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Thread: DoD Strategic Communication Plan for Afghanistan

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    Default DoD Strategic Communication Plan for Afghanistan

    Mountain Runner, 30 Sep 07: Department of Defense Strategic Communication Plan for Afghanistan
    .....Desired End State: The Afghan people and people in Allied and partner countries recognize and support the efforts of the Afghan government, the U.S., its Allies and partners in stabilizing and reconstructing Afghanistan. The Afghan people strongly support their government and reject insurgency, terrorism, and the narcotics trade.

    Achieving desired effects. on audience perceptions are critical to achieving the end state. For supported goals, see Annex A. For desired effects, see "Desired Effects" column ofthe Execution Matrix in Annex B....

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    ICG, 24 Jul 08: Taliban Propaganda: Winning the War of Words?
    ....The Taliban seeks to create the illusion of inevitability and invincibility, while trying to defend the legitimacy of its actions. It has succeeded in conveying an impression of coherence and momentum far greater than reality, both within Afghanistan, among a population that is weary of war, and outside, with those in Western capitals also weary of commitments to a far distant conflict. The insurgents cannot win on the battlefield, but they do not have to. All they need to do is wear out their opponents – and influencing perceptions at home and abroad are a vital component of this strategy. The Afghan and other governments engaged in the Afghanistan endeavour have failed to communicate robustly and honestly with their populations in a way that would help build and sustain popular will for a long-term endeavour. The Taliban has proved adept at fuelling existing grievances, suspicions and perceptions in its attempt to drive a wedge between the Afghan people and the Karzai government and its international supporters. Kabul has not managed in a firm and coherent way to undermine the Taliban’s legitimacy through consistently highlighting its violent tactics and links to criminal groups. Instead, it has too often simply sought to crack down on the local media, which, admittedly, in its fledgling state and in the absence of other narratives, has often portrayed the conflict naively.

    Both Kabul and its international supporters need to respond in a timely, coordinated manner if they are to effectively counter Taliban allegations. They must also focus, far more than is presently done, on the human costs of insurgent violence. The members of the multilateral coalition must also realise the importance of communicating exactly what is at stake in Afghanistan to their domestic constituents. This should not be so difficult; 11 September 2001 demonstrates the importance of ensuring that Afghanistan does not once again become a failed state that hosts extremists.....

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    Default FEEDBACK REQUESTED: OSINT/Taliban Statement Summary

    Mods, if this isn't the best place, please feel free to shift.

    One of the things I've included as part of maintaining my "news aggregator" page on RC-S in AFG is Taliban statements. By the end of November, I pulled together the Canadian references in Taliban statements I could find, and developed this:
    http://milnewstbay.pbwiki.com/f/TPW-CAN-NOV2008.pdf
    (24kB .pdf)

    If this is of use to anyone, feel free to use/share - if it sucks, please let me know why, and what else I should be thinking of/doing in monitoring and/or summarizing such statements to make it a more useful product.

    Thanks, in advance, for your help!

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Thumbs up While it seems like a very good approach

    In getting inside their thought process it might be nice if you were to copy and paste the actual statements, otherwise some of us might not be entirely keen on web surfing those particular sites and all the associated niceties that accompany that
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    In getting inside their thought process it might be nice if you were to copy and paste the actual statements, otherwise some of us might not be entirely keen on web surfing those particular sites and all the associated niceties that accompany that
    Can quite easily include as an annex (CAVEAT: in a lot of cases, it's Google English translations, so some of them leave something to be desired - still, one gets a general sense) - good one, thanks!
    Last edited by milnews.ca; 12-17-2008 at 03:48 PM. Reason: added caveat

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    Default Something more like this????

    http://tonyprudori.pbwiki.com/f/TPW-CAN-OCT2008.pdf

    Again, all feedback, good, bad or ugly, welcome.

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Yes something like that

    Quote Originally Posted by milnews.ca View Post
    http://tonyprudori.pbwiki.com/f/TPW-CAN-OCT2008.pdf

    Again, all feedback, good, bad or ugly, welcome.
    Thanks for the effort.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Default Thanks for the feedback, RH

    Much appreciated - all others, feel free to jump in as well.

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    Default "Afghans Sick of TV Horrors"

    Afghans Sick of TV Horrors
    Grisly public information films aimed at deterring people from joining the insurgency draw complaints from viewers across the country.
    Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 8 Jan 09
    Article link

    Graphic footage of shattered body parts, bloodstained clothing and other horrors of war are regular fodder for television viewers across Afghanistan.

    TV channels include footage of the latest carnage as part of their nightly news bulletins, but there’s growing controversy over whether gruesome imagery should be used in public information films aimed at deterring Afghans from joining the insurgency.

    The films, aired by TV stations across the country, have been issued by government departments – but the ministry of information, which claims it has not been consulted about them, has been expressing concern over their content.

    It has asked the ministries producing the broadcasts to discuss them with its staff before they’re distributed to the stations – and warned the latter that they will ban the films that are currently being shown unless they are toned down....
    ....But Zemarai Bashari, spokesman for the ministry of interior, one of the government departments producing the films, says the footage has been deliberately chosen to discourage anti-government activity and bolster support for the work of the security agencies – although he did concede that the scenes were troubling.

    However, he insisted that the broadcasts were necessary to show people the consequences of extremist acts....
    ....some in the medical profession are backing the ministry of information’s call for government departments to exercise greater care over their use of distressing imagery in public information films.

    They’ve expressed concern over the psychological effect such footage might have on a population that has endured more than two decades of war....

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    This is not an endstate:

    ".....Desired End State: The Afghan people and people in Allied and partner countries recognize and support the efforts of the Afghan government, the U.S., its Allies and partners in stabilizing and reconstructing Afghanistan. The Afghan people strongly support their government and reject insurgency, terrorism, and the narcotics trade."
    This is a statement expressing our desire for others to support our current scheme of engagement in Afghanistan.

    Hopefully any true endstate will be just about the Nation of Afghanistan, its populace and its governance, something more like:

    "Endstate: A Sovereign Afghanistan with a functioning, self-determined government."

    In otherwords, any Afghan "Endstate" that includes the United States and our allies, is not an end, it is a middle. Similarly, any endstate that descrides conditions that the US wishes to exist, but are not similarly desired by the populace and government of Afghanistan is certainly imporper, and most likely infeasible. I would send this effort back to the drawing board.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 01-08-2009 at 12:51 PM.

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    Default Excellent point, BW

    I am often stunned by the pap that comes out of headquarters and organizations full of smart people that would receive a failing grade at any reputable staff college. Your example is what happens when staff products wend their way through all the organizational, institutional, and cultural hoops between concept and approval.

    I would bet my next paycheck that what you proposed as an endstate is very close to what was submitted by some bright young staffer. It was then massaged by several levels of bureaucrats until what emerged was the inoffensive yet spectacularly useless product in the final document.

    I shudder to think senior leaders actually signed off on this.

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    Default One more try.....

    ...with the latest summary of Taliban statements claiming Canadian casualties:
    http://milnewstbay.pbwiki.com/f/TPW-CAN-JAN2009.pdf

    Tried including a touch more detail, text from the original statements as a pseudo-annex, and a bit of graphics. All feedback (good, bad or ugly) still welcome and greatly appreciated.

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Psychological warfare

    You are now seeing the latest attempt at psychological warfare by the Taliban. Interesting. Thanks for your dowloadable posting.

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    Default Yep.

    Thanks much for the post and link.

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    Default Small question

    Milnews.Ca,

    Quickly scanned the latest news. How are the Canadians countering the claims? Perhaps too sensitive for here, can but try.

    Is there a similar service provider for other nations? Thanks.

    davidbfpo

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    Default Thanks for the feedback.....

    ...and even the bad stuff is welcome if it'll help improve the product.
    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Quickly scanned the latest news. How are the Canadians countering the claims? Perhaps too sensitive for here, can but try.
    My only eye on the situation is what I see in open sources, so I've got no secrets to share in this respect. I don't see any content evidence in the media or on Canadian government web pages I scan of a deliberate campaign to specifically counter the Tailban's claims. Then again, like a successful spy, the best campaigns are the ones you can't spot, right?

    The only open source info I've seen on this is in a recent Canadian Press report (29 Oct 08):
    ....Canadians are trying to work more closely with Kandahar's lively media landscape, which includes newspapers, radio and TV stations.

    Local media outlets are invited to Kandahar Airfield to discuss the flow of information with Canadian officers. Afghan reporters say they're eager to get information from western sources on everything from security incidents to development projects as quickly as they can get it.

    Canadian money, too, buys ads on all local media.

    "Some of the small radio stations are only surviving because of our advertising," says Davis.

    Canada even runs a Pashtu-language radio station. RANA-FM broadcasts local music, talk and phone-in shows 24 hours a day**.

    In the field, soldiers on operations are accompanied by psyops teams, which brief commanders on the local cultural landscape, says Capt. Shawn Stewart.

    "They try to find out who they are, where they're from, what village ... We try to paint a picture of affiliations."

    Such information is crucial to sorting out the good guys from the bad.

    "We've had situations where people have offered up others as being insurgents, but it was actually a historical rift between tribes. They were taking an opportunity to inflict some retribution."

    Canada now has two psyops - psychological operations - teams, up from one. By next spring, there will be a third. Even the Afghan Army is developing its own psyops teams and information officers....
    ** - RANA-FM is actually based in Kingston, Ontario - a Canadian military official is quoted saying, "“We’re located in Canada but linked into Afghanistan by satellite and basically we just rebroadcast the transmission.”

    Before something appears in the media, even a repudiation of Taliban statements, a reporter has to ask the question. I know the Taliban tends to be pretty aggressive getting their stuff out there (good stuff on this here, here, here and here), so I can only speculate that reporters are either
    1) seeing the Taliban statements and ignoring them, or
    2) seeing the Taliban statements and picking/choosing tidbits as they do with statements from other sources.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Is there a similar service provider for other nations? Thanks.
    I haven't seen any - if I find such a product, I'll be happy to share it here.
    Last edited by milnews.ca; 02-10-2009 at 01:46 PM. Reason: Adds info, reference to Canadian Press report. RANA-FM

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    Default

    CSIS, 11 Feb 09: Public Opinion Trends in Afghanistan
    ABC News/BBC/ARD poll in Afghanistan

    • Fourth in a series since 2005

    • Field Dates: Dec. 30, 2008-Jan. 12, 2009

    • Interviews: 1,534

    • Coverage: Full national

    • Methodology: 194 random sampling points, stratified urban/rural, PPS to district, SRS at settlement level.

    • Oversamples: Balkh, Helmand, Herat, Kandahar, Kunduz, Logar, Nangarhar, Wardak.

    • Field: Random route, Kish grid. 176 Afghan interviewers, 86/90 w/m, 18% supervised or backchecked, logical controls in DP.

    • Average 33-minute interview. Contact rate 91 percent, co-operation rate 95 percent, net RR 86 percent.

    • Field work by Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research, subsidiary of D3 Systems Inc., Vienna, VA.

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    Default Taliban Propaganda Watch RC-South, February 2009

    ...highlighting Canadian references now ready for downloading:
    http://milnewstbay.pbwiki.com/f/TPW-CAN-FEB2009.pdf

    As always, good, bad or ugly feedback always welcome.
    Last edited by milnews.ca; 03-06-2009 at 02:27 AM. Reason: Clarifies content

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    Default Any guesses or speculation.....

    ...why there would be such a difference in content between the English and Arabic statements by the Taliban highlighting the same (alleged) event? More details here - happy to hear the range of theories. Mine, literally off the top of my head:

    1) Misunderstanding between writer & translator.
    2) Different versions written in isolation using same fact base given to different writers.
    3) Poor command of English on part of translator = mixing up Brits & Americans.
    4) A typo on one or the other version.

  20. #20
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Bob, I agree with you heavily on this one...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    This is not an endstate:

    ".....Desired End State: The Afghan people and people in Allied and partner countries recognize and support the efforts of the Afghan government, the U.S., its Allies and partners in stabilizing and reconstructing Afghanistan. The Afghan people strongly support their government and reject insurgency, terrorism, and the narcotics trade."
    This is a statement expressing our desire for others to support our current scheme of engagement in Afghanistan.

    Hopefully any true endstate will be just about the Nation of Afghanistan, its populace and its governance, something more like:

    "Endstate: A Sovereign Afghanistan with a functioning, self-determined government."

    In otherwords, any Afghan "Endstate" that includes the United States and our allies, is not an end, it is a middle. Similarly, any endstate that descrides conditions that the US wishes to exist, but are not similarly desired by the populace and government of Afghanistan is certainly imporper, and most likely infeasible. I would send this effort back to the drawing board.
    Well said, it is not offensive to me, and tells it like it is.

    A simplier end point is "Afghanistan for the Afghans" who we hope and pray are not the Taliban and al Qaida all over again!!!

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