Activities I wish I were at this week include two conversations about conversations and a third discussion on contemporary conflict. The first was (by now) at the National Defense University:
Strategic Communication: Focus on the Future
The Department or Defense (DoD) Worldwide Strategic Communication (SC) Seminar will be held at the National Defense University (NDU) on July 11-12, 2007, at Roosevelt Hall, Fort Leslie J. McNair, Washington, D.C. The theme for the seminar is Strategic Communication: Focus on the Future. This unique global SC event is designed to bring together Service and COCOM SC directors and representatives from SC, Public Affairs (PA), Information Operations (IO), Psychological Operations (PSYOP), Visual Information (VI), J-2, J-3, J-5, State Department and Interagency personnel. The seminar will promote a common understanding of SC, advance the QDR SC Roadmap implementation progress, and discuss future direction and needs. The two-day seminar will include daily plenary sessions, break-out sessions, and working exercises. Senior department leaders and external thought leaders will address key issues surrounding SC.
Iraqi Insurgent Media
In their just-released special report, "Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty regional analysts Daniel Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo take an in-depth look at the multi-layered media efforts of Sunni insurgents, who are responsible for the majority of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq.
Insurgents and their supporters communicate with the world through daily press releases, weekly and monthly magazines, books, video clips, full-length films, countless websites, and even television stations. Mainstream Arab media amplify the insurgent message to a mass audience.
Update: watch the discussion here.
There a third event, the 2007 Boyd Conference, generate some good discussions on what is perceived (but not really... more on that later) to be a "new" attack on national morale and will, even if there is an overabundance of heaving the misleading and poorly defined construct known as Fourth Generation Warfare, or 4GW, about. It should, however, See Smart, er, Small Wars Journal's blog post on the event here.
In the struggle for minds and wills, how is the US doing? If you listened to the President's news conference this morning, it's clear neither the strategic nor tactical imperatives have been internalized. The need to operationalize the struggle to guide both tactics and strategy is required but far from a reality. Maybe these two events will help influence this shift. I'd comment more, but I'm completing my own argument on this.