Information Warfare · Russia

NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Riga, Latvia

Welcome to the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence!

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”

This quotation from the Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO (1946) is more than relevant in the information age.  One cannot imagine a successful operation without clearly defined and efficient strategic communication.

The NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE) became functional in January 2014.  On July 1 the same year, seven member states – Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the United Kingdom – signed memorandums of understanding on the establishment of the StratCom COE.  The centre received NATO accreditation on 1 September 2014, and, as stated in the 2014 Wales Summit Declaration, Allies welcomed, “…the establishment of the StratCom COE as a meaningful contribution to NATO’s efforts…” in the area of strategic communications.

The NATO StratCom COE is the twentieth COE contributing to increased NATO capabilities.  Centres of Excellence are nationally or multi-nationally funded NATO military bodies that acquire and further expertise and knowledge on specific issues and contribute to its application and dissemination thus supporting the transformation of NATO.

The NATO StratCom COE, based in Riga, Latvia, contributes to improved strategic communications capabilities within the Alliance and Allied nations.  The Centre designs programs to advance StratCom doctrine development and harmonisation, conducts research and experimentation to find practical solutions to existing challenges, identifies lessons from applied StratCom during operations, and enhances training and education efforts and interoperability.

6 thoughts on “NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Riga, Latvia

  1. Reading your article from NATO COE latvia ! S

    Sent from my iPhone 5… Fat fingers and small keys. Please forgive typos!


    1. Dennis, right now my Russian IW briefing is based on three things. “Recasting the Red Star” by Timothy L. Thomas and “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia” by Peter Pomerantsev and three, this blog. As I re-read “Recasting the Red Star” it struck me how much ‘checklist’ type stuff they did right out of Tim Thomas’ book. An intangible thing is a few decades experience of working this stuff, hands on experience with some of our experts and my actual trip to Moscow taught me things no textbook or book can possibly teach. I also interact with lots of Ukrainians on Facebook as well as Russian trolls. I swear that experience, alone, numbs one’s face from getting slapped upside the head so often, quickly and harshly. Russian Trolls call me an idiot more ways than I can count but they are entirely predictable. The paid or not part is still somewhat of a mystery to me. What I love is when they call me a US paid troll. That’s usually when I break out the thermobaric or fuel-air rounds and nuke them in place.

      “Recasting the Red Star” is a great basis for understanding Russian IW because Russians think so differently from us. “Nothing is true” brings one up to date and gives a good synopsis of what the Russians actually did, but none of it is based on doctrine. It’s personal observation, which is really good, but without the doctrinal background, one might come to the wrong conclusions.

      This blog is a record of my thoughts of the IW events as they occurred. In retrospect I was dead wrong on a number of my assumptions. Another thing is I never viewed the IW on Ukraine through the filter of South Ossetia and Chechnya. If you really stand back you’ll see both were an almost check the block dress rehearsal for Ukraine, especially Crimea.

      Reflexive Control is a concept that I believe was used by the Russians, and they’ve been doing that for decades. Believing it and proving it in a class is something I need to try, but if, on Sunday night I don’t believe I have it correct, I’m cutting it out.

      This is going to be a very, very long brief, which I’m sure I’m going to have to cut it way, way down, once I rehearse it.

      Thomas, in “Recasting the Red Star” also outlines Dr. Igor Panarin’s ‘information organization’, which I believe actually exists inside the Kremlin. Panarin appears to be working inside the Foreign Ministry still, but I believe he moved over to the Presidential Administration to orchestrate this whole deal. I got that from a personal experience with him but I can’t describe it here. I believe there are a lot of folks who discount him as a whacko, because of his US disintegration theory. Six years ago I almost got him to speak at a conference, here in the US, but it fell through at the last second. If you’d like, pay my way to Moscow and I’ll interview him about everything I’ll have in my class. For that I’ll send you my slides for this class and give you a copy of our interview. Deal?

      The only really mushy thing is the St. Petersburg Internet Research Agency. I read all the articles, spoke with a few Russian reporters, but I’ll be goshdarned if I can get any more details.

      Now, if you want to know about the Ukrainian IW Initiatives brief, you’ll have to wait. I wrote the Ukraine National Strategy for Information in early December, submitted it and so far it is surviving. The Counter-propaganda Center piece is still being worked. That is going to be a neat class, I just don’t have it fleshed out yet.

  2. Joel,

    Sorry. To answer your LinkedIn question a few weeks back, the “organization” I belong to is USSTRATCOM’s JFCC IMD (Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense). I am currently attempting to synchronize messaging WRT MD activities vertically across the GCCs and horizontally between OSD, JS, STRATCOM, MDA, and the Services. Actually, it’s been going ok!

    Thanks for blog and notes! Some excellent stuff!


    1. Linda,
      It is my sincere pleasure to offer up the Centre as THE “Go-To” place for combatting Russian Information Warfare.
      I wish someone from your Centre had been at my class yesterday on Russian Infiormation Warfare and the second class on Ukrainian Information Warfare Initiatives. I’ve been deeply involved in Russian and Ukrainian IW efforts for more than the past year and it would have been a truly unique opportunity to hear about your efforts as well. I am available, at your request!
      See my latest blog, from just minutes ago.

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