do with incorporating media into COIN efforts? You have to understand the people you want to incorporate. You have to work out some sort of 'exchange' program where you do more than just host an embed for 6 weeks on deployment. Host an embed for 6 months at your post. Have him show up for everything - formation runs, IWQ, NBC training, the NTC deployment, the re-enlistment ceremonies, the hail & farewell.
And then send your PAO, a company XO, one of your S3 NCOs, all to the local newspaper to work there for several months. Let them shadow a reporter when he goes to cover the school board and see what he goes through. Let the company XO write a news story - on deadline! - about a local political campaign event, and have the newspaper editor critique it.
It'll take some balls to get some BDE/DIV commander to approve that, but if you want to really understand how the media work, this is something to consider. Once you get an understanding of how the media work, you're much better positioned to incorporate them into any effort, not just COIN.


(boy, that was a LOT longer than I'd intended to write)

J Wolfsberger
02-10-2009, 04:01 PM
To amplify on my earlier comments, there are still enough of the old school journalists who believe in telling the story straight to make the difference clear. (From your comments on various threads, you seem to fit in that group. Don't take what I wrote personal. :D)

As for your comments about embedding, I recall an interview with an editor or publisher from the MSM, circa 2002 or 2003. (Sorry, I can't recall more detail than that.) His complaint about the embed process was that the journalists became too sympathetic to the soldiers. (I think he referred to it as bonding with the people they were supposed to be covering.) He didn't like it because it wasn't producing enough dirt.

IMHO, the adversarial relationship is a creation of the media. If they wanted to end it, they would have to begin by rejecting the current concept of journalistic "ethics" and return to the older ideal of dispassionately presenting the facts.

As an example of a journalistic I respect, check out Charlie LeDuff at the Detroit News.

Ken White
02-10-2009, 05:52 PM
IMHO, the adversarial relationship is a creation of the media. If they wanted to end it, they would have to begin by rejecting the current concept of journalistic "ethics" and return to the older ideal of dispassionately presenting the facts.I'll add that I hear and agree with everything Bayonet Brant said -- but...

I agree that Journalism would strongly benefit from being joined by persons with some military experience -- two points occur to me. There won't be enough former military types attracted to journalism to swing the net media anti-military / great unwashed attitude and, worse, those who do opt for such a career will generally have only limited military experience and possibly some biases of their own...

I've spent my entire 75+ years around one service or another, 45 of them in the Marines or Army or working as an Army Civilian employee, am very interested in many aspects of the profession, read a lot -- and I still learn new things every day. I'm not at all sure the average SPC/SGT or 1LT/CPT will bring that much to the profession. It will help, surely but I doubt that it'll produce the major change in knowledge --and more importantly, attitude, that is required for better cooperation and reportage.

The counterpoint of sending military people as interns or assistants to local media outlets may have some benefits -- provided one could get Congress and the media to accede to it. John T. Fishel on another thread suggested that the US Government could solve the unity of command problem in a given nation or theater by the President simply pointing his finger and saying "You are in charge." That is unlikely to happen because Congress would object (Republicans if a Democratic President were to do it or vice versa; ostensibly over Departmental roles and missions, practically over tainting either 'side' with the other). Same thing applies to embedding the Press in the military or the reverse. The adversely affected (in their view) side will get their allies in Congress to object. Consider the MV-22 in service despite the objections of a couple of SecDefs, strong lobbying by other industry entities and the Army and only lukewarm support by the Navy...

But I digress -- back to the Military and the Media. The cliche oil and water are appropriate. I hear and appreciate what Bayonet says -- I strongly doubt it will make much difference; the cultures -- as Spud pointed out LINK (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=66078#post66078) are too different...

ilots
02-12-2009, 04:39 AM
Did you think about inclusing of Voice of America in the overall media umbrella efforts in your comments?

Youger, educated Pakistanis, Pukhtuns, and Iraqis do listen to and watch TV broadcasts from and by VOA current tense and many comment on their native websites that they like the programming, particuarly the Western music on air for them to enjoy.
However, for quite a while, "we" insisted on promoting objectives other than (& often counter to) our COIN objectives. This have included such things as the diss. of radio media with female broadcasters & singers in heavily Pashtun areas. The BIG picture is often too clouded by our political & social agenda.

Spud
02-12-2009, 06:53 AM
I've spent my entire 75+ years around one service or another

Holy #### ... Grandad?
:D

Ken White
02-12-2009, 05:55 PM
Holy #### ... Grandad?
:Dthat you are getting perilously close to geriatric abuse. Not now an international crime but as those twerps from the Baby Boomer generation approach maturity it will certainly become illegal...

You have been warned! ;)

(Oldest Granddaughter has an Iraq tour under her Riggers Belt... :D)

Spud
02-12-2009, 09:17 PM
You know us Aussies ... no respect for the old and feeble ;) Every now and then someone over here brings up the idea of of the big E. Nothing like clearing a way to the top by knocking everyone off who's over the hill.

Jas

Ken White
02-12-2009, 09:53 PM
You know us Aussies ... no respect for the old and feeble ;)Poms??? :D... Every now and then someone over here brings up the idea of of the big E. Nothing like clearing a way to the top by knocking everyone off who's over the hill.However, now that you mention it, I do recall that as a 'Stryne trait, tall Poppies and all that...:cool:

And it's true here, too -- 'at's why I became retarded, to open some room for the less competent... ;)

ODB
02-19-2009, 03:13 AM
SF Soldier becomes the first amputee to complete Jumpmaster Course
By SFC Jason B. Baker

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service Feb. 6, 2008) – For most Soldiers when they join the Army there are a set of schools they set their eyes on as goals to complete. Schools like, Air Assault, Ranger and Pathfinder. For any airborne qualified non-commissioned officer the natural goal would be the Jumpmaster Course.

For one NCO achieving this goal faced more than just a minor set back; but Sgt. 1st Class John (Mike) Fairfax, Special Forces Intelligence NCO, Headquarters Support Company, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), became the first amputee Soldier to successfully complete the Jumpmaster Course, Nov.15 and performed his first duty Dec. 3.

Link (http://news.soc.mil/releases/News%20Archive/2009/February/090206-05.html)

J Wolfsberger
02-19-2009, 01:39 PM
It doesn't fit the "poor soldier as victim" narrative.

BayonetBrant
02-19-2009, 02:06 PM
Or more likely, very few civilians will have sufficient context to understand what the Jumpmaster course is all about, and why it's such a big deal for an amputee to succeed at it.

Again, I return to my overly-long post above... let's not automatically ascribe malice to someone where lack of perspective or understanding is more accurate.

J Wolfsberger
02-19-2009, 04:20 PM
Or more likely, very few civilians will have sufficient context to understand what the Jumpmaster course is all about, and why it's such a big deal for an amputee to succeed at it.

Again, I return to my overly-long post above... let's not automatically ascribe malice to someone where lack of perspective or understanding is more accurate.

You, too, shall become a cynical old fart someday. :D

ODB
02-20-2009, 02:29 AM
It doesn't play into woe is me crowd. I'm just glad finally it's published some where. 3 years ago I was on a scuba team, we were at the pool one morning where a guy was being blessed off to go back to a scuba team with one leg. He was being tested to see if he could still do it, guess what he passed. He is now at the SGM Academy......

Doesn't matter the context, any story can be told in way that the context is understood IMO.

BobKing
02-21-2009, 04:49 AM
Several years ago Robert Kaplan spoke to a SOF class at the Army Command and General Staff College. I can't recall whether he uttered these exact words or not, but I left thinking he had explained how most of the media were "Journalists First, Americans Second." I know he made the point that much of the media see themselves as "citizens of the world."

His visit was shortly after writing "The Media and Medievalism (http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/3432216.html)"

In that article, he writes about the Marines fighting in Fallujah, and how they were forced, by the actions of the media, to call a cease-fire resulting in "snatching defeat from victory."

Specifically:

No matter how cleanly the Marines fought, it was not clean enough for the global media, famously including Al-Jazeera, which portrayed as indiscriminate killing what in previous eras of war would have constituted a low civilian casualty rate. The fact that mosques were blatantly used by insurgents as command posts for aggressive military operations mattered less to journalists than that some of these mosques were targeted by U.S. planes. Had the fighting continued, the political fallout from such coverage would have forced the newly emerging Iraqi authorities to resign en masse. So American officials had no choice but to undermine their own increasingly favorable battlefield position by consenting to a cease-fire. While U.S. policy was guilty of incoherence — ordering a full-scale assault only to call it off — the Marines were defeated less by the insurgents than by the way urban combat is covered by a global media that has embraced the cult of victimhood.

I would recommend also checking out Kaplan's "The Media and the Military (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200411/kaplan)"

Cavguy
02-21-2009, 05:44 AM
In that article, he writes about the Marines fighting in Fallujah, and how they were forced, by the actions of the media, to call a cease-fire resulting in "snatching defeat from victory."

I think the threat of the entire Iraqi Governing Council to resign and the decision of AMB Bremer/LTG Sanchez all had a wee bit to do with it.

Most of that was not because of our media - but the reaction generated by Arab media.

TristanAbbey
02-25-2009, 04:20 AM
Folks,

Some may be interested in this Q&A with John Nagl I've just posted. The basic theme is whether counterinsurgency is even possible given:

a) media-driven society
b) counterinsurgencies take a long time
c) counterinsurgencies are very messy

Nagl says yes. URL is:

http://bellum.stanfordreview.org/?p=370

Here's a quote:

The fact that a think-tank had to publish a statement on war aims seven years into a war is not a ringing endorsement of strategic communications policy to date, but it does not prove that the American people are unwilling to bear the burdens of counterinsurgency campaigns if they are explained as honestly and completely as possible.

While I agree with him on strategic communication, I'm not sure we are willing to bear the burdens. Of course, this is just based on discussions with average Americans...i.e. my friends.

Happy to discuss. I imagine this question has come up before.

Tristan

John T. Fishel
02-25-2009, 12:24 PM
on Ameirican willingness to bear the burden of war has been done by Peter Feaver of Duke. Although it was written pre-9/11 the Iraq war data seems to bear him out. Sorry, don't have the cite (http://books.google.com/books?id=lbwlim_0FIMC&dq=choosing+your+battles&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=sOFoKaJ2Y8&sig=NWu21BxyUjkVtx-CGsKNh8GV40w&hl=en&ei=CmWlSdPfDJCMngf1p-mYBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPP10,M1) but you should be able to find it pretty easily.

Cheers

JohnT

politicsbyothermeans
02-25-2009, 01:30 PM
I wonder what's worse... an honest national dialogue concerning our strategic aims, to include counterinsurgency, or the national apathy we are currently experiencing.

Oh wait, nevermind.

Ken White
02-25-2009, 05:34 PM
non-interference and allowing people to get on with their job only intruding if they see what looks like a potential screwup or something they don't like.

The public reaction to these wars is not one bit different than it was to Korea or Viet Nam -- 1/3 supports (President's Party), 1/3 objects (opposition party) and 1/3 swings back and forth depending on how well or bad the war is going.

Right now we're in a State of flux because for only the second time in our history, we've got a political party transition during a war. The Korean transition was different because there was only one theater and the transition President had campaigned specifically on ending that war. Today, the transition President has said he will end (sort of, not well defined) operations in one theater and ramp up operations (sort of, not well defined) in the other...

It's going to be interesting to watch the Republicans and their supporters transition to anti-war types. I figure that will take about 18 months to two years. I'm also curious to see how the old 'anti-war' crowd that was adapts to the new regime. :D

So Joe Six Pack is waiting to see what happens. It's not apathy. :cool:

jmm99
02-25-2009, 06:28 PM
from Ken
Right now we're in a State of flux because for only the second time in our history, we've got a political party transition during a war. The Korean transition was different because there was only one theater and the transition President had campaigned specifically on ending that war.

I can see why you'd want to forget Vietnam. Same deal as Korea - Nixon's secret plan to end the war, etc.

Yes, it will be interesting to see if our crystal balls are accurate as to your first two sentences.

from Ken
It's going to be interesting to watch the Republicans and their supporters transition to anti-war types. I figure that will take about 18 months to two years. I'm also curious to see how the old 'anti-war' crowd that was adapts to the new regime.

and, as to the last sentence, I have been watching that - some (majority ?) of the left anti-war crowd are now becoming a bit hawkish; some are feeling betrayed - and their sense of betrayal will grow.

The old 'anti-war' crowd on the farther right (http://antiwar.com/) (good daily press links), as they have from the time of Bosnia, will continue to deliver their message, which also often appears in the American Conservative (http://www.amconmag.com/index.html).

Here is a sample article (http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=14278) on dove to hawk conversion.

Ken White
02-25-2009, 07:27 PM
I can see why you'd want to forget Vietnam. Same deal as Korea - Nixon's secret plan to end the war, etc.Viet Nam the war was effectively decided and over when Johnson announced he would not run for reelection.

Therefor, the election changed no attitudes and thus, in the sense of the political parties attitude toward our wars, Viet Nam was an aberration, By the time of the 1968 election the Democratic Party and its supporters were as opposed -- or perhaps more -- to the war as the Republican side had been.

The major difference between Viet Nam and all our other wars with respect to the 1/3 rule was the worldwide late 60s 'counterculture revolt' of the Baby Boomers which totally skewed the norm. Their mostly anti-military (anti-draft, actually) 'protests' were far different from previous or later protests about various wars. They were admittedly manipulated by North Viet Nam and US leftists. They also got undue media attention so they impacted the norms of war support or opposition.

They wanted to "change the system." They did, they became the system -- and they have almost totally screwed it up (check your daily news for details...). Maybe totally. The only thing they learned was 'don't knock the troops;' so in this war, we get "I support the troops but not the War" from a bunch of flakes that would go berserk if their son or daughter decided to be one one of those troops. :mad:

Thank you for allowing my earlier suppressed and possibly over lengthy rant to emerge. :D

jmm99
02-25-2009, 08:41 PM
Some mild comments - since I pretty much agree with your rant - so, take these in the spirit of "refinements". All quotes are from you.

Viet Nam the war was effectively decided and over when Johnson announced he would not run for reelection.

Decided, yes (Johnson blinked hard); but, unfortunately, not over (you know the KIA and WIA totals better than I - and the 1968-1972 iterations of the war did much of the damage that plagued the military thereafter).

By the time of the 1968 election the Democratic Party and its supporters were as opposed -- or perhaps more -- to the war as the Republican side had been.

More complex than that. I had feet in both parties at that time; but discussion of the complexities would not be useful to this thread. After the election, most Republicans and some Democrats lined up with Vietnamization; while most Democrats and some Republicans opted for something akin to Get Out Now - so, the rather clearly defined lines in the 1972 election.

The major difference between Viet Nam and all our other wars ... Baby Boomers .. anti-draft, actually... They wanted to "change the system." They did, they became the system ... so in this war, we get "I support the troops but not the War" from a bunch of flakes that would go berserk if their son or daughter decided to be one of those troops.

Good rant - get it out of your system. :)

There's a Bill Corson (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F07E3DC1F3BF933A15754C0A9669C8B 63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1) story, perhaps apocryphal, where he spoke before a large college audience. He asked all the guys to hold up their draft cards. The audience thought - "Oh goody, we'll have a draft card burning." Not quite, Corson said something along these lines: "Now, most all of your cards have 2-S (student deferment) on them. What I want you all to do is contact your local draft boards and have them changed to 1-A. Then, I want you all to request immediate induction. If you then feel as strongly against this war as all your speakers here have said, you should then refuse induction. You then will be prosecuted and probably serve time in prison. If you really believe what you say, that is how you will do your part to end this war." He got no takers and some booing.

Ken White
02-25-2009, 09:56 PM
Your refinements are noted but they change nothing of consequence to what I said originally -- purposely omitting Viet Nam to avoid just such a diversion -- so what are we doing? Angels? Pin?

You are BTW incorrect on the 1968-72 iterations caused later problems. That course had been set in 1965. Thank LBJ and RSM plus terribly flawed personnel policies. The 69-72 stuff was simply the sprouting of the 65-68 seeds. The 1975-85 Army was involved with removing the deadwood left.

Unlike you, I had no feet in either party in 1968 -- or ever; both are totally venal, corrupt and more concerned with self than the nation so I support neither -- but this isn't a political blog so the jury will ignore that statement. I may have missed something here in the States in 1968, I was occupied elsewhere. I was here in 1967 and again in 1969. Our recollections apparently differ and that could be due to that lapse of presence on my part or to residing in different parts of the nation. Regardless, there is no reason for our views to be reconciled, we can differ because the difference is irrelevant to the point -- opponents from both parties...

Perhaps we can now return to Tristan's thread which was:...The basic theme is whether counterinsurgency is even possible given:

a) media-driven society
b) counterinsurgencies take a long time
c) counterinsurgencies are very messy

Nagl says yes. ..

I think the more important question is should we engage in counterinsurgency operations given Tristan's parameters and I would answer no, we should not.

However, to the question asked, I agree with Nagl, yes, it is possible.

Ron Humphrey
02-25-2009, 11:18 PM
Perhaps we can now return to Tristan's thread which was:

I think the more important question is should we engage in counterinsurgency operations given Tristan's parameters and I would answer no, we should not.

However, to the question asked, I agree with Nagl, yes, it is possible.

I wonder however what you think of the particular issues that I perceive support it.

1- Probably most predictable reason we shouldn't do it is because in order to conduct a counterinsurgency other than at home you have to pick sides.
(Historically we haven't been very adept at doing that, as you and others have often pointed out.)

2- (This one is more touchy but seems just as relevant) Because in the end a lot of what your doing does have to do with learning how to "control" populations in one form or another, one might say that at some point it gets more notice at home than it should.

By this I mean people expect SWAT teams to practice breaking down doors, they expect NGO's and Emergency organizations to practice doing what they do. This same population however may see military learning how to do all these things better in a relatively scewed light by the time it filters back through the layers of media, academia, and just personal networks.

Regardless of the fact that in order to do what we're doing well we have to learn it this still may be a contributing factor to some of the "larger societal grumblings one deals with throughout international and local policy/Path discussions.

Note: If this seems rather far fetched for Americans to be worried about than fine, instead consider many of the other governments currently involved and how some of their societies may view it in relation with their historical experiences.

Ken White
02-26-2009, 01:23 AM
The world started changing in 1989. It's still changing and I suspect it'll be in flux for another 20 to 30 years. That's a lot of potential chaos and all we can do is be alert. We need to be able to do full spectrum and that includes FID and such -- BUT we should avoid it where at all possible for five reasons:

First, it is expensive, tedious, dirty, hard on people and units all for generally little recompense; the payback has never been worth the effort for us or anyone else involved in third party COIN. That includes the British, French, and South Africans in addition to us and the USSR.

Secondly, our governmental system does not lead to continuity of effort over an eight to ten year span. The FID effort does not need to last that long but the way we do them -- halfheartedly -- leads to long periods of time.

Thirdly, that change in the world I cited means, among many other things impacting us, that door kicking a military specialty and default operating mode is passe. Or should be, mostly, anyway. Rough stuff is not encouraged by the World today and if the operation is long term due to the way we have elected (not been forced to; elected...) to do the job the potential for the "more notice at home than it should" (I'd add 'and abroad') and pressure builds. That pressure can act in unforeseen ways as when the 94th Congress cowardly pulled the plug on the logistic support we, the US Government, had promised South Viet Nam; no troops, just ammo and log support.

Fourth, it's militarily unbalanced and thus creates too many opportunities for the opponent. It does not play to US strength; why should we offer up a glass jaw?

Fifth, the American public -- an adequate majority anyway -- will support a reasonably sensible war. Given Iraq and the basis on which it was pitched as opposed to the true reason (which would have garnered more support but it would have taken longer and been more work to garner that support), I'd even say they'll support a war that doesn't seem sensible -- until it turns bad. A coin fight by its very nature is almost certain to do that regardless of how well trained your force is unless they are totally dedicated to that mission -- and we cannot afford to do that. The probability of it turning bad means that the operation will create more schisms and angst in the public than is necessary. I'm not that into worrying about John Q. Public but I see no sense in causing unnecessary anxiety and potential problems with voters. If it has to be done, do it -- if there's a better way, then don't do it.

That said, we can do it, may have to and should certainly train for it and be prepared to execute on order but it would be better to better fund State and USAID, reinstitute the US Information Agency and give them all enough people and money to stop a lot of this stuff before it builds up and we react. I hate the word 'proactive' but we really, really need to get out of the reactive mode.

There are better ways.

davidbfpo
02-26-2009, 11:57 AM
TristanAbbey started with a Q&A with John Nagl. The basic theme is whether counterinsurgency is even possible given:

a) media-driven society
b) counterinsurgencies take a long time
c) counterinsurgencies are very messy

Nagl says yes. URL is: http://bellum.stanfordreview.org/?p=370

Tristam,

Back to your question. Yes, a COIN campaign is possible.

Historically not all insurgencies in countries where we - the West - have had a long term strategic interest have fitted the three themes, e.g. France in Chad, which led to a clash with Libya. Short, sharp, very few "boots" on the ground and almost no (English speaking) media coverage. Oman is another old campaign, sparse UK media coverage and more currently the Phillipines.

Note Afghanistan was not of strategic interest to the USA / West after the Soviet departure and further back in the Cold War almost out of sight. The use made by AQ led to some interest, with war by remote means i.e. cruise missile attacks, but only became of strategic interest with 9/11. Pakistan has a different history regarding levels of interest and rightly to the fore now.

How to wage a COIN campaign abroad today? A point covered in many different threads, for example http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=6755 (see Bill Moore's comment there) and Ten Commandments on COIN: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=6543

Keypoints:

1) clear national / alliance strategic interest (even if denial of use of space)
2) use professional staff only (military and non-military)
3) do not commit conventional, bulky military forces (GPF in US terms)
4) support local efforts to prevail - here to help, not win for you
5) admit local "rules" are not your own, declare torture is bad, bad
6) allow local restrictions on press reporting (no satellite phones)
7) avoid English speaking countries (so buy up "terps")
8) never use the word War, Emergency even Troubles far better

From my armchair.

davidbfpo

Entropy
02-26-2009, 12:54 PM
The world started changing in 1989. It's still changing and I suspect it'll be in flux for another 20 to 30 years. That's a lot of potential chaos and all we can do is be alert. We need to be able to do full spectrum and that includes FID and such -- BUT we should avoid it where at all possible for five reasons:

Great comment Ken, I agree! One might suggest the defining characteristic of the next 20-30 years is uncertainty.

TristanAbbey
02-27-2009, 03:49 PM
TristanAbbey started with a Q&A with John Nagl.

Keypoints:

1) clear national / alliance strategic interest (even if denial of use of space)
2) use professional staff only (military and non-military)
3) do not commit conventional, bulky military forces (GPF in US terms)
4) support local efforts to prevail - here to help, not win for you
5) admit local "rules" are not your own, declare torture is bad, bad
6) allow local restrictions on press reporting (no satellite phones)
7) avoid English speaking countries (so buy up "terps")
8) never use the word War, Emergency even Troubles far better



Thanks, David -- want to push you a bit on conventional forces. Having armor helps in force protection -- airbases, barracks, and what not, no?

TristanAbbey
02-27-2009, 03:54 PM
on Ameirican willingness to bear the burden of war has been done by Peter Feaver of Duke. Although it was written pre-9/11 the Iraq war data seems to bear him out. Sorry, don't have the cite (http://books.google.com/books?id=lbwlim_0FIMC&dq=choosing+your+battles&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=sOFoKaJ2Y8&sig=NWu21BxyUjkVtx-CGsKNh8GV40w&hl=en&ei=CmWlSdPfDJCMngf1p-mYBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPP10,M1) but you should be able to find it pretty easily.

Cheers

JohnT

Remember reading about Feaver in the context of the Bush administration's focus on the word "victory" to describe the Iraq strategy. Wikipedia says he worked for both Clinton and Bush admins, but I'm not sure if that's as rare as it appears.

Ken White
02-27-2009, 05:17 PM
well documented, what difference does it make who a researcher 'worked for?'

That's like saying a news report on Fox or MSNBC is invalid based on one's ideological viewpoint. I've never understood that logic.

TristanAbbey
02-27-2009, 06:17 PM
In fact, I think his research is probably spot on. If anything, bringing up his bipartisanship is a point in his favor and shows he's interested in applying his academic research to the real world -- and in this case, in support of the war effort.

Ken White
02-27-2009, 06:21 PM
You did make the observation that he may have worked for two administrations (and that is quite common as you alluded) and there are those who do discount reports of all types based on sourcing. My comment was triggered by your noting his perhaps sponsors for no apparent reason and that triggered my non-directional comment that I did not understand those who didn't look at the material rather than the sourcing.

I still don't

TristanAbbey
02-27-2009, 06:27 PM
Very rarely will my comments have an ulterior motive.:D Sometimes things I find interesting and worth mentioning will be common knowledge to others...

davidbfpo
02-28-2009, 11:55 AM
Thanks, David -- want to push you a bit on conventional forces. Having armor helps in force protection -- airbases, barracks, and what not, no?

Tristam,

A mixture of logistics available, imagery of foriegn tanks on patrol for example, preference for engineering - those hexagonal bags are better and cheaper methinks. Once in place GPF appear difficult to remove. Smaller "boots on the ground" is better, I concede not without risks. Not being a military professional very much opinions on impact and politics.

davidbfpo