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Monday, May 31, 2004

Re: Asymmetric Infowar  

Robert Kaplan in the WSJ:
Looking beyond Iraq, the American military needs battlefield doctrine for influencing the public in the same way that the Army and the Marines already have doctrine for individual infantry tasks and squad-level operations (the Ranger Handbook, the Fleet Marine Force Manual, etc.).

The centerpiece of that doctrine must be the flattening out of bureaucratic hierarchies within the Defense Department, so that spokesmen can tap directly into the experiences of company and battalion commanders and entwine their smell-of-the-ground experiences into daily briefings. Nothing is more destructive for the public-relations side of warfare than field reports that have to make their way up antiquated, Industrial Age layers of command, diluting riveting stories of useful content in the process.
Still too centralized, too dependent on official spokesmen and institutional media outlets, but yes, a start. Reform the supply chain of stories for the next war.

Just don't neglect the distribution channels. People don't buy the bulk of their consumer goods from department stores any more; why should we get our news from their informational counterparts? Why should the military prefer using such inefficient (and often hostile) distributors?

posted by Kelly | 2:43 PM link