“We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us”. An Analysis of NATO Strategic Communications: The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, 2003-2014.

  • Alexei Gavriel

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

The ‘Understand’ Function Did Not Sufficiently Inform Messaging and Content.

There was considerable effort in military HQs placed on task planning, significantly less on the ‘understand’ function. This is in large measure because of a drive and interest in addressing issues ‘now’. As Alexei Gavriel, anthropologist and former CJPOTF member with almost five years’ experience in Afghanistan explains:

 

Period15 Feb 2016

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • Title“We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us”. An Analysis of NATO Strategic Communications: The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, 2003-2014.
    Media name/outletNATO Strategic Communication Centre of Excellence
    CountryLatvia
    Date15/02/2016
    DescriptionThe 2003-2014 UN-mandated, NATO-led ISAF mission, which featured ground combat for the first time in the Alliance’s history, took a tremendous human and financial toll. By ISAF mission end, well over 1 million NATO troops and civilians had served in theatre along with hundreds of thousands of contractors. Reliable studies conservatively estimate the financial cost to be at least $1 trillion US dollars. Almost 3,500 troops under NATO command from 29 nations paid the ultimate price, and tens of thousands more suffered serious injury. Afghanistan has been a security-related point of discussion and a major part of Western military efforts for almost a fifth of NATO’s existence. By virtually any metric it is the longest, most complex, expensive, challenging and fractious operation in NATO’s history.
    As a result of the massive NATO and international effort – by any socio- economic or human development index measure – Afghanistan in 2015 is a considerably better place as a result. That is hardly to say outcomes were optimal, or that NATO helped Afghan government forces decisively defeat the insurgency: they were not, and they did not.
    A commonly held view is that NATO also ‘lost’ the Afghanistan strategic communication campaign. This report is an effort to deduce what is NATO and ISAF’s score on that point, and if it did not ‘win’ outright then how did Strategic Communications (StratCom) perform?
    Within the political-military leadership and even within the communications community there are factions of passionate supporters for StratCom and just as many opponents. All seem to agree conceptually of the need for better coordination as long as they are the ‘coordinators’ and not the ‘coordinated’.
    Producer/AuthorBrett Boudreau
    URLhttps://www.stratcomcoe.org/we-have-met-enemy-and-he-us-analysis-nato-strategic-communications-international-security-assistance
    PersonsAlexei Gavriel