The Missing Components of U.S. Strategic Communications
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
In the immediate aftermath of the 911 attacks, a few prescient political observers began asserting that the United States had found itself thrust into a war that would not only require military action, but also, more importantly, compel the Nation to compete in a so-called war of ideas. However, the U.S. Government was generally slow to understand the nature of the conflict, slow to acknowledge its lack of capability for dealing with such a conflict, and agonizingly slow to marshal itself robustly for that dimension of the conflict. Shockingly, almost 6 years after the attacks against the Twin Towers and Pentagon, a national-level process for organizing and conducting an effective, synchronized program aimed at countering enemy ideas is still not in place. Therefore, many observers both in and out of government are now expressing deep concern that the United States is losing both the global war of ideas against Islamic extremists and the war on terror itself. Growing concern that we are losing the war of ideas has led to consternation and fierce debate among many offices of government over why progress has been so slow and what to do about it. But to date, this debate has produced little beyond a huge volume of PowerPoint slides, issue papers, and studies, with few actual measures taken to develop a synchronized, coordinated interagency national programand an effort well short of the robust capabilities the United States possessed in the Central Intelligence Agency and the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency during the Cold War, both of which were key to winning the ideological dimension against MarxismLeninism in the Soviet Union. Instead, the wrangling has focused mainly on tinkering with the mechanics of coordination, attempting to solve the problem by creating an overarching national-level coordination steering group to produce something generally described as strategic communications.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Command, Control and Communications Systems