A Survey of the Command Information Function in U.S. Army Maneuver Battalions during the Gulf War.
MARSHALL UNIV HUNTINGTON WV W PAGE PITT SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATIONS
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Command information, the U.S. Armys internal communications function, is designed to keep soldiers informed and answer their questions about events concerning them. Todays soldiers grew up having access to CNN and other instant information media and expect access to information even in a combat environment. United States citizens generally are taught a Judeo-Christian value system that places great importance on human life. One is taught to love thy neighbor and that killing another human being is morally wrong. When a soldier is asked to kill the enemy, the result is internal conflict between the requested action and hisher beliefs. This phenomenon is referred to as cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance may be reduced if soldiers believe the American public support their efforts on the battlefield. Well-informed soldiers will fight harder if they believe they have a mandate from the people. Thus, command information is a force multiplier. Cognitive dissonance may be reduced further if leaders speak with one clear voice when answering soldiers questions. It is the commanders responsibility to keep soldiers informed. The Armys professional education system should, therefore, instill the importance of command information in commanders. Moreso than in previous conflicts, soldiers in the Gulf War received information from sources outside command information channels. These included satellite-linked telephone calls home, BBC shortwave radio news, and the CNN soundtrack over Armed Forces Radio. If Commanders are to keep soldiers informed, they must 1 speak with one clear voice 2 be sufficiently trained 3 have adequate command information products and 4 reduce information lag. These requirements may be thought of as the four critical aspects of command information.
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