BY ROSA BROOKS | DECEMBER 6, 2012
I must have sinned egregiously during a past life, because when I arrived at the Pentagon in spring 2009, I was handed responsibility for the can of worms known as “strategic communication.” I was a newly minted political appointee in the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s policy shop and no one, including myself, knew quite what I was supposed be doing with my time. But my résumé included a four-year stint as an opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times. This apparently qualified me as a “communications” expert, so strategic communication policy was deemed an appropriate addition to my murky portfolio.
It should go without saying that in and of itself, writing an opinion column reflects no qualifications beyond the having of opinions. I started my job at the Pentagon with plenty of opinions — many half-baked — but a mind blissfully free of expertise relating to “communications,” strategic or otherwise. Opinionated ignorance is the hallmark of a happy political appointee, however, so I plunged resolutely into my new assignment.
For the better part of the 27 months that followed, I spent much of my time trying to figure out whether strategic communication was an idea whose time had come, or a non-idea whose time should come to a rapid end. (Readers with an interest but with limited attention spans can even look at the highly unofficial illustrated history of DOD strategic communication I put together in late 2009.)
If you believe what you read in the media, the Pentagon recently opted for the second view. “The Pentagon is banishing the term ‘strategic communication,'” trumpeted USA Today on Tuesday, “putting an end to an initiative that had promised to streamline the military’s messaging but instead led to bureaucratic bloat and confusion.” This, the paper reports, is the upshot of “a memo obtained by USA TODAY.”
Read the whole thing, well worth the time. Please excuse my tardiness in posting this.
- Pentagon drops ‘strategic communication’ (stripes.com)
- Pentagon overseas propaganda plan stirs controversy (usatoday.com)
- Book Lecture with James Farwell: Persuasion and Power: The Art of Strategic Communication ” Culture and Security (toinformistoinfluence.com)
- Reasons Strategic Communications Makes Socially Aware Individuals (mnprblog.com)
- Speech: Providing Information to Communications Denied Areas (toinformistoinfluence.com)
- Soft power, smart power and women in foreign policy (gatesofcity.wordpress.com)
- Former Obama advisor: Our foreign policy is a mess – especially in the Middle East (hotair.com)