The Battle for Ideas in Afghanistan Counter-Insurgency Operations: Applying a Corporate Change Message Framework for Success
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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Victory against the insurgent forces in Afghanistan will require the persuasion of the indigenous population of the nation. Recognizing the reality that the Afghan people will decide who wins the war, coalition forces are embarked on a mission of population protection. Winning the battle for perception requires credible and empathetic communication to produce concrete effects on the battlefield. This battle for the hearts and minds of disaffected individuals in COIN operations parallels the efforts of senior leadership to institute organizational change in a corporate setting. In both the COIN and corporate worlds, successful change implementation requires effective communication with those individuals targeted by a planned change. The DAPVE change message model introduced here is a prescriptive framework for persuasive communication used with great success in the corporate world to implement planned change. Analyzing change recipient feedback through the lens of this framework enables change agents to focus communication and substantive efforts on the components needing the most attention. The flexible nature of this framework allows for the nesting of the message content across the strategic, operational, and tactical spectrum. Further development of the DAPVE change message framework will assist us in winning the critical strategic communication battle in Afghanistan.