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Published by Alonzo Renard-El
the air force future timeline MUST READ
the air force future timeline MUST READ

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: Alonzo Renard-El on May 23, 2011
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It is safe to assume the omnipresent eye of the CNN camera will be an integral part of any
future military operation. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide will judge the
appropriateness of everything an air commander does.38

Traditionally, the media have not exerted much influence with respect to fundamental American

attitudes and beliefs, but the media “can be important in influencing opinion on particular issues (especially


network television).”39

In 1968, Walter Cronkite’s opinion that North Vietnam could not be defeated sent

shock waves through the White House, by some accounts contributing to President Johnson’s decision not to

stand for reelection.40

Media impact may become even more important under the dual influence of

technology and the development of adversarial or “new” journalism. This “new” breed of journalist is said

to be most concerned with discovering “truth” rather than uncovering “facts,” a significant change from the

twentieth century standard of impartiality.41

The combination of 24-hour, worldwide coverage and “new”

journalism will present endlessly evolving challenges to leaders attempting to implement a particular policy

or to achieve some specific military or economic objective. The Toffler’s, in fact, note that broadcasts

during combat operations, via commercial satellites, may “alter the actual dynamics and strategies in war.”42

Of crucial import to alternate futures such as Gulliver’s Travails and Digital Cacophony is the notion

that the spread of new media forms, such as satellite broadcast access and bulletin boards on the Internet,

tends to undermine central control, dispersing power towards ever smaller groups.43

This breakdown of

central control is not confined to just new forms of media interaction. Activists such as Steve Dunifer are

currently taking advantage of advances in technology to aid individuals in setting up pirate radio stations. It

is possible to distribute the parts for a 30-watt radio transmitter44

inside a suitcase, at a minimal cost. These

operations are so small and difficult to control that they usurp the Federal Communications Commission’s

monopoly in the United States and threaten government control of information in several one-party foreign


In the future broad-band communication capabilities, supported globally by seamless satellite,

fiber, and wireless links, will empower individuals in the information and communications domain as never


Reflecting trends towards demassification and individual access to multiple means of communication,

the media will also learn to design its message for the individual consumer, using commercial and

government databases to surround each individual with a personalized news and advertising presentation.

What is the impact of burgeoning media presence on military operations? Lt Col Marc D. Felman

suggests that combatant commanders might add a new principle of war:

Media Spin—Pay close attention to public relations, recognizing that public support is an
essential ingredient of combat success. Aggressively ensure that media portrayal of
combat operations is nether distorted nor misrepresented through press omissions. Above
all, safeguard the safety of the troops and operational security but do not lie to the media


merely for [the] sake of convenience. Never take for granted how combat operations will
be portrayed in the news. Avoid operations that will swiftly turn public support away
from the war effort and capitalize on success stories by ensuring they get maximum
exposure. In an age where 24-hour instantaneous battlefield news coverage is a fact of
life, paying attention to media spin is of paramount importance. For a combatant
commander, anything less would be irresponsible.47

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