Information operations

White Paper on The Key Role of Human Geography, Culture and Language in Effective Communication

White Paper onThe Key Role of Human Geography, Culture and Language in EffectiveCommunication


Approved for Public Release

“Information” continues to demonstrate the vital and preeminent role it plays in enabling all of our sources of national power. From a military perspective, it must be adequately utilized and capitalized on to succeed in shaping the cognitive/human domain (the ultimate goal of all military activities). Effective communications, which is an essential aspect of understanding and engaging the cognitive domain, is often made up of narratives in foreign languages that are written and spoken by individuals and groups from other cultures. If we are going to understand these narratives and the history, values, beliefs, behavior patterns and context they provide, we must examine communications from the perspective of ‘theother’.

The Joint Staff J-39 Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) office provides perspectives from academic, operational, and international field contributors. Over the past 2 years, they have developed a series of white papers on narrative and communication including running a simulation to enhance our capabilities to conduct cognitive maneuver in the narrative space.This white paper brings together several approaches that take a deep look at cultural variation in communication patterns as well as the content of the communications– the complex concepts such as morality, loyalty, and motivations– for the purpose of more effective cross-cultural communications analysis and engagement. Because a key challenge in understanding communications is the non-US culture and non-Anglophone/multi-lingual character of that environment, the contributors present experience and expertise that deliver insight into ‘the other’ communications environment.

  1. Academic authors provide a theoretic framework and research to understand the information and communication environment.
  2. Operational authors provide experience and a practical way forward, integrating academic research and international field use cases.
  3. International field authors provide ‘other’ perspective use cases to challenge assumptions and connect theory to ground truth.

The white paper is a compilation of contributions on this topic that have been synthesized to reflect and build off the insights of one another.

Maj Gen Charles MooreJoint StaffDeputy Director for Global Operations (DDGO)

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