Information operations

Reading List: Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications


I give some rather harsh opinions in this blog about the performance of the job of Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications (DNSA/SC) for the past eight years in this blog.  These are my personal observations as an expert in the field, the chief person at a non-profit coordinating the leaders in their respective fields at the IO Institute, as the editor of the IO Journal, as a plankholder in the military field of Information Operations, and as the writer of this blog, To Inform Is To Influence, which attempts to be the preeminent community resource in this field.

While researching this position, I discovered a dearth of material written about the DNSA/SC.  Previously, I listed short job descriptions for the job, which might give interested persons a better perspective of what the job entails. Spotlight: Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications

Then I realized I should do the research for anyone wanting more information, I thought I might create a reading list. This is proving to be a challenge, there truly are few reference materials to assist one in preparation for the position.

For the past eight years, the person who occupied the office of the DNSA/SC, Ben Rhodes, chose not do his job (my opinion). Instead, he chose to be primarily a foreign policy advisor and a speechwriter.

Consequently, nobody on the current White House or National Security Council staff was present when national strategic communications, coordinating the various tools within and outside the US government and spreading the American message, was last properly performed.

The last three people to properly work in this capacity:

  • Mark Pfeifle served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and global outreach at the White House from 2007 to 2009.[1]
  • Kevin McCarty served as the Director for Global Outreach on the National Security Council with Mark Pfeifle.
  • Jeffrey B. Jones was Senior Director for Strategic Communication and Information at the National Security Council.  Jeff passed away in 2010.

Here is some reading material for the job of DNSA/SC. Please excuse my freestyle reference citations, I sought to put the titles first for clarity and ease of reading.

  1. Propaganda and CounterTerrorism, Dr. Emma Briant, 2015.  Probably the most comprehensive book written about not only the position of DNSA/SC, but about Strategic Communications, Information Operations, and a bit about Public Diplomacy.  Please excuse the fact that my name appears all too often.
  2. National Strategic Communication: Back to the Future, 2013, US Army War College.
  3. Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication, September 2004.   Jeff Jones helped work on this document while he was the serving DNSA/SC.
  4. U.S. Governmental Information Operations and Strategic Communications: A Discredited Tool or User Failure? Implications for Future Conflict By Dr. Steve Tatham, 2013
  5. Terrorist Use of the Internet: Information Operations in Cyberspace By Catherine A. Theohary
  6. Strategic Communication: Origins, Concepts, and Current Debates By Christopher Paul
  7. Strategic Communications and the Decline of US Soft Power By Gene E. Bigler
  8. Public Diplomacy War by Other Means Oleg Svet
  9. Engaging the Private Sector for the Public Good: The Power of Network Diplomacy By Kristin Lord

Coming soon: Interviews with former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Director for Global Outreach

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