The Battle of the Narrative
Monograph rept. Aug 2009-May 2010
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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On March 20, 2003, a United States led coalition invaded Iraq. The character of this conflict can be defined by the Wests ability to conduct precision strikes, to manoeuvre and to overwhelm the enemys command system. Emerging U.K. and U.S. military doctrine posits that conflicts of the future are likely to be defined equally, if not more, by the centrality of influence. Adversaries have recognised the strategic benefits of influencing perceptions and will continue to exploit information and communications technology advances to this end. In a competition of contesting narratives, information will flash around the world in near real time, challenging the abilities of governments and established news networks to react in a timely fashion. Near global transparency increases the risk of inconsequential military incidents being turned into strategic events with adverse connotations. To win the battle of the narratives, the U.K.s security apparatus must be able to wield influence at all levels, across multiple media, within joint, multinational and interagency environments at a much higher tempo than present. Consideration of extant and emerging U.K. and U.S. military doctrine reveals a growing understanding of strategic communication. Including how this concept might be articulated such that there is clear delineation of activities at the differing levels of command. Despite this progress, this paper argues that there are, currently, three impediments to the British Armed Forces fully embracing the centrality of influence. The dynamic nature of the global information environment argues for a strategic communication concept built around a less centralised and more proactive approach than is currently the case.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Command, Control and Communications Systems