You are on page 1of 43

Editorial The Language of Engagement and The Influence Objective

By Jesse Judge Borque, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF Editorial Abstract: Lt Col Borque critiques current DOD IO theory, practice and language, and offers an alternative model to current doctrinal conflicts. He proposes a new Strategic Communication construct to simplify both understanding and application of influence operations. (Opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author, and do not reflect the official views of the Joint Electronic Warfare Center, JIOWC, or DOD) supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks, and a late yet infamous entry: improvised explosive device (IED) networks. Add the new kid CNO to the mix and you get the true, full complement of operationalized (USC Title 10) Network Warfare: CNO approaching parity with the mature art of EW to dominate adversary information and control systems. The current challenge posed by newer cyber expressions presents another home-made hurdle for development of convergence language. Find any dictionary or encyclopedia the prefix cyber as an established concept means of computers. Network in comparison, means of networks. Its a reasonable bet that the remainder of the English-speaking world (coalition partners, for example) will be reticent to adopt wholesale our politically convenient reinvention of the language. Although the methodology described within the fledgling cyber construct paints a descriptive picture of NW, it effectively requires operators and planners to call yellow green from now on, in an arbitrary repackaging of the perfectly adequate, descriptive, and intuitive network concept. In the not-toodistant future, doctrinaires and military philosophers will hopefully realize that not only does Electromagnetic Warfare actually encompass DC to infinity, which by definition also includes the EM energy traveling within a computer network, but that it neednt be constrained by the arcane restriction of free space coupling. CNO would then assume its rightful place as another very powerful subset of EW, just like its grandfather, radar jamming. The subject of domains of engagementor simply, Domains constantly provides fodder for doctrinal discussion. A suitable definition of the Domain concept in this context must be useful, objective, and also intuitive to rescue the discussion from a fate of nothing more than a think tank do loop. Pragmatically, a Domain must be conceptually or tangibly bounded, complete and continuous within those bounds, with effects delivered within it causally ascertained and reliably, objectively measured. That leaves a bit of real estate in the joint battle space unaccounted for (by these criteria); those ethereal spaces should be secondarily labeled Environments, as we have commonly seen. So what we have right now for the JFCs use are the Air, Land, Maritime, and Space Domains, a new Cyber Domain bounded by wired (non-RF), physically interconnected information processing systems (computers), an Electro-Magnetic Environment (EME) wherein wireless EW operations are conducted, and an Information Environment (IE) wherein cognitive operations over any medium are conducted. In this construct, the concept of measurability stands as the delineating characteristic in articulating the two specified environments that is, until such time that someone can guarantee a reliable stream of EW BDA and objectively quantify (not qualify) true changes in foreign or adversary populous perceptions. Accepting this simple logic, the apparent reason for adopting an over-inclusive Domain (e.g., inclusive of all electrons in transit) may be to assert enhanced ownership within the battle space, not to ensure the delivery of measurable effects for the engaged JFC. The wired versus wireless warfare discussion possesses passionate arguments on both sides, so Ill resort to a simple analogy. Say that dangerous criminals set fire to an occupied building. The building is burning, but only a policeman can get to the fires location due to the criminal situation. So if a

nformation Operations (IO) isnt irreparably broken. Attempts to employ it within the joint operating environment have simply proven too counterintuitive and contrived to provide a self sustaining and universally understoodmodel for effectively conducting the warfare portion of strategic engagement. Much of this stems from its institutionalized misapplication as an organizational model, to the repeated detriment of its apparent design intent as an integrating strategy. From personal experience, when the US Army employs IO they are in fact orchestrating influence operations (or IFO); essentially warfare in cognitive space. The US Air Force speaks of IO largely within the digital sphere, conceiving and testing virtually-derived IO weapons or computer network operations (CNO) tools, versus a broader network-intensive nature or efforts carrying cognitive influence as a firstorder effect. This is a fundamentally important distinction between the camps. These cognitive arts (MILDEC, PSYOP, OPSEC) starve when subjected to EW/CNO (or network) organizational subordination, and numerous unfortunate examples describe how the converse is certainly true. Further, we should elevate the broader concept of network from that of the strictly computer or cyber, because this essential delineation underscores an institutionally misplaced fact: Electronic Warfare has been conducting true network warfare for its entire existence. Though you must accept that the more permanent uses of network were meant to connote command and control (C2) networks, communications networks, integrated air defense system (IADS) networks,

policeman puts out the fire, is he now a fireman? Of course not it takes years of seasoning, education, and experience to become an effective policeman, and the firemen (or for that matter, the population) would be much less served were this true. Now, lets say the policeman is the only one who can deny, degrade, deceive, or destroy a WiFi RF link in an adversary computer network rest assured taxpayers: hes still a policeman. Shifting briefly to cognitive operations, its arguably fair to assume agreement on the notion that every observable action yields a cognitive result (or results). For example, one could target (talk to) someone, with predictable cognitive results. Or a force could jam or launch a computer attack against an air defense missile system, with more cognitive results. Or, that force could target (blow up) a power substation with obvious, lasting (and expensive) cognitive results. Although we engage in warfare against adversary cognitive space, information systems, or physical collateral, we may and should employ the latter two mission sets to enable delivery of effects in the cognitive space. However, combining them all using agenda-driven, poorly subordinated architecture in any other way is simple folly, in light of current and projected organizational truths. Unfortunately, this is the current state of IO. These functionally interrelated but organizationally articulated mission sets are better expressed as Cognitive Warfare (CW), Network Warfare (NW), and Kinetic Warfare (KW), respectively. To continue the theme, one could build a hospital in Country X, serve food to the locals, hand out candy, put on a talent show, or even hold a bake sale there, all with arguably beneficial cognitive results. So why arent these missions core capabilities of IO as well? Although the last snippet was meant in jest, recall that the legitimate battlespace capability of kinetic strike is somehow not a core capability subordinate to IO. This is a conspicuous exclusion for a reason I cannot yet personally fathom, unless the legacy thinking of kinetic vs other 

Figure 1. Optimized Strategic Communication model. (Author) crept into the creation of a concept that was functionally doomed from the start. In any event, the salient issue here is whether these aforementioned results are intended or not, anticipated or not, and/or catalysts for cascading Nth-order effects, which in turn may be unanticipated, unintended, etc. Further, we must visit whether or not these cognitive results work in concert with standing cognitive enhancement strategies or mitigation strategies, or if we even have such strategies in place to begin with. How many times have I heard from the executive pay grades something along the lines of: A mosque was just blown up What kind of IO can we sprinkle on that? Honestly, the team with the best combined natural IO game (given my experience) are the US Marines. They consider it thoroughly, somehow maintain the requisite finesse during conflict, and arguably demonstrate an uncanny cultural ability to make IO work like a watch. So IO does work? These guys are clearly somehow institutionally and culturally exceptional in this area I solicit examples to the contrary. In fact, I posit that any of the examples of successful implementation of true, integrated IO in recent operational history serve as exceptions rather than rules. Is it then our aim to promulgate (and expect results from) a doctrine that only those few on the cultural vanguard can implement, or instead to deconstruct the current battlefield truths and reconstruct a simple system that all can employ with at least equal effect? Frankly, the Marines will probably still figure out a way to evolve it and overproduce. In short, a military organization shouldnt have to be special just to adhere to the military playbook that model begs for confusion and inefficiency. I ask those who disagree to closely examine the contributions of IO to the current and lengthy campaign in Iraq, despite the best efforts of otherwise exceptional individuals. Let me distill a few fundamental notions to make them operator proof. First, targeting is targeting. Its ultimately no more than an effect to be obtained, delivered by a message, conveyed over a medium. Indeed, it could be as simple as a wish to make an adversary stop advancing toward you (effect), compelling you to send him a 7.62mm round (message) through a barrel (medium). Note the great potential here for cognitive impact. But it neednt be simply kinetic; it should regularly be a bit more complex. For example, you might wish for a certain demographic group to cease building and emplacing IEDs (effect), so you design and execute a persuasive campaign to halt the miscreant activity (message), persistently conveyed via all available print, electronic, or military means (media). This simple language challenges the targeting is kinetic paradigm holdouts by describing a universal framework wherein any means Fall 2007

of effects delivery becomes relevant, neither experimental nor intrinsically unsubstantial. Second, Strategic Communication (SC) should be considered the aggregation of methods the US DOS and DOD use to deliver strategic effects. SC isnt magic, or a mythically holistic game plan, or the sole responsibility of the DOD State has to begin showing up for the game. Accepting the premise of the previous paragraph is essentially accepting the fact that everything we do constitutes (and hopefully reinforces) Strategic Communication goals by either delivering or enabling delivery of strategic effects. Although some of us work for the DOD and some work for the DOS, we are fundamentally and necessarily united under the auspice of SC its not someone elses job. Third, within the framework of SC, we then either enhance (or reinforce) positive friendly or adversary behaviors or target (dissuade against or attack) noncompliant adversary behaviors. This framing language is key to simplifying and articulating duties, responsibilities, and missions for the optimized SC model proposed. To capture the full benefit, the designation of some comfortable old standards would change, with the intent of making the model more intuitively available by adequately explaining itselfinstead of constantly requiring explanation to facilitate each incidence of employee turnover. Fourth, and the most fundamental, is to exert engagement pressures, conduct targeting operations, and otherwise emphasize conditions which pull and confine the battlespace into the cognitive domain of engagement at the earliest possible opportunity. That is, reduce engagement to influence as soon as it will probably yield satisfactory anticipated and desired effects. Although I agree that physical engagement of an adversary has an undeniable appeal and will almost certainly remain a viable method of engagement, it is a supporting method of engagement if our ultimate aim is to convince adversaries to comply with our national wishes. This carries an implied task of ensuring freedom of operation

within all domains of engagement. If we accept this simplified view of SC (Figure 1), intuitive parallels naturally emerge. In this model, CW is logically responsible for PSYOP, OPSEC, and MILDEC efforts; NW is responsible for EW and CNO; KW is responsible for conveying physical harm. Where we use Warfare to wield the proverbial stick, we may pursue Engagement to offer the carrot. CWs complement in the cognitive space is Public Engagement (PE, executed by PA forces), reflecting the statutory prohibitions preventing PSYOP-type operations from being conducted against the American public. Forming a parallel to NW, Diplomacy Engagement (DE) positively engages foreign diplomatic networks to achieve SC objectives. Lastly, Infrastructure Engagement (IE) balances KW, leveraging in-country building and refurbishment efforts to enhance living conditions for the engaged populous, enabling a shift in focus for friendly operations toward the cognitive space. This catalyzes suitable adversary conditions for termination of military operations, and attainment of our desired end state. To present it all in practical terms, TO effects can only be sanctioned through participation of all three Warfare siblings, and EO effects likewise require participation of all three Engagement siblings to be properly vetted. During several phases of conflict, some

siblings from either group will appear underemployed. For example, early in a major combat operation scenario, NW and KW may weigh more heavily than CW operations, ostensibly serving as an attention step for adversary decision makers, but primarily to assure required freedom of operation within adversary space. Next, SC will shift focus to CW and IE in order to create favorable conditions, demonstrate goodwill, and serve as a bridging action for transition to end state. As the conflict matures, freedom of operation across the engagement domains is achieved and fundamental conditions previously compelling non-compliant adversary behaviors are addressed and sufficiently neutralized. Further, DE is engaged (or accelerated) to bring closure on favorable terms and foster post-conflict relationships, or possibly even alliances. In the near term, more practical and meaningful harmonization of engagement concepts and frameworks must occur, both to rightly evolve our fundamental modes of employment and to achieve a more sustainable business model. Simpler, more naturally descriptive models of employment such as the example depicted herein are intrinsically superior, more readily applicable, and more institutionally survivable. After quite some period of challenge and evolution, the wheel remains a good idea.

US Engagement In Africa: A Case Study In AFRICOM Strategic Communications


By Major Albert Franke, USAF; Major David Gigliotti, USA; Lieutenant Colonel John Janiszewski, USA Abstract: The authors describe the evolution of US policies and attitudes toward the nation states of Africa, and how the creation of a new unified combatant command structure will enhance American/African relationships. They analyze major tasks and themes, and recommend methods for successful application of US messages. Editors Note: This paper won the Gen Douglas MacArthur Thesis Award for top writing, Joint Forces Staff College Class 07-3. immediately begin staffing through the interagency and begin articulating to the US, the International Community, Africas leaders and most importantly Africas people. Engagement Policy In Africa On February 6, 2007 President George W. Bush announced that the Department of Defense will create a Defense Unified Combatant Command for Africa by the end of fiscal year 2008. The President specifically cited his reasons for standing up US AFRICOM as to strengthen our security cooperation with Africa and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa. AFRICOM will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy, and economic growth in Africa. Prior to defining the engagement policy in Africa, we must first define the strategic interests of the US in Africa. Africa plays a critical role in the world and its importance is a major factor in the policy of the US The number one national interest in Africa articulated by the US is to strengthen alliances to defeat global terrorism. In addition to defeating global terrorism, other US interests in Africa include: promoting democracy and human rights, economic growth and development, health, education, reduction of armed conflict, HIV/AIDS reduction, crisis response, and continued oil/global trade. A Pentagon briefing on AFRICOM pointed out its significant strategic and economic importance saying, our focus is to build the capacity of our African partners to reduce conflict, improve security, defeat terrorists and support crisis response.

eadlines across Africa are making incredible assertions about US intentions on the African continent. The New US Command for Africa will militarize the continent, is one position. Another reads, AFRICOM: Another Grasp of an American Epileptic, adding the new command is sinister and hideous. Another paper in Egypt states that Washington is using the pretext of combating terrorism as a cover for hiding its real aims. The article claims Americas real aim is to grab the continent in an effort to seize Africas oil and mineral resources. What we, US joint officers, see as twisting of the truth, the African population most likely accepts as fact. If there is no other information to counter media propaganda, the propaganda will be accepted as truth. Although the US has made great strides in US Africa Command (AFRICOM) implementation planning, including the development of a comprehensive Strategic Communication (SC) Plan, how can these headlines and many other similar articles continue to go unchallenged? If we do not challenge, and challenge quickly, this media propaganda, half-truths, and rumors that are spreading across the African continent, we will lose the battle of perception. Losing the perception battle before the official stand-up of the newest and most promising global partnership venture is the last thing the US needs today. However, to this point, the US has not sufficiently articulated its engagement policy in Africa and must develop a Strategic Communication

AFRICOM Area of Responsibility. (DOD) model that targets four key world audiences: US to US Domestic, US to International Community, US to Africa, and Africa to International Community. This paper will introduce the US engagement policy in Africa and the benefits of the new command. The message that needs to be told is that the new commands objectives includes boosting the capacity of African nations to combat terrorism on their own, enhancing humanitarian assistance, bolstering respect for human rights, partnering with African nations, and carrying out combined peace promoting operations, as required. Next, this paper will describe the draft AFRICOM SC Plan and expose its strengths and weaknesses. A new SC planning model will be discussed which is built around the four key world audiences and explain how every SC plan needs to consider these four audiences. Finally, the paper will suggest new themes and messages joint AFRICOM planners must

32

Fall 2007

The US engagement policy in Africa is not one based upon the worlds super power flexing its muscles and filling a leadership void in Africa, but instead is based on assisting existing African organizations while strengthening their capacity to do increasingly more. Outlining this policy to the current leaders in Africa, and more importantly to the African public, is absolutely critical to the success of AFRICOM. Ryan Henry, Pentagon Policy Chief outlined this policy in an April press briefing saying, the goal is for AFRICOM not to be a US leadership role on the continent, but rather to support African leadership efforts We would be looking to complement rather than compete with any leadership efforts currently going on. Description Of Africa Command AFRICOM is in the final stages of being created out of US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany and will be led by GEN William E. Ward, Deputy Commander of US European Command. Although the headquarters is currently in Stuttgart, Germany, it will ultimately be located somewhere in Africa. The draft mission statement of AFRICOM is: US Africa Command promotes US National Security objectives by working with African states and regional organizations to help strengthen stability and security in the AOR. US Africa Command leads the in-theater DOD response to support other USG security policies and strategies. In concert with other US government and international partners, US Africa Command conducts theater security cooperation activities to assist in building security capacity and improve accountable governance. As directed, US Africa Command conducts military operations to deter aggression and respond to crisis. This mission statement is consistent with the Presidents stated intent in US national strategy documents. The focus of AFRICOM will be primarily humanitarian, economic, and diplomatic with a focus on prevention of conflict, rather than military intervention, according to Theresa Whelan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs.

In other words, AFRICOM is not your typical military command and will be the first command of its kind. AFRICOM will be a close-knit organization of military, state department, and non-governmental (NGOs) entities integrated as a support function to African leadership and regional organizations. In order for AFRICOM to be successful and accomplish its mission the command must work in cooperation with African leaders, states, US government agencies and other NGOs and partners to conduct its essential tasks. The tasks focus on working with African leaders in order to build partners and strengthen security and stability on the African continent. Conducting combat and military operations is the last priority and will be conducted only when specifically directed. As Principal Deputy Under Secretary Henry said recently, its principle mission will be in the area of security cooperation and building partnership capability. It will not be in warfighting. What Do Africans Think Of AFRICOM? The goals and objectives for AFRICOM appear noble and admirable as they promote compassion and assistance to the plight of the African continent and seek to work through current structures to help build stability and capacity. But noble and admirable is the way we view the situation from our positions as US joint force officers. The real question of importance is what do Africans think about AFRICOM? Without being able to poll Africans directly, our team believed the best way to determine what Africans were thinking was to do a survey of what African media was saying. Using the resource of the US Open Source Center, which scours open source international media and translates it into English, our team searched for references to AFRICOM across the African region following the announcement of AFRICOM on 6 February 2007. What we found was disturbing. Of the articles reviewed, almost all reported a negative slant. Many writers indicated an outright distrust of a military presence in Africa and linked it directly to Chinas growing

presence in Africa. Unfortunately, President Bushs announcement of the new command came on the heels of the Beijing Summit on China-Africa Cooperation in November 2006 in which 48 of 54 African nations attended. President Bushs announcement appeared to be a response to this ChinaAfrican summit, although planning for AFRICOM had been in the works since shortly after 11 Sep 01. To date, the African media has been extremely negative and distrustful of the new command. A 2 Mar 2007 Open Source Report cites a South African think-tank that believes AFRICOM could undermine the African Unions (AU) efforts. The report warns that a US military presence could cause AlQaeda attacks to increase in Africa. South Africa based Business Day says that AFRICOM would destabilize an already fragile continent and region, which would be forced to engage with US interests on military terms. A Zimbabwe paper, The Herald, reports the plan is a sinister and hideous construct plainly meant to oversee US military activities on the continent. Multiple writers complain of US involvement due solely to oil, such as, among the key goals for the new command, for example, is the assurance of oil imports from Africa. Lagos The Guardian commented that Washington has paid increasing attention to Africa in recent years, partly out of anxiety that African states can be a haven for Islamist militants and also because of an interest on its natural resources. Another writer worried that AFRICOM would open the door to an Israeli military and intelligence presence in Africa and facilitate a sudden aggressive presence of NATO forces across the continent. There were many other examples, but if this small representative sample of articles and commentaries is what the African public is hearing, how can they trust the new command? The general public is left with these negative messages about AFRICOM, and very little appears to be countering the African medias information campaign.

33

Review Of Draft AFRICOM Strategic Communication Plan The draft AFRICOM SC Plan found in the AFRICOM Implementation Plan provides a variety of themes and messages that the DOD would like to convey to a number of audiences, both domestic and international. Individually, each message is detailed and targeted toward a specific audience but are not organized within an audience domain. For this reason, the messages lose rhythm and synergy and detract from the overall flow of the plan. Additionally, the desired effects of the messages are not clearly articulated, making any assessment of their effectiveness immeasurable or at least difficult to measure. The plan does attempt to organize themes and messages in the following categories: How AFRICOM benefits the US How AFRICOM is Designed to Address African Security Challenges The US Remains Committed to NATO and European Allies Ultimately, however, the messages remain sporadic across domains and miss a number of key audiences that should be included within the broader context. For example, The US Remains Committed to NATO and European Allies is part of a theme directed from the US toward a part of the International Community; NATO and Europe being a subset of that community. By not including the messages directed from the US to other international audiences, we loose the overall theme the US is trying to portray to the international communitynot just NATO and Europe. The format of the plan should stay standardized and consistent. It should effectively organize messages within a broader audience domain woven into overarching themes, measurable against effects and objectives. Doing so would make the SC plan a much more effective and executable product for DOD and USG agencies. To summarize, we believe the SC plan has the following strengths: Provides comprehensive and sufficient detail in each theme and message.

Figure 1. Proposed New Strategic Communication Planning Model: The Four Domains. Messages are clear and target very specific audiences. Themes and messages are linked to our strategic objectives as articulated in the NMS, NDS, and QDR. However, we believe the draft SC plan has the following shortcomings which form the basis for our recommendation for a new SC planning model, applicable to all future SC plans, described later in this paper: Needs standardization and consistency in format. Maintain organization and synchronization within target audience domains. Desired effects and objectives should be stated against each message and theme in order to measure success, and equally important, to adjust our SC plan and implementation if necessary. Consistent with other Effects Based Planning, Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) and Measures of Performance (MOP) should be included. Define how and when messages should be released and controls on how to limit the wrong messages. A New Strategic Communication Planning Model Our proposed model (Figure 1) provides planners a framework to develop SC plans in an organized and consistent way; developing and synchronizing themes and messages into four broader domains based on groups of primary target audiences: (1) US to US Domestic, (2) US to Target Nation, (3) US to International and (4) Target Nation to International. This enables commanders to maximize and achieve greater desired effects and measurable achievement of objectives. The foundation of this model is based on appropriately established desired effects and objectives from which to develop themes and messages. In addition to establishing clear effects and objectives, we must also systematically conduct assessments of the plan to ensure we are achieving our stated effects and objectives. As described in JP 5.0, we can use Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) and Measures of Performance (MOP) to ensure we are doing the right things, and doing things right, respectively. US to US Domestic: The themes and messages we want to deliver to the US domestic audiencegovernment, defense, business, media and public. This domain explains to the US why what we are doing is important to the US This domain is often taken for granted.

3

Fall 2007

The will of the people is necessary to leaders to help shape the desired outcome. outline the benefits of AFRICOM to the implement our strategy, policy, and The goal is for the Target Nation to US include: operations in the long term in order to understand, believe, and embrace what Africa matters to the US because achieve our objectives and therefore, we are saying and doing in their countries a stable, healthy, and more prosperous SC in this domain should be given so that potential adversaries will hear a Africa will contribute to global security appropriate consideration. consistent message. and a stronger world economy. US to Target Nation: This domain One example from the current AFRICOM will work with African refers to the primary nation with which AFRICOM SC Plan highlights the leaders to help develop solutions and we are implementing a strategy, policy, need to establish clear desired effects, strategies that strengthen the continents or operation. Our plan should focus on objectives, and measures of assessment security and stability. that nations government, business, and (MOE/MOP) prior to developing themes AFRICOM is an interagency public much like the US to Domestic and messages. The plan provides organization that represents a new domain. Themes, messages and desired specific messages for Congress on the method of enabling us to assist African effects in this domain should address the establishment of AFRICOM, but does partners to achieve the goal of African government, economy, the military and not link those messages to desired renewal. society and individuals, if we require effects and objectives such as enabling Africas stability has a direct strong public support. This domain can funding, engendering support, changing correlation to the security of the US An also be framed in terms of groups, if we perceptions, or a combination thereof. unstable Africa provides an environment are trying to target a non-state, ethnic Without knowing the effects and that allows terrorists to fester and carry and/or religious-based diasporas. objectives, the themes and messages could out planning and training of future attacks US to International: This domain actually be harmful rather than helpful. on US soil. Themes and messages that addresses any audience outside convey this include: the US Domestic or Target AFRICOM allows the Nation(s) audience. In this US to help address a new set domain we are trying to either of global security risks. gain support for what we are AFRICOM will help to doing in the target audience strengthen alliances within domain, or at least minimize the African continent to defeat undesired effects coming from global terrorism. the international community. AFRICOM will work More often than not, we will closely with African leaders be operating in a coalition, and other international multi-nationally, and/or within organizations to defuse regional an alliance. Just as the will of conflict. the people is necessary to foster The US has an obligation in the US Domestic domain, as a superpower to address the A local level cultural exchange in Tanzania. (US Navy) gaining the support and will of growing humanitarian crisis many nations will help us achieve those In summary, themes and messages must issues on the African continent. It is objectives. be designed to achieve desired effects our national interest to promote human Target Nation to International: This and objectives or they can be irrelevant dignity throughout the world. Themes domain is likely the most underdeveloped or possibly counterproductive. and messages that express this include: part of nearly all SC plans. It refers to HIV and infectious diseases are Current and Proposed AFRICOM the themes and messages we would like needlessly killing thousands of Africans Themes & Messages to see the target nations government each year. and military amplify to the international AFRICOM will lead an integrated Most Americans do not realize the community in support of our strategic importance of US national interests in government team that facilitates message. It is critical to articulate a Africa and the economic and strategic addressing the growing health concerns desired objective of what we would importance of Africa in global affairs. within Africa. want key African leaders to say about The themes and messages for our The US is a champion for human US strategy, policy, or operations in domestic audience focus on these dignity and promotes a healthy well Africa. For example, what do we want interests and: how AFRICOM benefits being for all people. African leaders to say to the Chinese the US, how a stable Africa helps the Probably the least developed of all about AFRICOM? We should establish security of the US and on our obligation messages in the current AFRICOM SC objectives/effects that will answer this to prevent and respond to humanitarian plan are those from the US to the African question, and then engage those African crisis. Some themes and messages that people. Although there are many themes

3

and messages that address Africa directly, most of those messages are aimed at governments and how AFRICOM will benefit Africa in larger terms of peace, security, and stability. What Africa needs are those messages that explain how AFRICOM will benefit the people in terms to which they can relate. In a recent Web-log on NigerianFactor.com, a site dedicated to Africans discussing African issues, we asked the question, what do you think about AFRICOM? One African responder to our question, with a user name of Lade gave an answer that was very telling as he/she answers for his/her countrymen. In the Web-log, Lade said: This can be a good idea if implemented carefully and effectively. However, the best ways to win the heart and soul of African citizens will be to go in with something that will help to improve their lives. Every nation needs security against extreme ideological and religion fanaticism. If such a command will help to improve such security, its all good. The important statement in this quote is that in order to win the heart and soul of the African citizen, we need to explain how AFRICOM will improve their individual lives. Yes, the larger concept of security is critical, but we need to be able to articulate the improvement to Africans daily lives rather than simply stating greater security to answer that question. All messages must answer the question: How will AFRICOM improve African lives? Although it is important not to oversell what AFRICOM can do, it is important to relate what AFRICOM means for the average person on the street. Recommended messages to start flowing to Africa in a new media blitz/campaign include: Better economies and more jobs as Africans allow AFRICOM to assist their leaders and organizations. AFRICOM, a new partner in the battle against sickness and disease. AFRICOM deploys assistance not troops. AFRICOM is in partnership with Africans. This partnership will calm regional tensions which will lead to peace,

security, jobs, plus greater opportunities for trade and food supplies. AFRICOM for Africans prosperity and security for all people. AFRICOM allow organizations to get aid to go where it is needed most. Peace, prosperity, security AFRICOM cares for you and your family. AFRICOM will provide an environment to allow education and peace to flourish. Slogan: AFRICOM helping Africans. Themes and Messages for US to the International Community The creation of AFRICOM may be looked at by the international community as the early stage of a US attempt to project its power in order to dominate the world. This clearly is not a perception we can allow to go unchallenged. Our themes and messages to the international community outside of Africa need to center on the benefits of AFRICOM to the international community and our continued commitment to our international partners. Themes and messages that address these two points include: An AFRICOM goal is for a stronger AU that will work hand in hand with the EU and UN AFRICOM will strengthen regional and sub-regional organizations and strengthen regional security capacity AFRICOM will address such transnational threats as health, crime and maritime security, and terrorism. AFRICOM will emphasize shared responsibility for addressing African security interests. The creation of AFRICOM will not alter our relations with NATO and our European allies. Themes and Messages for Target Nation to International Community The final category are those themes and messages we want African leaders to convey to the International Community. Although we cannot force African

leaders to tow the party line and simply parrot information we want them to say, we can have frank discussions at the diplomatic/political and senior military leadership engagement programs to express the importance of speaking the same language. The importance of this category is clear. As the world hears Africa speaking a clear, consistent, and coordinated message, the international community will see the strength of the US-African relationship. This show of strength is critical to countering the negative influence from competing countries. Suggested themes include: Africans want AFRICOM. The African people want a strong partnership with the United States through AFRICOM. Africa enjoys the benefits of rapid humanitarian and crisis response provided through AFRICOM. Conclusions & Recommendations The success of AFRICOM depends not only on how the US implements its policy on the Africa continent but also on how the US executes its strategic communication plan. To date the US has not done a very good job of articulating a comprehensive message (SC plan driven) that clearly states its engagement policies in Africa. Our desire is for final AFRICOM SC Plan to be comprehensive and fully explain the strategic communication from objectives, through effects, to themes/ messages, and how/when to execute. Not limited to AFRICOM planning, it is necessary to develop a new SC model that engages four key world audiences: US to US Population; US to International Community; US to Africa; and Africa to International Community. Using this model and the stated themes and messages, we believe AFRICOM will effectively communicate US intentions and benefits to Africa. Finally, it is imperative that we get these messages out today in a coordinated Defense, State, and interagency media campaign. The AFRICOM word is on the African street, but the word is not good. We must move today to change the perception of

3

Fall 2007

African media and the African people to enable US AFRICOM to be as successful in its goals and objectives as it claims. Bibliography African, US Military Chiefs Meet on Terrorism. The Guardian, 9 Feb 07. Crawley, Vince (2007). US Militarys Africa Command Will Help African Leaders. Online document at http:// usinfo.state.gov. DOD, News Briefing with Principal Deputy Under Secretary Henry From the Pentagon, 23 Apr 07. Ezzat, Dina. US in Africa to stay, Feb 2007, (http://weekly.ahram.org. eg/print/2007/83/eg2.htm). JP 5.0 Joint Operation Planning, 26 Dec 06.

Lone, Salim. Kenya commentary says new US Africa Command to militarise ties with continent. Nairobi Daily Nation. 9 Feb 07. Manheru, Nathaniel. Africom: Another Grasp of an American Epileptic. Harare, The Herald. 10 Feb 07, page 8. Mills, Greg. Worlds biggest military comes to town. Business Day, 9 Feb 07, (http://www.businessday.co.za/Articles/ TarkArticle.aspx?ID=2552057). Nuri, Joia. Africom Press Release. Tr a n s A f r i c a F o r u m , 7 F e b 0 7 , (http://www.transafricaforum.org/ AfricomPressRelease.htm). Office of the Press Secretary, President Bush Created a Department of Defense Unified Combatant Command for Africa, February 6, 2007.

Open Source Report, Sub-Saharan Africa. FEA20070305097291, 2 Mar 07. Pentagon Briefing, US Africa Command, February 7, 2007, (www. defenselink.mil/home/pdf/AFRICOM_ PublicBrief02022007.pdf). USA Africa command poses tragedy, Dar es Salaam an-Nur, 16 Feb 2007 (translated from Swahili). US Creates Military Command for Africa, Voice of America, 6 Feb 2007, (http://www.voanews.com/ english/2007-02-06-voa31.cfm). US Policy on Africa is Ominous, Sunday Times, 18 Feb 07, (http:// w w w. s u n d a y t i m e s . c o . z a / a r t i c l e . aspx?ID=388528). Yusuf, Thana. Is this an American Tutelage over Africa. Cairo Al-Akhbar. 6 Mar 07, page 14.

37

Countering Child Suicide Bombers:


Interview With Brooke Goldstein
Interviewed By John Whisenhunt, Editor Editorial Abstract: Human rights attorney Brooke Goldstein produced the recent film The Making of a Martyr, a documentary addressing use of children as suicide bombers in the Palestinian Territories. Goldstein describes her field experiences and findings, examining the extensive social & cultural influences that enable child recruitment. IO Sphere: Social networking and family influence are perhaps the most powerful tools extremists possess. How are they corrupting young people into becoming bombers? BG: There are several factors that are influencing young, impressionable Palestinian children to become suicidehomicide bombers. Incitement to hate and to martyr themselves is coming at these children from all directions. First of all you have state-run television, radio and print media that broadcast childrens programming with messages of hate and death. These programs are aimed at children as young as the pre-school age and come in the form of cartoons, music videos, talk shows, puppets, and adults dressed up as Mickey Mouse-like characters teaching children to violently kill themselves for the sake of Allah and jihad. The shows depict a fairy-tale paradise complete with amusement parks, candy and toys. Palestinian schools, as well as schools run by the UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] hire teachers straight off the Hamas payroll, hang martyr posters on classroom walls and use textbooks that deny Israels right to exist, as well as objectify Jews and all infidels as subhuman creatures. Itamar Marcus has examples of this on his website, Palestinian Media Watch. Often, parents have gone on record stating they encourage their children to become suicide bombers and families of those martyred receive cash payments from banks such as the Arab Bank, while they are revered, celebrated and honored by their community. The culture of martyrdom is inescapable when you live in the West Bank or Gaza. Adults and children who become suicide bombers are hailed as heroes and role models for children to emulate, schools and summer camps are named in their honor. On top of it all, terrorist groups such as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, who have each openly declared responsibility for recruiting children as suicide bombers, patrol the streets for their child victims. Children are being picked up, literally, from the classroom and sent out with I want to make clear, that the child suicide bomber is as much a victim of a crime as are the innocent civilians killed in his or her explosive wake. This child does not have the malicious intent required to convict him of murder. These children are victims of the most egregious human right violation, the premeditated murder of ones own children. The incitement and recruitment of Palestinian children to become suicide bombers is grossly illegal, it is state sponsored mass infanticide and frankly, the practice is a form of societal suicide completely unprecedented in recorded human history. Palestinian children are not doing this of their own free will, nor are they doing this for political reasons. It was not out of desperation, but aspiration to become heroes, to become famous, to have sex with virgins, to go to paradise. For us suicide bombing is still abhorrent; for these children its like eating french fries. They literally dont understand that you die when you blow your limbs apart, there is a mental disconnect there; death is not martyrdom. Its like becoming a rock star overnight. Also, this phenomenon is spreading beyond the West Bank and Gaza. We are now seeing child suicide bombing in areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Children are being educated in Pakistani mosques, are kidnapped, sexually and physically abused and then driven across the border by Talibani terrorists for missions in Iraq against not only American soldiers, but also Iraqi citizens, including other children. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is pardoning six year old children recruited by the Taliban for suicide missions and who are told their belt will spray flowers! Some of these children are also voluntarily turning themselves

(Fox News) explosives in under 48 hours! Some of the children that are preyed upon are those who have, for one reason or another, been marginalized. For example, Hussam Abdu, the main character of my film, was a fifteen year old, physically a dwarf, and therefore considered to be mentally handicapped child. He was convinced by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that he would become popular and famous if he blew himself up. Al-Aqsa used two of Hussams fifth grade classmates each paid 100 dollarsto recruit him. Fortunately, Hussam was smart enough to turn himself in. Unfortunately, he has been tried and convicted of attempted murder and is now serving out an eight year sentence in an Israeli prison.

12

Fall 2007

into the authorities. Al Manar network, the Hizballah-run television station, is being broadcast via satellite throughout Europe and has been named as one of the most influential factors in radicalizing European Muslim youth. How much longer will it be until we see a child suicide bomber in London? IO Sphere: Say you were building a case as an attorney: who is most culpable for these actions; who do we go after? BG: Lets look at that both legally and morally. Who are we going blame? My position is these children are innocent. They dont deserve blame, or jail, or to pay for the crimes of adults who abuse them as political pawns. According to international law, customary law, and morality, children under the age of eighteen are juveniles. Theyre innocents, and they dont have the maturity or capacity comprehend the gravity of these situations, to weigh the value of their own life against the political impact of a suicide attackso the last thing we want to do is blame the children for this phenomenon. The children are the victims, this is clear. Obviously those culpable are the adults who recruit and physically put bombs around childrens waists, drive them to checkpoints, and either instruct the children to blow themselves up or detonate them by remote control. So theres culpability with these terrorists, but the chances of going to the West Bank or Gaza and handcuffing them, then hauling them to some international court are slim. What about the parents? Why arent the parents teaching their children to be safe, to love life, to seek a future? Even if they do, that message is directly contradicted by everything the children see on TV, everything they learn at school, from the Internet, even by the sticker albums theyre given! When I was in the West Bank in 2004, the fad was sticker albums, where you have heads of martyrs and you place them in different settings, like on a cloud in heaven collect all twenty of the most recent suicide bombers! Who in their right mind is printing those? They too are

responsible. The chief programmer at PA TV, whom I interviewed in my film, is directly responsible for incitement to mass murder Palestinian children by airing inciteful cartoons and programming. The Palestinian Authority, Hamas, other state governments like Iran, state banks in Arab countries that financially support the families of suicide bombers, all play a role. And charities who donate to Hamas, knowing they recruit children are also responsible they need to put conditions on their money, or just donate decent textbooks. So what we have is a complex problem where martyrdom is ingrained in the culture of the Palestinians and is supported ideologically and financially by various outside sources. The first step, at least, must be for the UN, international organizations and human rights organizations to outright condemn this practice. To date, the UN has issued hundreds of resolutions condemning Israel for alleged human rights violations, yet it has issued not one denouncing child suicide bombing as a crime against humanity. Those who claim to be the protectors of Palestinian children, those who toil to expose the alleged human rights violations against them by Israel, surely they must be outraged by the intentional murder of these children by their own community! Can you imagine what would happen if any western state strapped bombs on horses or dogs and sent out those animals to detonate amongst civilian populations? There would be deafening outcry amongst animal rights groups, and rightly so! But when it comes to the use of Muslim children in this manner, no one is screaming out! Why? Second, the western media needs to start reporting accurately on events in the Middle East. Rarely does the media mention the age and origin of a Palestinian, Iraqi or Afghani suicide bomber, and this is leading many to dangerous misconceptions about why we have suicide bombing in the first place. For, a six-year-old child kidnapped and forced to become a suicide bomber is not doing it for the same reasons as a 26-year-old local does. Public awareness must be raised and fruitful debate must begin about this crime against children

because ignoring it is sending the message that we dont care or that we condone the activity, and the longer we are silent, the longer this practice will continue. Special prosecutors at the UN and at the Hague should take these cases on and attorneys should be motivated to lobby for the application of international human rights law in other international and national courts of law. But ultimately, change must come from within the Muslim community itself. Moderate Muslim parents must speak out against the indoctrination and recruitment of their own children. Terrorists are very aware of the hearts and minds battle, and if they see that they are losing support within the Muslim community, maybe they will cease this practice. IO Sphere: Lets talk about making the film. Here you are, a young, educated western woman, and in the eyes of these folks youre the wrong faith the deck is stacked against you walking into that environment. But if you can talk to these people, is there hope for other dialog with extremists? BG: The people I interviewed had no qualms, and were very happy to talk about their practices, because from their point of view, they are doing Gods work. The fact that they were willing to talk to me, however, doesnt mean that they are reasonable or humanitarian people. After all, we were talking openly about how they recruit and kill children in suicide attacks. As for me, a woman without any real protection, and kind of naveyes that was very frivolous of me. But I did not want to make a film that was full of hearsay, I wanted to get confessions from the perpetrators mouths themselves and they indeed hung themselves without the need for a didactic narrative condemnation. No one asked about my background or about my beliefs, they were just interested that Brooke from Canada had a TV camera. And they opened up. The Palestinian territories are very used to journalists; Gaza and the West Bank have got to be two of the most covered areas in the entire world. I dont know how it compares to Iraq right now, but

13

journalists are all over. So all we did was take some tape and mark TV on the side of our Jeep, and drive through the camps. Everyone would come up and say ah, television where are you from? Wed reply Canada, and that was all it took. What can I say, they liked to be on TV. IO Sphere: If you hadnt been able to offer that, do you feel they would they have been as receptive? BG: I think so. People are happy to talk with an individual. They were happy to sit with me just like Im happy to talk with you. Maybe theres a bit of selfishness, and they wanted a little fame. Zakaria Zubeidi of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigadesthe most wanted man in the West Banksurvivor of five assassination attempts, regularly talks to the media. Thats the whole strategy with these guys. Again, heres the fame element of wanting to become a star militant, and wanting to be recognized. They know theyre not here on the planet for longa lot of the people we interviewed are now dead. Theres a scene where Im interviewing five masked gunmen and three of them are no longer around. Catch your fifteen minutes while you can. They had a moment to say Look at us, were ruthless were making a statement here. That statement being we recruit children as young as ten years old, for suicide attacks. IO Sphere: North America is full of talented folks who can create messages like your film. How do we get media and government together as creative talent? BG: I think our government needs to support our independent journalists and filmmakerswhether through monetary or logistical support, or a research base because its very important for the American government to get the truth out there. This is as much a propaganda war as it is a physical battle, and frankly, we cant afford to lose the propaganda war. The media as we know it does a very poor job of reporting, especially when

it comes to the root causes of suicide bombing, which is largely a product of hate education. As I referenced in my talk earlier, since 2000 one of every five suicide bombers in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been aged eighteen and under. Thats a number youre probably not going to find unless you do a whole slew of research, or talk to me and why is our media not reporting the facts properly? Because a fifteen year old handicapped suicide bomber recruited against his own will does not fall into their version of the adult Palestinian suicide bomber frustrated with the occupation, and driven to suicide because of desperation. So, I think the government should support independent filmmakers and truth tellers risking their lives in war zones. IO Sphere: In building messages were trying to find people who can work both the softer artistic side, and the harder tech side. What advice would you give someone who wanted to be like youan advocate and a filmmaker? BG: Obviously as a filmmaker youre going in with a goal, and you have to choose a good subject. And you have to take maybe eighty hours of footage and edit it down to sixty minutes of compelling human-interest stories. Most importantly, you cant approach your topic didactically; you have to trust your audience. Theyre smart, give them the truth. They will, they should, and they must come to the right conclusion. What we tried to show in The Making of a Martyr, was the experience of Palestinian children and the attitudes of their community straight from the mouths of the perpetrators and the victims themselves. Through their stories, without a bunch of talking heads, our audience must come to their own conclusions: do they or do they not support this activity? Regardless of where they stand politically, regardless of whether they are right or left, proPalestinian or pro-Israeli, do they advocate the murder of Palestinian children in this manner? Child suicide bombing is a subject with a clear truth, one that does not need to be spun or

packaged. Children are innocent, they dont deserve to die, they dont deserve to be taught to kill themselves, and they dont deserve to be killed by remote control suicide belt detonation! If you present this accurately, I think everyone will agree. But if youre going to be a filmmaker, that doesnt always mean objectivityI think thats overrated. As filmmaker and as a journalist you should, and sometimes you must, take a position. And it should be a result of the research you accumulate. Your audience should come to the same conclusion when you show them the results of your entire researchthe accurate information you collected, and the unedited words of your interview subjects. I didnt have to spin this story: my interviewees told me straight up they recruit kids. I let them speak for themselves, and let the audience condemn them on their own accord. Show people something they dont have the opportunity to see firsthand. Documentary filmmakers should not feel the need to be objective to the point where if a message starts coming through in the film, they have to actively seek out someone who contradicts that message. We did about eighty-one hours of interviews, and an overwhelming message emerged. I didnt go out to find an armchair philosopher to contradict the evidence that is clear and out in the open. Theres a disease of political correctness that says youre biased if you take a side, and thats simply untrue. There is a part in the film where we show people who are clearly denying facts. And when your interview subject is lying, and you know that, then you have a responsibility to your audience to show that he is lying. And ideally you will do this not through insulting narrative, but by presenting evidence of their betrayal to your audience. We interviewed Yayha Barakat, chief programmer at PA TV, and asked him do your programs incite violence? He said, absolutely not, we dont incite violence. Dispersed throughout his interview we inserted clips from PA TV, and without saying anything we just showed the clips. Our audience can see for themselves he is lyingno one had to tell them, because it

1

Fall 2007

was evident from the clips themselves. IO Sphere: Lets shift gears a bit. As an attorney and an advocate, and given current international law, how do we fight this problem from a legal standpoint? BG: Theres a problem. We have international law that is clearly codified, widely ratified treaties, and conventions on the rights of children, the United Nations Charter: the laws exist. The problem is that theyre not being enforced. Why? Issues of jurisdiction, problems of state sovereignty, problems of biased courts, problems of special prosecutors who dont want to take this up. Then theres non-recognition of international law: people simply think these laws dont apply to them. Finally, theres no motivation on the part of attorneys to spend their time; take the pro bono hours, travel to the war zones, collect the depositions when you could be working for a top firm in New York instead. I mean, here I am with a degree in human rights law, and sometimes it seems useless! So to collect data on human rights violations, I had to make a documentary film. The only hope I see for enforcement of international law is raising public awareness, sparking public debate, and people becoming appalled enough to get their elected representatives to take up the issues with places like the UN. Countries like the US, Canada, France, Germanyall democratic countries that are party to the UNneed to pressure the special prosecutors of the international courts, set up special courts, and expand the jurisdiction of their national courts to allow for the civil and criminal prosecution of these crimes. Someone needs to start pressuring The Hague to add these cases to their dockets. Moreover, we need to start using the right legal language. Al-Aqsa is not militant, they are criminal terrorists. They are child abusers. They are child murderers and the Palestinian Authority is complicit in these crimes. Whats happening in the West Bank to Palestinian children at the hands of their own society isnt lawful resistance: it is

illegal. Yet we cant even come up with a clear [legal] definition of terrorism; thats ridiculous! We need to define it within ourselves what is terrorism? Certainly the base line definition is the intentional murder of innocent (civilian) children at the hands of their own state and state-sponsored institutions and militant groups for intimidation and political purposes. This is exactly what is going on, and if the world cant come to a consensus, Muslims and non-Muslims, left and right alike, that it is wrong to kill a child, then our civilization has come to a very low point. IO Sphere: Youve had some significant experiences in researching and making the film. Is there any one thing that really stands out? BG: A couple of things stand out. One is the role that drugs play: children are given hashish prior to going out on these suicide attacks. Thats how they numb the children, and get them woozy and willing to commit suicide. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades actually gave us blocks of hash as a gift for interviewing them, as if it were some sort of honor. What Palestinian children need is rehabilitation, a re-education because of what they have and are still going through. We also need to support Palestinian parents who are willing to speak out against this practice because the standard so far is violent intimidation against anyone who speaks out against

the Intifada. Zacharia Zubeidi told me that if any parent opposed him, he would publicly accuse them of collaborating with the Israelis and deal with them accordingly. Now I just find it hard to believe that the majority of Palestinian parents willingly advocate the death of their own children. The Palestinian society is being held hostage by a lunatic fringe that is becoming larger and stronger every day to the extent that it is becoming the new mainstream. IO Sphere: And you spent time with that fringe. That takes some guts. BG: Oh, I was young and nave! You cant condemn or praise a society until youve met them, and researched their ways. I wouldnt have any credibility to take up this issue unless I knew what I was talking about, firsthand. Why should anyone listen to me? It turned out to be much worse than I expected. And to the point of this seminar, this is something we can come to consensus onwith our enemies evenit doesnt matter where you stand in the socio-political spectrum! IO Sphere: Thats quite a message. Thank you for sharing these incredible and disturbing experiences. BG: This has been a very worthwhile experience and Im very glad to have been a part of it. Thank you.

1

Understanding Insurgent Brand Strategy


By Scott Miller Editorial Abstract: Mr. Miller applies his professional product marketing experience, and previous work in insurgent business practices, to the task of countering suicide bombers. He presents a methodology for analyzing extremist behaviors and activities as a brand, and recommends a multimedia influence campaign to help fight extremist ideologies. achieved). But a brand is a brand is a brand. Any product, institution, party, group or individual leader has a brand. The brand is a sort of container for thousands of bits and bytes of information; indeed, the brand contains all of the actions, communications and interactions perceived by the consumer or voter. Remember, the brand exists in the perceptions of the consumer or voter. So the same brand may have different meaning to different individuals. I learned in politics, with a lot of scar tissue to show for the education, that everything communicates; every detail of a campaign, planned or unplanned, is important to some important constituent. Its the same for products. Consider the Coca-Cola brand. Estimates put its value at upwards of US $80 Billion. What is that brand? Is it the uniquely refreshing product; the pause that refreshes? Is it the distinctive contour bottle or Coca-Cola script? Is it the price, the position in the store, the ubiquitous distribution on shelves, in vending machines or at restaurants? Is it the signs and billboards? Is it the radio and TV commercials; the polar bears or Santa Claus? Is it the price or promotion or sponsorships of everything from high school scoreboards to NASCAR racing teams or NFL broadcasts? Is it the involvement in community activities? Is it the fleets of trucks we see everywhere? The answer is yes. Its all of that. I tell my corporate clients, brand is everything. Just like in politics, its every little detail. And in a successful brand campaign in politics or business, all those details are formed around on core strategy to give the brand focused meaning. A brand is the most important and valuable asset of any company or candidate. Developing and maintaining brand value and repairing brand damage is the most important thing they can do. All this is equally true for every terror organization worldwide; their management of their brands value is the most important thing they do. The brands value governs their ability to recruit, attract funding and gain public support. Unfortunately, many of them do an excellent job of managing those brands. Brand positioning is a key strategy in any consumer goods company. The same is true in the best political campaigns. And the most effective brand strategies not only position their brand, but in the process reposition the competition. Thats our challenge nowto reposition the brand of the terrorist suicide bomber/ martyr. Its not just a challenge; its an imperative. We must do it, if the rest of our efforts are going to be successful. And one would have to assume we can do it; with the resources of US marketing and pop culture turned to the task. The recent research Ive seen conducted among average citizens in Arab Muslim countries indicates broad support for suicide bombing (although in the most recent research, it appears that support may be waning). Id guess the current brand positioning of the suicide bomber/martyr is this: - Defender of Islam - Insurgent (vs US/Israel) - Courageous - Pious - Favored by God - Warrior/Soldier By any objective measure this is a strong brand and its imagery is widely accepted among Middle Eastern Muslims. As we all know, this brand is carefully managed by terror organizations and even state institutions. And the

Scott Miller (Core Strategy Group)

n the Discrediting Suicide Bombing: An Information Strategy Seminar conducted this past August in San Antonio, all presenters were asked to challenge current thinking and businessas-usual. Asking brand marketers to participate and present was done for that reason. And I can easily imagine the combination of curiosity and cynicism that met our presentations. Because Ive worked in politics as well as business, my political clients have often warily asked me, Youre not going to sell me like a can of Coke or something, are you? Oh, no! I lie. The truth is, if Im going to be successful in communicating the strengths and relevant benefits of that politician, I will, indeed, be using the same strategic dynamics as I would for Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Google or any other product brand Ive worked on. Sure, the product itself is quite different; ideally, the political candidate is going to have a more profound and better effect on voters lives than the product brands (though, that ideal isnt always

1

Fall 2007

brand has a coolness factor that makes it particularly attractive to the young. If we are going to re-position this brand, we must use the best of brand strategies and tactics, make use of the most creative talents in Western pop entertainment/marketing culture and use the most effective and credible communications channels. Of course, brand repositioning is only one element of an integrated strategy at many levels meant to confront this challengebut its a very important element. Weve got to get it right. We must be realistic but relentless in developing and executing those strategic and tactical brand plans. Developing Insurgent Brand Strategy To be successful, Im convinced we must use an insurgent brand strategy. This information age, with greatly and constantly expanding choices and information in every marketplace (including the marketplace for radical thinking), has been very tough on incumbents in politics and business, particularlprobably in law enforcement and the military, as well. Insurgent brands hold the cards in most markets today, as consumers demand more choice and change. The barriers to entry to new brands and new ideas have never been lower. Information flows into and out of markets at warp speed; this means more new ideas coming onto the shelves and online all the time. Incumbents in business and politics have never had it so tough. In my corporate work, Ive preached the need to understand and develop insurgent competitive strategies, particularly for traditional market incumbents like The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft and McDonalds. The same is certainly true in this case. Two principles guide all insurgent campaigns: do the doable and move the movable. Do the doable means pursuing only achievable objectives toward any goal. Never break your pick on the impossible; that only demoralizes your own supporters and energizes your enemies. Its best to establish objectives

in order of difficulty to build a sense of momentum; and celebrate every victory, no matter how small. Move the movable means targeting only the voters/consumers you need to win your objective. Clearly understand which individuals and what ideas or imagery can influence these constituents. Ive adapted attitudinal segmentation from politics for my business clients to understand better how to target for do the doable results. That segmentation looks like this:

HO SO Undecided SOS HAS


HO = Hard Opposition: These constituents oppose your brand. They hate you and the horse you rode in on. And they will actively work against you. Needless to say, you must be aware of their effect on other consumers/voters but you just have to write off the idea of moving them in your direction. SO = Soft Opposition: While these voters/consumers probably favor the competitions brand and may not like yours, they are not very committed. In an election, theyre not likely to come out and vote in a light drizzle. So we simply try not to inflame them to action. Its the same in product marketing; theyre just too expensive to move to supportat least in the short term. Undecided: In political elections, getting that 50.1% for victory means moving every possible vote. And a campaign will do just about anything they can get away with to sway undecided voters on Election Day. Theyre also very expensive votes, however. As one politician said, The problem with these votes is you can buy them, but they dont stay bought! The same is certainly true in product marketing. Many mass marketers use expensive tactics like price promotion to move the mass of undecided, uncommitted consumers. And those tactics work for a while. But then you have to win them back the next time they go shopping. You can buy their loyalty; but they dont stay bought.

SO = Soft Support: These are the voters/consumers who like your brand, but are not strongly motivated and unlikely to advocate for it. Whats important is that they can be moved to harder support and even to advocating your brand much more efficiently than other groups. Theyre essentially in the brand franchise and most market research studies have shown that its about six times less expensive to get a current (weak) customer to purchase more often than it is to recruit a new customer. Miller Lite doesnt really need to find new drinkers for its great tasting, less filling beer; they just need to get all of the beer drinkers who currently like the brand to buy it more often. Theres another important aspect to moving the soft support to hard support. The behavior and testimonials of these consumer/voters do the best job of motivating other consumer/voters, particularly the undecided. This is the aim of viral marketingand its far more effective and efficient than mass marketing. HAS = Hard Support: These are your loyalists. They cant be taken for granted, in fact, they must be activated to help pull the soft support toward more loyalty and activism. They usually comprise a very small group of the overall population, but they are very, very important to success. Understanding attitudinal segmentation helps us target the truly movable constituents. And it will guide our strategic and tactical efforts to focus on the needs and wants of those most important consumers/voters. Incumbent mass market leaders have always considered the whole of the market in developing plans. In todays information-driven markets, however, mass marketing is simply not returning on its investment. Its important even for the biggest brands to understand how to think, plan and act like an insurgent. Insurgents in markets and politics use change and surprise to control the competitive dialogue. They build support first among a key group of influential early adopters and try to turn those constituents into advocatesthere is no more powerful advertising medium 17

on the planet than loyal and newly converted users. Of course, for smaller insurgent brands today there are not the resources available to mass marketersso they use less expensive and more innovative tactics, particularly emphasizing viral and guerilla marketing. They find a way to go for daylight. Consider the energy drink, Red Bull, a very typical and very successful insurgent brand. Opportunism has been the key to their marketing strategy. When they came to US markets a few years ago, they couldnt interest any of the biggest soft drink marketers in distributing their productso they established their initial market presence through beer distributors, who had more room on their delivery trucks and more interest in new products. Instead of the super-crowded soft drink aisle, Red Bull was initially distributed in liquor stores. Carefully monitoring usage by consumers of these stores, they found that Red Bull was being used by young people as a mixer with vodka and Champagne. They followed these young people into dance clubs and helped establish the urban legend that has made Red Bull a very magnetic brand among teens and pre-teens. Of course, Red Bull couldnt afford the major sports sponsorships that Coke or Pepsi dominatedinstead, they took a chance on something called the X-Games (even before ESPN got there). A series of inventive decisions made in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles have driven Red Bulls success. Through these opportunistic means, Red Bull has become a huge force in the soft drink market; and now it has achieved ubiquitous distribution in every kind of channel and outlet, even while maintaining the rather high US $2/can price. What can we learn from the success of insurgent brands like Red Bull, Starbucks, Google, Crocs, Whole Foods Markets, YouTube and others? 1. We must develop achievable objectives and create momentum with initial successes.

2 . We c a n t h o p e t o c r e a t e transformation among those who are strongest in support of suicide bombing/ martyrdomrather, we should have the objective of creating a less hospitable environment for the practice and its adherents; an environment which is more likely to cooperate with more moderate forces and with law enforcement. We must do the doable. We must target those most likely to accept our messages, those who are likeliest to be early adopters of new information and those who will be the most active viral marketers (using wordof-mouth, the Web and other means). Id suggest targeting those Muslims with the most to loose if the most militant and radical Muslim ideology succeeds and those with most in common with secular civil values, no matter their political attitudes toward the United States. These are likely to be in the arts, music, journalism, academics, science, Web technology, business (particularly marketing focused businesses), fashion, etc. Thats not to say there will not be radical Muslims among them; but this is where our most attentive audience is likely to be. And they will have the greatest effect on a much wider audience of (particularly young) Muslims. 3. Of course, we will have to target those with the greatest access to communications, particularly the Web, but also satellite television and radio. We want to find the early adopters of information who will be the best transmitters of a viral campaign, of the ideas and images we use? So we must use the most creative techniques of television, motion pictures, Web videos and advertising. This will be a very small group at first; but we must be preparing for the growing opportunity for new information sources. This brand strategy wont happen overnight. It must be sustained and adapt to change. 4. We must be very opportunistic with our brand communications; often that will mean coat-tailing specific news events, particularly suicide bombings. The cost in terms the deaths of innocent Muslims and other innocents must be emphasized with every bombing

event. This cost must be attached to the brand of suicide bombing. Most often we must use the news to leverage our ideas rather than expect to make the news. So it will be important to closely follow key news events. Still, we must be willing to take risks in order to make the news; in order to change the dialogue. We must be willing to create controversy, while constantly keeping the perceptions and attitudes of our core target groups in mind. The Basic Appeal The  Cs: As you well know, marketers and political consultants try to reach for basic human needs and emotions; Ive summarized the most common of these as the 5 Cspardon the consultantsounding language, but they all happen to start with the letter c. At the center of these five is control. Its the most basic of basic emotional needs. People seek a sense of control over their own and their families personal security economic security, educational/opportunity security, health security. Of course, they also want control over the forces of powerful institutions. They seek out products and ideas that convey the perception of giving them more control, whether thats a credit card, a candidate or a Kalashnikov. Next is choice. Choice provides a means of gaining a sense of control. Obviously, this is fundamental to democracy. In markets, people see expanding choice as expanding control. As Ive said, there are more choices than ever on todays markets shelves with the selection expanding every day. You can choose your favorite flavor of ideology, too. Customization is a fairly recent phenomenon. Mass marketing was based on the philosophy of optimization; using the least technology and manufacturing costs to appeal to the greatest number of people. Remember the tube socks of the 1980s? That was really the poster child of optimization: One size fits all! But the information age has changed the power of mass marketing fundamentally. With more choice

1

Fall 2007

and infinite information, consumers to the radio in their cars. Now theyre brand guru has their own set of terms and feel they can search for that one that multi-tasking; talking on the cell phone, rules, but the basics remain the same. fits just me. They desire or demand using GPS systems, putting on make-up Presence: Awareness is key to customization to their needs. This effect or shaving even texting or reading. acceptability of a brand. The brand has is most developed in the most developed We are packing more into our crowded to be out there and seen to be used by information markets; so, of course, in lives so we need more conveniences to others, before the masses will adopt it. the controlled information environments make it all work. As a marketer, I always Most product brands achieve awareness of the Middle East, it will be slower want to make choices easy for consumer through distributionbut also through to develop but it will develop. And to make; convenient to their lifestyles packaging, point-of-sale materials, encouraging the find your own personal and attitudes. advertising, PR, promotions, events and answer nature of customization will be Weve got to keep these 5 Cs sponsorships. Think of the incidence very important to eroding the power of in mind in developing brand plans, no of the Coca-Cola brand in your own group-think. matter the target audience. We must use neighborhoodseeing the bottles and Change is next: it promises new them to understand the magnetism of the cans in use and in convenience stores choices and greater customization. Less suicide bomber/martyr brand; and we or super markets, noticing the special than a decade ago, change was seen must use them to deflect that magnetism displays there, the delivery trucks, the promotion at fast-food restaurants, the as a negative. Increasingly, though, as well. stadium scoreboard ads and on and on. consumers and constituents see change, Brands carefully manage even radical change, as a positive. their market presence and brand Again, this is most true in developed associations. Some create scarcity information environments and of their brand (say, for instance, an less so in controlled or limited upscale brand like BMW) to create environments. Consumerist more value. Most new brands today societies have come to expect better recognize the importance of brand and better solutions; controlled associationswhich brands they societies expect more of the same. will rub elbows with on the shelf or Still, though, we can expect this dynamic to become more and more on the street. Distribution at Whole important over the long run. Foods Markets guarantees an image Connection is also very of natural goodness. Being in Urban important. Though the day of Outfitters guarantees youthful Application of Basic Appeal: TV Celebrity badge brands and following the Vanna White promotes both fleet force projection hipness. We must consider the brand pack have faded and consumers in associations of any communications and sports cars. (US Navy) Western society are less likely to meant to reposition the suicide wear clothes emblazoned with the bomber/martyr brand. What local Developing Brand Strategy: hippest logos, people want to connect information environment will give us with that small group that shares their Successful brand strategies have the greatest credibility and effect? What affinity for a customized brand or idea. many common components. This is true images do we want to surround ours? And, of course, the Web has been a for any brandcompany, institution, Relevance: Any brand must great tool for this kind of informal social product, political candidate, terrorist communicate how it fits into the potential organization through its many social group. As Ive said, a successful users lifeit must demonstrate benefits networks like MySpace and FaceBook. insurgent brand campaign will set that are as personal as possible to the The success of even very small blogs is achievable objectives, even on the way user. Thats why brand marketers and infectious. Its a natural human response to a very challenging overall goal (thats political consultants use those 5 Cs to seek connection to a group of like what do the doable is all about). The in developing relevant appeal. Too minded individuals. Through the Web, successful campaign will be targeted many brand marketers forget how people can find a group that fits their own narrowly against the group with which important the product experience is in style much more personally than through it can have the greatest likely effect; developing relevanceits the strongest mass communications media. the group that will have the greatest communicator of brand; and all the Convenience is basic, but necessary. influence on other groups (following the imagery in the world wont overcome a Its about the accessibility of your principle of move the movable). bad experience. concept and its usefulness. The other Every brand, no matter how large or The positioning of the suicide night I heard comedian Ellen Degeneres small, must develop five key components: bomber/martyr brand is dripping with making a great observation; in traffic presence, relevance, differentiation, relevance for the Arab Street: fighting you no longer see people singing along credibility and imagery. Im sure every perceived oppression, using underdog

1

imagery, giving more control, allowing personalized affiliation, promising choice and change, connection and even convenience (ubiquitous presence). It provides relevance by appealing to a sense of humiliation and powerlessness. But it also challenges basic human values and Muslim beliefs. It results in suicide and death; in the maiming and killing of innocent Muslims and others. It preys on the minds of innocent youth manipulated by cynical and selfserving political rather than religious masterminds. Differentiation: The most valuable brands carefully develop relevant differentiation. Differentiation is about uniqueness in the marketplace. So even small terrorist brands probably compete for unique brand appeal. Its scarcity that creates value and differentiation creates scarcity (if you ask me, the number one product brand positioning in the world is Me, Too! most product categories provide a sea of sameness; that makes differentiation even more valuable). In developing brand strategy to reposition the suicide bomber/martyr brand, we must develop value for another position positioning it as a crime rather than a political or military act and making heroes of those in the community who fight or deter this crime. Credibility: Every brand provides an implicit promise, whether its whiter whites and brighter brights or defeating the infidels. In markets full of choices, successful brands develop credibility through the way in which the brand experience fulfills the brand promise. To deliver on the brand promise, you must define expectations in advance. Ideally, youll over-deliver on those expectations (and not over-promise and under-deliver). It strikes me that this is a weakness of the terrorist brandsthey are inclined toward very grandiose claims, toward over-promise. If the brand experience is positioned (in fact, re-positioned) successfully, that weakness can be exploited. A great deal of exploration of the ultimate promise of the terrorist ideology has been done its one thing to support an event or even series of events, but to play out

that brand promise and ideology into a true fundamentalist Caliphate would indeed terrify most Muslims. Its easy to support the abstract notion of suicide bombing; but harder to support the pain, anguish and death in up-close and personal terms. Imagery: As Ive indicated, the most important definer of brand imagery is the product experience. Coca-Cola provides a very refreshing product experience; thirst-quenching, lift, bubbles refreshment, without a cloying aftertaste. And, wisely, Coca-Cola has created its brand imagery for over a century around

and almost always carefully manipulated and intimidated young suicide bombers are also out of kilter with the idealized insurgent image. And so are those who manipulate them; those who preach but wouldnt possibly practice martyrdom. My argument is simple, if a little crass: to reposition the brand of the suicide bomber/martyr, we must use these same components that are used to sell toothpaste and basketball shoes. Our challenge is that we must do this better than the terrorists are doing it and they are doing it very well. Repositioning The Suicide Bomber/Martyr Brand: Earlier in this memo I made a guess at the elements of the suicide bomber/ martyr brand: - Defender of Islam - Insurgent (vs. US/Israel) - Courageous - Pious - Warrior/Soldier - Favored by God Ive also guessed that our key target will be young secular influentialsearly adopters of information. These are likely to be consumers of news, music, TV drama, Web information and videos, theater, literature and art. I think its simply unrealistic to assume one can target radicals with communications. Rather, Id try to isolate them more within the total Muslim community; and try to create more coolness for thought, speaking/writing and acting against these radicals. And in the spirit of do the doable, I dont believe we can over-reach in trying to reposition this brand. We must drive the point of the wedge between these radicals and majority Muslims and drive that wedge over time. Weve got to have realistic objectives along the way to the goal of creating a rift in attitudes. So, as in all successful brand campaigns, we must sustain our effort. Heres how Id hope we could reposition the suicide bomber/martyr brand by moving the current brand imagery only a few notches:

Whose brand is he selling? (Defense Link) refreshment of body, mind and spirit (Mean Joe Greene, the polar bears and Santa Claus have all been images of refreshment). Fighting powerful oppressive forces is the image of the insurgent or revolutionary. Its the powerful imagery of the underdog. Just think of what the 1960s Paul Davis romantic poster portrait of Che Gueverra did for his image. The ski mask and black uniforms characterize radical Muslim terrorists. The suicide bomber/martyr is seen in the light of this image. But maimed and murdered Muslim women and children provide the underside of that image. Frightened, fidgety, sometimes drugged

20

Fall 2007

- Defender of radical Islam intended to create a fundamentalist society - Insurgent tool (a weapon used by insurgents) - Imbalanced/confused/manipulated/ intimidated (manipulated into a seemingly courageous act) - Robot/human bomb (not a soldier, not even trained or armed and often not in control of the detonator) - Condemned by God (killer of Muslim innocents; murderer; suicide) For young people, we want them to see the brand as uncool, very un-hip. And we can only do that by developing imagery that is vivid and engaging; that cannot be ignored. Lets think about the key components of that repositioning. I believe it will take a number of different tactics in different channels. We must make the most of Western pop culture, but also make the most of radical Web culture. We must recognize the power of Web posting if the video is interesting enough and compelling enough, it will be seen and circulated widely. It will be talked about in the news and on the street. Again Ill emphasize; this wont be easy. In the beginning it will depend on efforts almost totally developed internally. But with time and momentum, the point of the brand campaign should be to support those who develop their own versions of these same ideas. Id recommend a strategy that has five basic and integrated elements: 1. Coat-tail the news. Do not allow the victims of suicide bombings to be debased into numbers. Using the Web, television where possible, radio and street posters, communicate the humanity of every victim. Emphasize their hopes and aspirations, their connections to family, friends and community (the Mothers Against Drunk Driving have done an excellent job of this in television campaigns in the US that use home video and testimonials of family members to bring to life the victims of accidents caused by drunks). Develop Web video clips that recreate dramatically the events of a

real bombing. As youll see, I believe we must use the best available talent from motion pictures and television to create the most engaging and evocative images. And I know these talents are quite willing to enlist (as they were in WWII) to help in this effort. For instance, imagine portraying a young Muslim girl leaving for school in the morning, interacting lovingly with her family and walking to the bus stop where a young, nervous, sweaty and chain-smoking suicide bomber awaits. In these video recreations, always use real events and real victims. If these clips are engaging and emotional, they will not only attract more viewers but increase the likelihood of being picked up on the news channels. Few people have seen a suicide bomber, but they must consider his death instant and virtually painless. Still, the Koran promises that those who commit suicide are condemned to an eternity of the pain of the moment of their death. I believe we could use computer-generated graphics in a Web video posting to recreate the act of a real suicide bomber exploding himself and blowing apart seemingly several different times followed by text showing the Koranic edict. There would be a voice-over at the end: The people who used this boy as a human bomb told him he would be favored by God but they were wrong. God condemns suicide. God condemns the killing of innocents. So he is burning and burning and burning in hell forever. Raise your voice before the next suicide bombing. The Web is an ideal base even in the Middle East for wider distribution of the brand positioning. It will have relevant appeal to true Muslim values against suicide and murder of innocents; reservations that we know already exist and are mounting. We must portray the suicide bombers as victims, not criminals (and certainly not as military personnel). They have been manipulated into un-Muslim and horrendous acts. The bad guys always must be the manipulatorsthe masterminds of suicide bombing and their callous tendency to use younger and

younger suicide bombers, because it is more cost efficient to do so. These are not religious people, but political activists who use religion as a cover. When we portray them, we must see them in imagery of cynicism and comfort, even as the acts are being carried out. They are far from the danger and destruction. 2. Develop a movement to report suicide bombing activity. Although law enforcement authorities often lack the trust of the people in the Middle East, we must try to create a people-to-people system of reporting suspicious activity in a neighborhood. Ideally, this would appeal to mothers and appeal emotionally to their own instincts ideally, it would also be managed by volunteer mothers; to ensure the anonymity of the callers. We would want to create a simple cell-phone number to call to report activities and individuals who arouse suspicions in a local community. And wed want to make heroes of those who make the commitment to call. This is currently being done in the United KingdomIm sure the approach and its effect are being carefully monitored here. Once again, this is a tactic that will not get traction immediatelythe effort must be sustained. With all of our communications, we must emphasize the opportunity for an individual to make a difference, to save innocent Muslim lives and prevent harm and anguish for others. It should be in the interest of every government to help develop this kind of system and in the best interests of the cellular telephone companies to help market it and manage it. 3. Create a radical website parallel Universe. I believe we must turn this effective communications tool against the terrorists. One way is to create a flood of ersatz radical websites with surprise postings; some using all of the radical imagery, in fact, trying to copy them in every way, but with a moderating, anti-suicide bombing set of messages or with spoof humor (who hasnt seen the YouTube clip from the Fox television series Family Guy of Osama bin Laden laughing his way through a video taping?).

21

The point is to replicate the radical sites in as many ways as possible, but use the kind of broad humor of a movie like Hot Shots, Part Deux to ridicule or humiliate them. We must corrupt their tools of communications. We must try to destroy their dignity. The goal would be to create doubt any time anyone goes to one of the websites. Like The Daily Onion, we would create a parallel universe of radical websites. Is it true or a spoof? Wed want to create that doubtand a little anticipation of the latter. Even for supporters of the radicals, it would be impossible not to watch. 4. Develop and post a television drama (in video clip, webisode or program-length versions) to reinforce our repositioning themes: Perhaps the greatest power of US communications is in television and film drama/comedy. Drama on US television is dominated by crime series, for instance, Law & Order, CSI and 24. I believe we should use these very same talents and formulas to create a crime drama series for Web posting (perhaps to be picked up at a later date by satellite TV). The point would be to create engaging and compelling dramatic situations that would carry our messages. My assumption is that we could create a drama of a special law enforcement unit specifically designed to combat suicide bombing (like one of the many specialist groups depicted in off-shoots of Law & Order). This drama would create an interesting group of young characters as a part of this special unit; representing differing personalities, political beliefs and even religious convictions but all dedicated against this heinous crime and, particularly, the callous thugs who manipulate the bombers (who would be depicted as young, confused, frightened and totally controlled and intimidated by these manipulators). This would not just be White Hats vs. Black Hats, but a more nuanced drama that illuminates the complicated feelings surrounding this issue; at the bottom line though, is this units dedication to save innocent lives. These would also make heroes of moms, kids and other in the community who

raise their voices to deter this crime and elevate the imagery of the experts who fight it, the clerics who speak against it. These dramas could be of any length, though it would be ideal if they can be edited easily into satellite TV format (hour-length programming) and also provide interesting shorter moments to post as video clips. Of course, these would have to have the authentic look and feel of the Arab street, produced in Arabic and set in an unspecified, but believable environment. The point, of course, would be to create a magnetic drama that can carry the core themes and messages of the brand strategy. A goal would be to gain placement on satellite TV, but it may have to be Web posted in the beginning to build buzz and build an initial early adopter audience. Another goal would be to make the show commercially viable for those satellite TV distributors. And, of course, the over-arching goal is to create riveting imagery and dramatic action that is simply impossible to ignore, no matter your beliefs. 5. Raise voices against suicide bombing: faces and voices of famous pop culture and sports icons are being used in a voices against violence campaign in the US and have been used many times in global relief or awareness raising efforts. It seems to me that we could develop the same thing among Muslim youth influencers (mostly pop music, TV/Movie, sports) simply raising a voice against the killing of innocent Muslim civilians. These could take the form of typical US pro bono advertising, but would likely have to be placed on the Web; even YouTube. This is not to promote a political view, but rather a moral one: no matter your politics, you cannot support the idea of suicide bombing; the manipulation of children, the killing of innocent Muslims. Among these voices and faces could be respected clerics and academics and popular political leaders. The point would be (in their own words): What a waste/what a sin/how uncool. Also, as if addressing the suicide bombers themselves: When they ask

you to live a pious life, tell them you will follow them. When they ask you to martyr yourself as a suicide bomber tell them you will follow them. These commercials might be carried by satellite or state TV (who could say theyre against it?)but it should be backed up with frequent Web postings. The same technique can be used on radio and in print advertising for newspapers. Closing Thoughts Its very clear that we all face a tough challenge and an audience that will be difficult to penetrate, let alone motivate. Still, we must try. And we must use the best strategies, tactics and resources available for the effort. This is how one brand marketer would attack the problem. At the very least, I hope it will inspire some new thinking and creative action. Q&A With Scott Miller IO Sphere: The Defense Department can be pretty dogmatic. Why wouldnt we use some of your marketing principles & techniques? Are we just slow to adopt? SM: Even in most businesses business, marketing is seen as a tangential part of the process: oh, those are just the guys who do the Superbowl commercials! What I say to CEOs or anyone who communicates is that the dictionary calls marketing something that adds value to the transaction. So I tell them, if youre doing anything in your company - on the loading dock or executive meeting rooms - that doesnt add value, stop immediately! You can add a marketing construct to anything youre doing, any time youre trying to persuade somebody. Certainly weve seen marketing principle applied to politics and governance. Now we see radical change in the Information Revolution where incumbent brands, candidates and institutions have it tougher than they ever had. Because all information consumers have access to almost limitless choices and endless amounts of information, all the time, it has made it the toughest time ever to be an incumbent and a great time

22

Fall 2007

for insurgent forces. In the commercial world the barriers to entry for new ideas have never been lower. There are so many little brands now. For someone like Coke, Pepsis not the worry: its the thousands of little ducks pecking at them. Little brands made by young entrepreneurs make it to the shelf now, which was always the toughest part before. Retailers know customers want new things, and they put them out there. And the same applies to government. I O S p h e r e : D O D re c e n t l y commissioned a study enlisting Madison Avenues help, because the US brand is a bit tarnished. Are we just not delivering what we advertised? SM: I think weve over-promised in a way we cant deliver. Were trying to be Home Depot, you know: You can do it; we can help! And in military competence, were the worlds best, even when bad things happen. Of the research Ive seen, theres high credibility for the military: they have to face the truth all the time; its seen in daily action. I think the worst part is the political shine, where politicians are trying to make it all things to all people: kind, friendly, nice, democratic valueswhich is just like airlines over-promise today! Im a four million-miler with Delta Airlines, and Ive never once had the luxurious experience promised in their ads. Again, its over-promise and under-deliver. But yes, if we could set our expectations more reasonably, wed have a better military image. Its true that every brand is going to be most formidably communicated by the product experience, say with politician once you get to know him. But that bubble hes on can leak away slowly or burst quickly. What you want to do is set expectations realistically, and then beat them. IO Sphere: DOD customers seemed to like your business insurgent essays and the special operations mentality, where youre not thinking as much like a heavy, conventional force. SM: I dont know anything about military strategy and tactics, but what I

do see as far this insurgent brand goes is their desperation marketing. Theyre trying to elbow their way into the world, and they have no mass marketing. Mass tends to work against big companies: you end up with big inventories, and those 15 year old marketing techniques just dont work anymore. To put an ad on YouTube and get the 40 million hits only has the production cost and the rest is free. Viral or word-of-mouth marketing today is so much stronger than mass marketing, something like 80 percent versus 6 percent. You have tough, cynical customers out there in every marketplace to include political. You sure cant use incumbent tactics anymore. In the 1996 and 2004 campaigns [US General Elections], the incumbent had to run as an insurgent against somebody. Similarly, the 2008 elections are going to be determined by the most insurgent voice. Big organizations can learn: Coca-Cola learned, and McDonalds learned to fight against themselves, against their own imagesand did that successfully. IO Sphere: You use very strong terms about branding: it is everything a company does and says. How do you do that with something as big and complex as the US Government? SM: Consumers and voters believe if something is complex, its on purpose. Technology has taught them that complex things, like the iPod, are going to be made simple: machines are going to work for man. Thats was the original concept with Apple. Peoples anticipation is that complexity will become simpler to serve mankind. But government just keeps getting more complex, you know, dont bother getting involved because you couldnt possibly understand. In that case, people are very suspect. In a successful campaign, every little detail is wrapped around one core strategyand the candidate is disciplined to stay with a simple message. In Gulf War I, the strategy went from the President to the infantryman: a madman with the worlds fifth largest army has invaded a sovereign nation; committed terrible crimes; threatens to

invade others; and threatens a world market we care about he must be stopped! We have got to destroy that army, send the invader back, and make reparation. Everybody got it: conviction, mandate, focus, action. That seemed to me like a very clear, disciplined message strategy. But discipline wins in every single kind of campaign take something as complex as Googlewhich works on algorithms Ill never understandbut what I do understand is that Im in consideration mode the moment I hit that site. Im looking to buy. Theyre going to surround me with relevant information, and the more I click in, the more theyre going to surround me with more relevant information they have seven or eight hundred thousand advertisers! And those companies swear by Google, because theyve probably created the most relevant marketing vehicle that has yet existed. Theyve made complexity simple. If the government cant do that inside & out, getting our message out will be impossible. IO Sphere: Some say people are OK talking to an individual, even while cursing that persons culture. Or, I hate America, but still drink Coca-Cola. Can a love of pop culture and products help mend international relationships? SM: Sure. Common ground always helps. Enjoyable common ground always helps. I just met the woman sitting next to me, yet we found common ground. I ride horses, and am into show jumping, and meet people from all kinds of countries. We may not agree on governments, but we have no disagreements about the beauty of horses, the joys of winning, and the owners responsibilities in taking care of their horses. No real disagreements. Its often true of artists and musicians, and even journalists. Weve always positioned CocaCola as one of those simple little things people can share about which they can have a common experience. This is nice, this is refreshing! You can see someone is enjoying this just like you are. Seeing a family at McDonalds is no different in Cairo or Chicago: you

23

see the same familiar dynamic. You can kind of know if that family is having fun, or just talking, or arguing. As crass as our world of marketing is, we can help create those little bridges. We can agree on things like Google80 percent of people on line use that. I just watched three little videos on You Tube, and I didnt understand a word but they were just fun! They were making fun of songs Ive never heard. But kids were having fun spoofing something serious, and youd have no idea where these lids were from. They have the same ironic sense of humor and spoofery as my kids do those sorts of things travel. Working with the Walt Disney Company I sure saw how Mickey Mouse, or Caribbean Pirates, or a bunch of penguins travel. A friend of mine, Michael Harbert, did an eight minute webisode of the popular show 24, just stuck it there on the website, and quickly got 41 million hits. That means it is instantly global, and everybody watching, while they may have differing political interpretations, is caught up in the excitement, and adrenalin, and fun. Theyre all together. So I do think the product world, even with our oversimplification of messaging and relevant benefitseven if it is just toothpaste or sneakers or soda pop. But those are common ground features, and that can bring us closer. When I go to McDonalds conventions, I meet people from across the world, and we have enormous common ground. So yes, I think these sorts of commercial things provide some compensation to whats common. Recognize there is an art of persuasion in everything we do, and if you use strategy, it tends to go better, whether its interpersonal relationships, convincing large groups of people who to vote for, or to buy the right products. Recognizing that strategy and discipline win, you want to do a lot of listening and observing. Corporate people ask the difference between political leadership and corporate leadership, and I say the level of mediocrity and genius are both the same. <laughs> Whats different is that about the time they reach the executive vice president level in a companyyou probably have this in 2

government tooits not in anyones best interest to tell them no, or tell them theyre wrong, or say their idea is stupid. But smart political people, and young people looking to be successful, soon become very interested in whats going on and why, how does this work; and, what is the ground truth? IO Sphere: You point out the need for observing and listening, yet the time for reflection seems hard to come by in government service. Folks want to see action. SM: Very true. There are lots more stresses, more consequences. I get paid to think and tell the truth, or say I dont know, or let me think about that. But the biggest thing is I get paid to tell people is thats a stupid idea dont do it! They need that. I make room for my many notebooks, for recording what I see, what I hear, whats going on, and what makes sense. Anyone wanting to influence people need to spend the time understanding what to make of things. Stanford University released a study recently saying anything with the McDonalds

logo on it tastes better to kids! Imagine how powerful that is. They can influence what kids eat just because of the volume business they do. When they looked at their own research over the past five years, McDonalds realized it wasnt the book Supersize Me or other critical accounts, their own research showed they are food for a lot of people. McDonalds felt the responsibility to step up to that challenge, and be honest with themselves about it. Now for one client I cant name, we had to force them to do employee research about their productsbecause employees will always be tougher than the public as a whole. They were very cynical and negative: thats a very unhealthy cultural situation. You cant do that. People want to do whats right, and believe in what theyre doing. Ive been fortunate to work with these top companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google when theyre on the riseand those people are on a crusade! You have to feel that if youre half-hearted and cynical, youll do it badly. You cant just fool someone into doing something, because people are more sophisticated and savvy, and theyll see the falsehood coming.

Fall 2007

Interview with Cory Ondrejka


Interviewed by John Whisenhunt, Editor Editorial Abstract: Mr. Cory Ondrejka, Chief Technical Officer of Linden Lab, was a guest contributor at the Discrediting Suicide Bombing: An Information Strategy seminar. He explains the challenges of operating a large scale, open source cyber environment, and how similar constructs might help serve US and Coalition influence efforts. IO Sphere: In the influence business, were always trying to find people who can work both sides of the brain. You and your current efforts represent that sort of ability, yet the path from Navy engineer to the cyber world seems unusual. Can you talk about this evolution? CO: <laughs> You dont see that as a completely normal path? IO Sphere: Well, in the influence business we seem to have folks that are definitely more one side than the other! Some certainly would view it as normal. CO: I left the Navy during the 1990s drawdown at the end of the Cold War, when we had less need for submarine warfare officers, then went to work for Lockheed. I was doing some electronic warfare work which we still cant talk about, which was very challenging, requiring unconventional thinking. We were going from custom hardware to commercial off-the-shelf, the transition from VMX to UNIXwhich were large changes in the Defense community, as we were maybe half a decade to a decade behind the civilian world. The catch up took a lot of education, and some trade-offsit was more than just developing new hardware, we were also able to significantly increase capabilities and hire people more easily to work on this stuff. Then in 1995, a friend asked me to come to California to help start an electronic games company. This was at the tail end of the arcade era, the old pump in quarters model. But the interesting thing was that we were designing hardware and software at the same timevery challengingbut Cory Ondrejka (Linden Lab) youre also building a game on top of that. We had to capture someones imagination in 45 seconds, from something they may never have seen before, and make them want to play again. Thats a pretty strict set of requirements when also writing software and developing hardware. So I did that for a couple of years, and then some console game development, then Philip Rosedale, founder of Linden Lab, and a buddy of his had been mucking about a couple of years working interfaces and compression technology, and he had these great big ideas. We met sort of randomly, but had a big six hour conversation, and at the end it was when do you want to start? So it was come on in, build the team, architect the system, and try to build something with very little idea of how you would do it. So a large part of my career has been trying to do something that has never been done beforefind a set of challenges that dont have known solutions and go try and solve them. This is whats made Linden Lab very easy to hire for, because we offer the most interesting set of technical challenges, plus learning opportunities: come learn about intellectual property law, come learn about learning theory, or about cognitive science. You need to know about these things to build something like Second Life. So, in hindsight I see all this as a very logical progression <laughs>, though examining it in the Lab some might see it as a major step function differencethough its been much smoother than that! IO Sphere: If were looking to cultivate similar problem-solvers for government and industry, what path would you recommend to someone who wants to grow up to be like you? CO: Let me answer the first part, because Im not sure about growing up to be like me! We think about problems, and none of them exist purely in one side of the brain, to use your pop psychology analogy. If youre an academic its qualitative versus quantitative. The world is full of false dichotomies that simplify our thinking when we look at highly-stovepiped, highly-specialized organizationsplus things like the sound biteto simplify highly complex ideas and challenges. The danger is relying too much on the simplification, because you begin to think of it as the problem. For example, in the nuclear Navy, one of the first things that gets beaten into your head is you never, ever use an acronym! Which is funny, because its the military. So you ask, why is that? I mean, you read any documentation and its full of acronyms. The danger is if you use the acronym then you might forget 2

Exploring Second Life

what it really meansthe risk of losing understandingand building habits that are not the right habits. This is the legacy of [Admiral Hyman] Rickover, and why we dont automate a great deal of nuclear Navy reactor operations, because people in-the-loop are better. We catch mistakes better than a lot of other systems, if were vigilant all the time. If youre the young officer first learning to run a reactor, the petty officer turns to you and says Sir, are you absolutely sure you really want to be doing that? So, we assume everybody is about to make a mistake. It doesnt mean theyre not smart, nor as capable as you or anyone else, but double-check everything! To me it was very much a formative experience. Now you carry that into what I do today, but with my electrical engineering degree, a computer science degree, graduate work in nuclear physicsso a lot of science and engineering backgroundwhich is very much the classic method: look at the results, dont trust hearsay or anecdotal evidence, and verify, verify, verify! Now at the same time, Ive spent a lot of time building products for entertaining people, trying to capture their attention, and when you start doing all of that, you start recognizing how really important both pieces are. Its like talking to qualitative versus quantitative academics who both view this as a big breach: the quantitative people mock the qualitative people as being fuzzy, and the qualitative people mock the quantitative types as just not getting it. But when you look at when science really moves forward, its always a combination of both. My favorite study that illustrates this is a US FDA [Food and Drug Administration] metastudy on studies of drug efficacy. What they looked at was the funding source. Turns out, if your funding source was the creator of the drug, your study come out twenty to fourty percent more in favor of the drug. Now youd say thats what we suspect; from a qualitative standpoint this suspicion is probably what triggered the study. But then we got a quantitative answer. This is when science is at its best, when engineering is at its best: you use procedures and methods, but are always examining and re-examining them.

So when it comes to building something like Second Life, which is something that had never been successfully built beforethe idea of building a collaborative virtual space that wasnt a gameit was a tremendous engineering challenge. From a data compression standpoint, a distributed computing standpoint, networking, rendering but theres a whole other piece of it. How do you bring people into a world where you can do anything? There arent the clear goals a game provides, or the simplifying functions a game provides. So when we look at similar challenges around the world, we see a similar set of practical pieces: its just a non-starter if you cant communicate, gather information, or share it. But until you know the right questions to ask, youre not putting the right information in, and were back to the classic computer science axiom of garbage in, garbage out. So when we look at how well be training people for this, and preparing them, theyll want challenges like this. Engineers and nuke geeks like me dont want to learn the fuzzy stuffwhat need is there? But on the flipside, you have people saying why would I want to learn statistics? Both of those are very dangerous positions to take because youre cutting out an enormous set of tools. So when we face things like crosscultural understanding, and extremism, none of the solutions is going to be in one realm or the other. The classic example for intercultural dialog turns out to be music. Everyone likes to listen, and many enjoy music from far off in another part of the world. If youre a real music person, you like the new stuff, because thats whats cool. And thats a huge technology problem. How do you get a musician sitting on the street in Baghdad on the Internet? How do you share his music, and how do you get money back to him to say thank you? Could you create a fan base for him? Could you have him collaborate with a musician in Germany or Brazil, or the US? There are technology layers to enable all that, but all of these are social questions, diplomacy questions, cognitive questions. So, how do we foster and leverage all that? These

are all very worthy of taking on, and once you realize how interesting these challenges are in the space that intersects the cognitive sciences and sociology and anthropology, then its easy to get motivated and draw people in! IO Sphere: You mentioned cultural expansion. You have global presence with Second Life, and have responded to recent press reports of the USs adversaries using your environment. Where might all this be going? Do you expect to have a server farm in places like Riyadh someday? CO: There area host of questions there. There is a lack of clarity about exactly who is using various forms of technology, from Google Earth, to Second Life, to the Web as a whole. We all want to learn more about whats happening in that space. Next, if you look at some of the research being done at USC [University of Southern California] and the Annenburg Center [USC School of Communications] about what happens when you bring people of different cultures together, and have them engage in goal-oriented behavior, you start seeing opinion changes that look a lot like exchange programs. Which is very interesting, because its a lot safer to move bits around than people. So what are we lacking there, and what opportunities are we not yet taking advantage of yet? Another question is what opportunities does technology give us? Something Ive heard time and time again from the [US] State Department and others is that the cohort most difficult to reach in the Islamic world is women. Whats interesting about that is data coming out of the Gulf region that in math, science and engineering, these are some of the highest performers. So you cant reach your most educated cohort, and theyre unemployed. It sure seems like technology should be able to help us there. How do you reach them, and give them a way to reach each other? Can they hold jobs and lead via the virtual community? These are questions were just starting to ask. Whats so exciting is when I look at a set of people Ive worked withthe virtual world, games,

2

Fall 2007

entertainmentwhat Ive heard people saying the past five years is how do I pivot my career a little bit to help make the world better? How do I help? They may not have fourty hours a week to do that, but they may have five, or a few hours a month. The great potential for the Internet or Second Life is to enable more diffuse groups to still be productive and effect change. Its a technology question, but is far more social and economic in scope. This morning we heard about how a large cohort of extremist recruitment comes from those without hope. With fifty percent of the Islamic world under the age of twenty-fivea tremendous youth bulgehow do we give that group hope? Hope can be a socio-economic phenomenon: its a lot easier to have it when you can feed your family, be better off than your parentswhen you have some control over your future. In an age when we can do education and work at a distance, and call centers all over India what analog can we use to take technology into these economically struggling regions? So to the question of whos using this, about seventy percent of Second Life is international: the US is the minority of total users. Because there isnt a lot of broadband penetration in the Gulf region, thats still not a big Second Life user areabut its growing. I think what were going to see there is the real opportunity to use the virtual world as a vector for education, business, collaboration, for culture, music for sharing and remixing. All of that is going to be exciting to watch. IO Sphere: Weve already touched on part of this, but can an evolution of something like Second Life provide a training ground for countering extremism? CO: I think the key there is how we allow technology to let them be their own voice against extremism. It was interesting to hear people talk this morning about how some Web groups are already discrediting extremism and violence: terrorists, suicide bombers and the like. This was followed by how do we [the West] want to message this? Theres a contradiction there! If the community

evolving. Dont you have to bring laws with you? How do you police it? CO: Its an excellent question, but be careful about getting swept up in the metaphor. Ultimately this is bits sitting on servers, moving through the Internet, and being rendered on individuals machines. This is the World Wide Web we know. There is already a body of cyber law to cover these things. This is not to say, as you alluded to, that cyber law is complete or consistent, but there is a real danger in getting too wrapped up in the metaphor: all the people involved and all the servers still exist in the real world. If you break a law using Second Life, youre still breaking the law in the real world. Like the Web, it took a while for law enforcement and regulators to recognize that all the computers are still in the real worldyes there are additional complexities because you get into multi-national and multijurisdictional areaswhich does raise rather interesting questions. You have all the places in the world where You Tube is banned right now because of content. But the scary part is you start getting into an information regulation arms race. If your only approach is dealing with information you dont like is to attempt to cut it off, youre missing the chance to use the same technology to get your message out. Ancient cultures with real messages of their own could be sharing, could be using the same technologies to block what they consider cultural infringement. Instead, they chose to pull the plug. Look at what will pull a nations economy into the new century, and cutting things off is not a good step. So this becomes the arms race. There are a lot of good ways to move data around, so you either hire a million censorsthe Chinese modelor you pull the plug. Neither of these are a good economic move, or provide your population with tools they need to join the new economy. Now lets not overhype, as in the Web changes everythingbut it really has changed things: there is more information all over than planet than any time in history. Its cheaper to find things, the cost of learning is lower, innovation is higher

(Copyright 2007, Linden Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved) itself is already discrediting some of this, then having an external voice attempt to support that can be counterproductive. The nice thing about Web environments and Second Life are that they are exactly what the users want them to be. So as a place for mothers to create discussion for a better future, where their children are safe, and for young students to talk about brighter futures, or to start designing what structure theyll rebuild first or how to be entrepreneurs and business people absolutely the technology can be used for this! The ways to foster this are not to message at them, but instead to say how do we make the technology and the broadband access available? Are there computers and cell phones and seed funding available for entrepreneurial activities? I bet US $5000 gets you a pretty good business opportunity. Obviously we cant do that where you dont have safety and security. But working online also gives you pseudonymity, so you can work in a way that even if an extremist doesnt like what youre doing, if they cant determine your real world identity, you have some measure of protection you wouldnt have in the real world. So from a security standpoint there may be other reasons we should start pushing in that direction. IO Sphere: You mentioned protection of this freewheeling sophisticated cyber environment. Youre bringing all sorts of behaviors and potential hazards into the virtual world. Cyber law is still

27

but were hardly done yet! If you pull the plug, you guarantee youll miss a lot of the good stuff. Because innovation is an exponential, youll be well behind that curve in fifty years. Mexico and Singapore had comparable economies thirty years ago, and they dont today. Certain investments in education and infrastructure pay off very well. IO Sphere: Lets talk about something of interest to our network defenders. As a CTO you have a huge infrastructure and a large open source community. How do you deal with risks? CO: Let me clarify your question. Are you equating open source with security risk? I would argue strenuously the opposite is true! IO Sphere: People unfamiliar with the open source community might think that many creative people could introduce something you dont want. CO: This goes back to the information governance question. You can never fully rely on security through obscuritywe know that. Whatever security youre looking at, be it cyber or for that matter a convoy in Iraq, youve got a massively distributed opponent using a distributed assault on the design space: which is find weaknesslocal minimaand exploit them. Once exploited, they share it with everyone else until that local minima is closed. Centralized ways of countering decentralized attacks are very rarely effective and they are always expensive. So for us with the clientSecond Lifes open source partthere was a very active reverse engineering effort, and they were starting to expose bugs. Every popular piece of software has this going on. Once you have something on your computer, you can figure out what it doesyou dont need the code. But if they dont have the code, they cant help you fix the bugs, right? If you dont go open source, you have the worst of both worlds because theyll still reverse engineer your product, but they cant help you! 2

An outdoor classroom in the Second Life world. (Copyright 2007, Linden Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved) Certainly security is never a singular piece: it is a global problem with human, electronic, and social components. So when you think about any product or service youre using: where are your vulnerabilities? You have to think can user creation help or hurt you? For Second Life, there is no question that by giving our users a fully-featured scripting language they can attack the system from within and try to consume all the system resources or crash the grid. Right now there are twenty million hostile scriptsmeaning I didnt write thembeing executed on the Second Life grid. This is very much a Holy Grail problem in computer science, accomplishing what we have already accomplished. Our users generate three hundred gigabytes of user data per day, and twenty million lines of code a week, so thats the trade off. So what did we do? We built a system where they could do anything they wanted within that scripting language, but it wouldnt take down the systemor if it did, it would be localized or encapsulated so we could deal with it. For us, that was the right decision. It that right for everything? No. Look at the Web. It would not be what it is today if we had some guy sitting in an office who you submit your Web page to for approval, for justification of your own creativity. We wouldnt have the Web. No one is arguing the Web should have grown in a centralized way. So what do you want out of what youre building? Some of what weve talked about today in the seminar on dealing with other cultures brings up some deep questions. Any message that comes from the US to the Islamic world is immediately discredited because of where it originatedend of story doesnt matter the value. I think we can see where theyre coming from. So how do we work around that? You could roll out technology to let them talk to one another, or public discourse among civil society, where youre only one voice of many. Theres been some discussion on this, like the Open Source Intelligence Initiative, and get analysts in on the public discussionsyouve got Web anonymity. Or you could say Im just an analyst trying to learn about your culture. So there are trade-offs, and it comes from understanding the problem and not being dogmatic about any piece of it. If we go in saying well never open source that, or well never do that transparently, well, thats a dumb starting point. Dogmatic positions arent always right. At Linden Lab, we constantly try and remind ourselves we cant be dogmatic about anything. Were a radically decentralized product Fall 2007

created by a very decentralized internal organization. But once we grew past 200 people, were having the discussion of where we need a little more organization and information flow hierarchy, so people arent buried in many-to-many communications. Always question, and in a way that keeps you from being personally affected, so you can ask the really difficult questions. This is where insisting on data, and insisting on challenging assumptions can be so useful. Otherwise you get into the but thats my baby situations. One decision I made early on at Linden Lab was that no developer owned a piece of code. Only slightly tongue-in-cheek I told the team if I ever hear you say dont touch that, its my code, Im going to fire you! It turns out our developers are happy working in that environment, as I found out building previous smaller teams, but its the opposite of how most software companies organize. We dont bind projects to offices or geography, but to the right people to work them. You may be working with the guy right next to you this week, but a guy in England the next. You pick up a little extra cost and communications overhead, the positives are the right bodies on the job, and move away from people arguing that this is my code, and only I can do it the right way. As opposed to dude, this was great two years ago, but we need to toss it and write something better. That was tough, as much of the original Second Life code was mine! But you have to evolve. But can we find exactly that sort of attitude other places, of course. So you need to be dogmatic about not accepting dogma! So Id say, you simply have to be transparent. IO Sphere: That kind of leads us into the last question. The federal government has some pretty fierce dogma, and doesnt change easily, so how do you suggest we help crack that? CO: Lets look at how Second Lifes philosophy tends to be adopted at other larger organizations. Or, lets drop back one and talk about how the Web was adopted. Option A: guy at the top/CEO

says we will use technology A, i.e. all government software code will be written in Ada [programming language], and we know how spectacularly well that worked! Option B: folks at the edges say I found this thing, and its useful. Then before you know it, well this email thing is kind of useful, and hey, Im capturing our internal procedures on a wiki, so if you find a mistake you can just fix it. Thats what happened during the late 1990s: the Web came in, was bottoms-up adopted, and big companies like IBM validated it, and created some enterprise products. So when the top down direction came, the grass roots support was already there because people on the edges had been using the Web at home, and as much as possible at work. So when it comes to Second Life, its quite similar: one day people notice their employees are using it. Theyre not using it for shopping, but for meetings among groups that are physically far away from one another, for brainstorming, for prototyping. When youre attempting to change large centralized organizations, viral and bottoms-up methods are very useful, because theyre self-validating. When somebody decides to go through the effort, theyre doing so because it makes their lives easier, not because Mr. CEO said you better use this or Ill fire you! So for the US Government, were already seeing say a dozen organizations, experimenting with Second Life to varying degreesvery much in bottomsup way. If it doesnt work for your organization, wait six months just like the Web. Hey, this blogging thing came along, and its helpful for us. A second thought is Craig Newmark, who founded Craigs List. He talks about the Web being a big force multiplier for the individual: you dont need the same capital expenses; you dont need the same resources to be very big. Second Life is like that even more so, because the design space we offer is much larger. So the US Government says, Were just not comfortable with being transparent about certain things. Innovation and security have also been at odds, just like science and securitythe dynamic tension says

there are some understood trade-offs. But, if we could just get these two groups talking, wed see some innovation, but were uncomfortable with it, and with the security implications. But the default for secrecy is always to be more secret. Policies that force you to defend secrecy are probably a good idea. For instance, at Navy nuke power school our course books were classified, and the Pythagorean Theorem as far as I know has never been secret! But it forced us to treat all our books the same, and thats a defensible reason, but make sure you have that discussion ahead of time! But was the math curriculum as good as it could have been? We couldnt share it with say, Princeton [University], and say how does this compare? So, its surfacing the trade-offs and making those transparent. Perhaps if you dont share the actual data, you can still make your decision process transparent, and people arent thinking youre keeping a secret just to keep a secret. But the other option is if the US Government isnt ready to implement thus, maybe you can seed other people to go try. There are some really interesting questions, such as should public diplomacy even be a government function? Public diplomacy is starting to get a very bad name because its turned into selling politics, which isnt what it always was. Historically it was intermingling of cultures, and both came away liking and understanding each other more. Thats not hard to imagine, because people tend to like other individuals. They can figure out all kinds of reasons they dont like groups, but individuals together and you can change their opinions about the group. IO Sphere: Which is why exchange programs tend to work so well. CO: Exactly right. So why not fund non-governmental exchange programs, and technologies that do similar things? If the government is uncomfortable, then just fund a few thousand or a million dollarsor pick a numberand fund say, ten ideas. Then measure them, see how well they do. Thats pretty easy, and the Web and virtual space give you a great force multiplier than thinking

2

about this it terms of Americas Houses, or exchange tours or visa programs. These are tough because youre moving people. And thats incredibly expensive, and a risky prospect: its dangerous to move people these days. Instead, lets have the government do what its good at, and if they figure out something theyre not good atthen dont do it. Let someone else do it, and learn from them. Get better at it slowly, and dont get hamstrung, or get hung up in local minima. Lets say we want to create a network to talk about extremists, and the government says were not comfortable with that, so lets put State Department branding all over it, only accessible from government sitesand that defeats the entire purpose! And you spend money doing it, its declared a failure. Im not saying the government would do that, but it will make it that much harder to adopt these ideas at a time when extremist groups of all flavors are using them today. If you want to be appropriately terrified, look at their cartoons and games pick your extremist group. And those same things are being used by white supremacists, violent anti-abortion groups and the like. Fringe groups tend to move to fringe communication media, and that dates back to the printing press. Why? Because hopefully nobody notices you there. So the idea of not using these same media forms in positive ways seems like a tremendous lost opportunity and could be disastrous. Another thing we saw this morning was the proposal for us [the West] to influence Islamic blogs. In the marketing world thats called astroturfing, literally attempting to generate a fake grass roots movement. And you know what? Astroturfing campaigns are always discovered always, always, always! Because communities are very well inoculated against outsidersvery good at detecting that which is other. Guess what happens when astroturfing gets discovered: the company that did it is vilified in the blogs they were trying to positively influence and that loss of influence is almost immeasurable! So guess what will happen if we try and

do that? If the message is hypocritical, or something that isnt true, youll get discovered, and both sides will have a tremendously adverse reaction. Thats why doing this in some sort of centralized [government] way is going to be very, very tricky potentially very dangerous. Imagine if we create a blog and say Iraqis, go use this to talk about anti-extremism. Then, I pretty much guarantee someone will use it to plan a suicide bombing, and then the headlines read US Government creates network to allow suicide bombing attempt! Which means we have to be ready for that, and say here are the thousand success stories. But thats a difficult position to be in, especially if youre actually operating the site, so a layer of indirection might be very helpful in getting people to use the site as well as better manage it. Communication media is going to get used in other ways well, you can detect that and help steer it. But look at the problems MySpace is having: they are scanning more, and hoping to look for more problems, and sharing data when subpoenaed. Law enforcement has practices for dealing with these things, but you have to be ready for that. So from a US government perspective, you have to look at the positives coming out of this, and recognize this is a learning

processwere not always going to be right, but its not like weve been right to date in this effort. Weve made some tragic mistakes, and losses of life are horrible. These are not simple problems, and we would have pushed the magic button if such existed. This is a yearslong, multi-generational effort. Look back to the unrest of the 1960s: we certainly didnt have domestic tranquility and safety in this country overnight, and we had tremendous violence along the way. Or look at our discussion in the seminar about how long progress took in Northern Ireland. IO Sphere: We ask countries to reform their economy, build a government, and promote social programs all at once. CO: And respond to massive external influences, get back into the petroleum economy its a huge thing to ask. IO Sphere: As much as Id like to monopolize your time, you have more to contribute, so lets get you back in there. CO: Thank you, Ive enjoyed talking with you.

30

Fall 2007

Perspectives on Influence and its Role in Counterinsurgency Operations


By Dr. David Sloggett Editorial Abstract: Dr. Sloggett explores how influence operations can best be served by intelligence collected at the local levels. This article highlights the vital role of social anthropology in gaining insights into the structures of societies that provide the socio-cultural backdrop to our on-going operations in the 21st century. Understanding the historical and contemporary social fabric of indigenous societies is a sine qua non of delivering appropriate effects on the ground. [Part IV and final of a series on Intelligence and Information Operations] Introduction This is the final part of the series that considers how we need to shape our intelligence collection activities in the future, to most effectively deploy IO as part of the range of effects we wish to have on the battlefield. It pays particular attention to the issues that arise when conducting counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. Any concept of full spectrum dominance in a COIN context requires greater attention to detail of the social fabric that is the backdrop to our military operationswherever they take place across the world. Therefore, developing a key awareness of the socioanthropological backdrop is paramount, as is the need for military staffs that are at least versed in the subject, and its associated need for rigorous collection of relevant material and intelligence analysis. This article argues that correctly segmenting societal structures and understanding the underlying sociocultural and ethno-religious structures and influences are a vital part of conducting successful influence operations. Given the media backdrop against which such operations are conducted, and our adversaries highly effective use of this to portray their view of the world, it is an area we cannot afford to cede to our enemies. With the media portraying events on a continual basis worldwide, and with the power of the Internet to deliver images to global populations and their underlying societies within seconds, we face a delivery problem. How do we conduct influence operations against a backdrop where world opinion can be formulated quickly, and sometimes with a lack of what we might regard as rational behavior? Take the medias use of the Prophet Mohammads image, and the near instantaneous world-wide reactions in the Muslim community. Through a purely western lens, some of the reaction may have been difficult to understand. From a Muslim perspective, with the clear offense caused by portraying images of the Prophetthe reaction was predictable. In developing influence operations that have more than marginal benefits, we must be capable of seeing the world through different lenses. Seeing through ours is easybut seeing through those of our adversaries is that much harder without setting an appropriate historical and cultural context. Such lenses also apply to those who may be on the fringes, or in the middle ground between of these two extremes. These people may be tempted to move one way or the other depending upon how events unfold. To date, this is an area in which it is fair to say we have fallen short in ensuring we successfully compete in the cognitive domain. These are essential elements of winning what is often referred to as hearts and minds of the population. Additionally, this is a vital component of leveraging a population away from supporting insurgentsone of the classic elements of a successful counterinsurgency campaign. We t h e r e f o r e n e e d g r e a t e r sophistication in our approach. There must be coherence in its delivery across the strategic, operational and tactical domains. Developing detailed and highly granular local (tactical) understanding must be our intent. This gives us the best chance of success, of moving a campaign forward incrementally, and of avoiding major setbacks. Historical Viewpoint Commentators have characterized the Cold War as a clash of two major blocs, NATO and the Soviet Union with their associated ideologies of the free market and communism. Blocs achieved influence through deterrence, and the ultimate threat of a global conflict involving nuclear weapons. This scenario could escalate quickly, and the need to develop confidence building measures were part of what might be called a conflict management (avoidance) strategy. Given the potential for such serious global consequences, it is understandable that we paid little attention to underlying social structures: you were either in the West or part of the Soviet bloc. The two super-powers governed and influenced the world, often using localized and

3

Fall 2007

regional conflicts in Africa, Latin America and the Far East as proxies. Warfighting was part of holding the line, preventing the spread of communism without resorting to actual combat between the two. Understanding local tribal and clan structures in these proxy wars was not a specific focus, as the underlying societal structures were homogeneous. Nevertheless, proxy-wars involved strategy development for countering insurgents. Vietnam, Malaya, Oman and Yemen were places were such wars took place. These insurgencies were very homogeneous in nature. Adversaries were not made up of highly mobile, agile groups of people brought together to fight for the advancement of a religionlike Al Qaeda. These insurgents were natives to the population, fighting to dominate a nation state, and achieve control over a population and associated indigenous natural resources. This is not necessarily the type of insurgency we face today; one based far more on heterogeneous societies made up from local indigenous populations, and those drawn in to fight what they perceive as occupiers leading a war against their religion and culture. In this regard, they have attempted to take the space vacated by the apparent failure of communism, giving people a creed which they can believe is an alternative to capitalism, and all its attendant failings. A 21st Century Viewpoint At the end of the Cold War some declared victory, heralding a new age of dominant capitalism. The free market and the associated perceived basic human desire to be freeand to express that freedom through the ballot box and democracywere seen as building blocks of a global, harmonized society. It was the winning model, one that seemed natural for us to expect the rest of the world to wish to adopt. However many societies were not ready to implement the changes needed to engage a democratic model for their societies. It was, and remains at the moment, a journey on which they will not readily embark. Too many underlying socio-cultural tensions exist as barriers to

progress along a route map to democracy. Cultures that have travelled very different trajectories in time are not easily aligned. In what are often pastoral societies, whose structures can readily be related to a pre-industrialized agein what are today referred to as developed societies dependence upon British Commandos disembark on another land (for food and a counterinsurgency mission. (MOD UK) recognized place in society) and water are driving factors. These create the basis for societal friction, with its risks of turning into power projection (the ultimate form conflict. of influence only based operation) to The latter part of the 20th century saw peace keeping and humanitarian relief the emergence of non-state actors, such as activities, such as in the wake of a major those involved in international terrorism regional disaster. and trans-national and organized crime. Given the pressures that may be Nation states in some areas of the world associated with global climate change, were becoming increasingly less able to including extreme events (such as act cohesively as part of the emerging Hurricane Katrina) of greater frequency global society: Somalia and Afghanistan and intensity, plus their potential to impact are good examples. Populations placed some of the worlds least developed more allegiance to local customs and areas, military relief operations highly societal structures, such as tribal, clan likely in the coming years. These and family links, than to being a member will often occur suddenly, requiring a of a country. Loyalty to the nation state massive and speedy response. Civilian is some areas of the world diminished organizations simply do not have the dramatically. Countries like Somalia are immediate resources to operate on a historically made up of a range of tribes, global basis, so the spotlight naturally clans and sub-clans that routinely change falls upon military forces to deliver the their perspectives at a local level. Rivals most urgently required aid. Being able one minute can become comrades the to quickly understand a deployment next. Groups form a shifting sand of areas underlying demographic, ethnic alliances that are developed and fostered and anthropological structures will be given the circumstances. Importantly, a vital aspect of delivering a successful able as they to promote conflict and outcome. tensions, these structures also provide Ethnic, Tribal and Clan somewhat paradoxicallyroutes Perspectives to conflict resolution, as clan elders have the power to intervene and use Technology, through the ubiquitous established historical precedents for Internet, has created a global society in solving disputes. which messages of grievances and hatred This creates a complex backdrop can be spread in seconds to a worldagainst which forces conduct an ever- wide audience. In the 21st century this increasing range of military operations. audience is highly structuredsome These cover a wide-ranging spectrum might argue chaoticand subject to a from high intensity operations, through range of influences. Gone are the days

3

(Defense Link)

Tribal, clan and family ties can be enduring...


where in many countries loyalty to the state comes first. In fact, this is a very western style of thinking. Nationalism now appears at a much greater level of granularity, as exemplified in Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. Ethnic populations or societies are the key to the social fabric of such areas. Today we see an increasing sense of population fragmentation into ethnoreligious and socio-cultural segments based upon anthropological ties, such as race, ethnicity, tribe, clan and family. In cases where central governments are failing to deliver security and development, local societies with their clan and family-based kinship provide support, and ensure people are looked after in difficult times. To talk of influencing a population is therefore presumptive: in some places a single homogeneous population does not exist. The population is heterogeneous and made up from people who do not respect historical border agreements, preferring to see the world through a lens that fails to recognize that some countries even exist. In these cases, our approach to creating the conditions for developing

some form of influence needs to be more sophisticated. We need to understand the dangers we face in emphasizing kinetic based operationsand find a balance that is appropriate to local circumstances. Delivering the appropriate mix of kinetic and non-kinetic (influence) based operations against such a dynamic backdrop requires intelligence material that enables us to map the complex myriad of societal interactions. These including vital historical perspectives on the origins of the segmentation, and disputes between the fragmented ethnic, tribal, clan and family structures. Only through gaining this level of granular knowledgesomething that takes a great deal of time, effort and careful planning can we conduct influence operations with some degree of certainty. Effective influence operations in this context require a fine-grained analysis of the segmentation of these societies. We need to develop deep insights into the relationships and structures at the heart of this segmentation. We need to blend historical perspectives, some of which can be developed before deploying into theatre, with contemporary views. These are collected in the course of day-to-day operations. We must inculcate the minds of all people engaged in military operations that each conversation they have with someone from a local population is an opportunity to gain insights into that society. Developing a long-term awareness of local society structure is vital. For example, who is the local religious leader within a village? Where did he train? What views does he hold? What is the relationship with the village elders? What kinship ties exist within the village? What measures have been taken in the past, such as inter-marriage, to resolve previous conflicts? What outstanding feuds and local rivalries exist? By what means does the village or qawm (clan) regulates itself? When did people last change allegiance? What pressures is the village under, and where might we be able to help? We must place a long-term value on such perspectives. Tribal, clan and family ties can be enduring, as can blood feuds

and related disputes, which in places like Kosovo, Somalia and Afghanistan can last over several generations and be the source of lasting violence. In Somalia this is referred to as godobthe practice of vendetta killings. This is one means by which conflict is resolved. Another is by Dia-paying, which is traditionally measured in camels. All of these factors provide context insights, against which military operations can be undertaken and have positive effects. The issue is how to collect the material that gives us the insights we need to chart our ways through a myriad of competing issues. This material needs to be regarded as a simple snapshot in time, while providing important historical perspectives. Todays material collected by people on the ground may have little value. But in a different context, it can be tomorrows vital piece of intelligence. Joining the dots together and completing what was thought to be a fragmented jigsaw puzzle can turn into a more cohesive and coherent basis for analysis and action. Understanding the way material can change in value over time is a vital precursor for effective influence operations. Influence Operations The Precursors Conducting effective influence operations requires a number of things to be in place. First, there must be a sense of coupling between statements and actions taken at a strategic level, in terms of messages being disseminated to local audiences in the US and coalition partner countries, with those being made at the operational and tactical level. Local operations must be conducted on a consistent, defendable basis. Lack of consistency is something our adversaries will exploit. They are very alert to the media opportunities such approaches provide, such as unintended civilian casualties. That said, our forces need to be robust in defending their actions, when they have clearly taken all measures they can to avoid such unfortunate outcomes. All too often we cede the moral high ground too easily to our adversaries,

0

Fall 2007

believing we have already lost the argument. Using our values and beliefs we consider that some outcomes cannot be defended. This sends out powerful messages to societies that provide the backdrop to our operations. We do not realize the insidious impact upon local populations that our undefended actions might take, even if it appears we are defending something that is very difficult, such as collateral civilian casualties involving women and children. Our adversaries often conduct operations using women and children as human shields. Yet we rarely explain this to audiences in any great depth, for fear of making an argument appear too one- sided. Too often we judge their likely reactions by our own moralities, rather than through the lens with which they observe and react to events. There is often little symmetry in the ways populations and societies view such events. In developing coherent operations we must also understand and recognize that literacy levels in many of these populations are low. This makes them especially vulnerable images on the Internet and the media. Many messages, like humiliation and repression, come across through images alone. These are very powerful, enduring, and readily reinforce perceptions that are already held. People take images and construct impressions with them easily; they do not need a great deal of explanation. Spoken words that try to articulate why accidental civilian deaths occurred are that much more difficult to get across to societies with low literacy levels. Many pastoral societies do not need to develop reading and writing skills. They have done without these for years, if not centuries. So why develop them now? Promises of entering a new industrial age based on advanced education and higher skill levels do not go very far with societies who are struggling to feed their families on a daily basis. Add the likely impact of climate change to existing day-to-day pressures for these people, and its understandable why they do not take the medium or long-term view.

Planning and conducting military operations that achieve a sustainable balance of kinetic and influence based operations is therefore difficult against this backdrop. Shared Situational Awareness will be an important and necessary precursor for command decisions on the ground. This will include demographic and societal awareness and insights. Commanders who are trained to operate in physical space, where maneuver on the ground and tempo are vital ingredients of success, will also need to be able to take decisions that include maneuvering in the cognitive space. Using this area to try and understand the adversaries will and intensions also helps explain the extreme

Col John Boyd, father of the OODA Loop. (US Air Force) forms of violence they may resort to in achieving their objectives. In this way military commanders can start to take decisions designed to have a balanced range of effects on the ground. The OODA Loop The vast majority of military people around the world are well aware of the work of Colonel John Boyd and the development of his Observe, Orient, Decide and Act (OODA) loop model. It is highly intuitive and therefore easy to understand. It also sits well with some of the teachings of well known

military writers such as Sun Tzu and Von Clausewitz. Developed as a result of the Korean War and the success of the US F-86 Saberjet fighter against what was seen (on paper) to be the superior MiG19 aircraft, it has been widely used to describe the ways in which major military warfare is conducted today. In both 1991 and 2003 the battlefield tempo in Iraq was seen as central to a successful and fast campaign. With the public ever more conscious of combat casualties, the need to prosecute the mission and deliver a successful outcome has never been more important. Wars need to be fought clinically and surgically with precision, tempo and regard for life, both of the people fighting and the local civilian population. While the applicability of the OODA loop to these classic symmetric engagements is clear and well established, it is reasonable to ask if it still has applicability when faced with an adversary well skilled in conducting asymmetric warfare. The OODA loop is the paradigm of command that delivers the tempo required of contemporary maneuver warfare fought in a classical blue-on-red engagement, where the location of the enemy is relatively clear. Sensors based upon a variety of platforms, operating on the ground, air, space and underwater if required, are used to observe the battlefield (weather permitting). Military historians have provided a great deal of coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the advantages afforded to the United States and coalition forces operating with advanced sensor-based systems, such as JSTARS and Predator. These image- and radar-based sensor systems provide cues to commanders, revealing enemy dispositions. Often, these provide time sensitive targets for rapid attack, resulting in a disproportionate effect on the adversary. Using Network Centric Capabilities, we can plan and execute operations at speeds based upon excellent, all around situational awareness. With specific capabilities such as Blue Force Tracking (BFT), commanders can look at where other coalition forces are located, and

1

make decisions quickly on synchronizing effects, sometimes without needing to refer to higher command authorities. Tempo on the ground is thus dominated by factors such as the weather, the rate at which forces consume materials, and the speed with which they can be resupplied. What many people do not realize is the emphasis Colonel Boyd placed on the orient phase of the cycle. He placed specific attention to this part, weighting it differently. His contended that effort expended in getting into the right position to engage the enemy made the final decision to act more straightforward. Wi t h g o o d s i t u a t i o n a l awareness the decisions needed became obvious, and therefore commanders can make them quickly. This was a key reason that the F-86 could successfully engage the far superior MiG-19. However, Colonel Boyds solution space was always kinetic and in the physical space.

have some degrees of maneuver, but not a completely free hand. Through asymmetric warfighting, they aim to wear down our will to see operations through to a successful conclusion. They perceive our unwillingness to sustain casualties as a weakness. Asymmetric warfare teaches people to fight where their enemies are weak, avoiding decisive engagements involving massed forces at all costs. Their aim is to engage us over the long term, forcing withdrawal as casualties and body bags arrive home. Their watchwords are attrition, patience and time. Ours are speed, reducing casualties and haste. Given the emerging need to develop a more sophisticated approach to influence operations, our watchwords are at best, unhelpful. Against this backdrop politicians talk of sustained engagement, using language indicating a willingness to be in theater for the long term. They argue we need to take The Cognitive OODA the casualties and continue Loop & COIN to take the fight to the enemy upstream. In referring to the Contemporary COIN (Defense Link) military operations in this operations require commanders to carry out the OODA loop in Developing a long-term awareness of way, they provide an important strategic backdrop for planning both the physical and cognitive local society structure is vital. COIN activities over the short s p a c e . C o l o n e l B o y d s and medium term. This is an emphasis upon the orient part of the cycle however still applies. difficult outcomes, hence the need to important part of sending messages to Conventional military wisdom has us get it rightand spend time reflecting the members of the local societies that operating inside the OODA loop of the upon the range of potential outcomes we are committed to staying, to give adversary. This is where we gain and from an action. It is also where we them a more secure environment in need to develop detailed insights into which to live. maintain the initiative. Paradoxically, while we send out We can argue that a similar need our adversarys will and intent. This exists in the cognitive domain. Anticipate requires detailed analysis and intelligence such messages at a strategic level there is little apparent linkage between this the adversary and his moves, and you collection to avoid nasty surprises. Nowhere might these surprises be and messages and operations conducted have the advantage. Above all, focus upon his will and intent and the places more difficult to anticipate than in the at the tactical level. These are often of from which he derives his power kind of places where we are operating a very short-term nature. Moreover we which in some cases is his ideology. today. We have chosen to operate sometimes lack the appreciation of the When one is trying to influence an upstream to disrupt and deny sanctuary value of information and material that we opponent, using what we refer to in the to our adversaries, all for good reasons. collect in the course of these operations, United Kingdom as Power Projection We are operating on their ground against and its potential benefits in the medium Operations (such as that conducted off their physical backdrops, as well as in term. There seems to be a culture of if the coast of Sierra Leone)it is vital cognitive and socio-cultural terms... of it is not useful in the next few days, we we get the OODA loop working in our landscapes on which they can fight with may as well not worry about it. Given adversarys cognitive space as well as the great familiarity. They can also choose the enduring nature of relationships, physical. So, the OODA loop still has its to fight when and where they feel. They including tribal, clan, sub-clan and 2 Fall 2007

attractions in the cognitive space, its just that the speed of the loop may well be slower and more deliberate. This reflects the need to spend more time evaluating possible outcomes, given the complex socio-cultural and ethnic backdrop against which were deploying influence operations. Of course, some of these may also be undesirable and unhelpful in achieving campaign objectives. This underlines the already stated need to spend by far the greatest time in the orient phase of the cycle, analyzing potential influence actions and their possible outcomes. The cognitive space is where we might find the surprises and

family ties in such societies, this is a very short term and almost myopic viewpoint. This is a viewpoint we must address. Our military operations are also conducted, for the foreseeable future, with coalition partners. These may well be coalitions of the willing, where the United Nations forges groups of countriessometimes not ready bedfellowsinto a structure that helps deploy troops to undertake a variety of duties. In these coalitions there are huge opportunities to send the right signals to a local population, and the associated need to be wary of ethnic tensions that might arise through coalitions where underlying socio-cultural and ethnic backgrounds may not happily mix. Getting this balance right is another key element of planning and developing coherent, cohesive military operations with an appropriate influence component. Conclusions This article set out to discuss the issues we face today in developing

influence operations at the right level of sophistication, one that allows them to positively contribute to the on-going engagements. Weve explored the backdrop against which such operations are conducted, and highlighted the difficulty of heterogeneous societies that have little respect for nation states, central authorities and their institutions. We need to affect local political and sociocultural structures, while understanding how underlying socio-anthropological structures are a vital pre-requisite to successful influence operations. It is vital that we consider ways of gaining access to those audiences, while respecting age old customs, such as the role of the Shura (local council) in some societies. Understanding how it works and is able to exert its influence is an essential ingredient to local success. No quick fixes are available, but we do need to develop a long-term strategy. We must also recognize that our views of needing all countries to become democracies, as after all democracies do not fight each other (!), is ambitious.

Sometimes societies will simply not be ready to move that far in quick time, measured in years or decades, in contrast with their history. Though we may believe it to be an essential element in denying areas of failed states to terrorist groupsa key component in the Global War on Terrorwe may have to leave intact some elements of the way these societies regulate themselves, even if these elements are not immediately compatible with our own values and beliefs. After all, European culture took many hundreds of years to develop. If our politicians mean it when they say we are involved in a theater for a sustained period of engagement, then this article argues that we had better develop far greater insights into the history and anthropology of an area. These are the sine qua non of the effective deployment of non-kinetic effects. They will help us achieve our longer term goals of increasing security and offering nation states a better futureeven if all that means is that they are left alone to get on with their lives.

3

A Primer For Deception Analysis: Psychological Operations Target Audience Analysis


By Rieka Stroh, Lieutenant Colonel, USA; and Jason Wendell, Major, USA Editorial Abstract: The authors look at contemporary use of military deception, identifying shortcomings in understanding a target audience. They introduce a variation of the audience analysis process used in psychological operations as a potential enhancement for deception planners.

sychological operations and deception have long been synonymous, considering both have a related goal, that of changing the behavior of a specific audience. Much is written about psychological operations (PSYOP) and little is written about the conduct of deception. Deception focuses on planning and execution of deception and little is paid to understating the deception target and the targets cognitive process. By better understanding the target audience, we can make deception more effective. This article proposes a solution to this problem by modifying PSYOPs proven Target Audience Analysis into a Deception Target Analysis. Consider that the sport-fishing industry spends hundreds of thousands of dollars researching the behavior and habits of specific game fish, and then spends more developing lures and baits of all colors, sizes, shapes, and scents, all in an elaborate deception to get a fish to believe that a dangerous lure is, in fact, a delicious meal. While people are more complex than fish, understanding the fish is the most important factor in getting the fish to do what you wantto bite the hook. Current publicationsJoint Publication 3-13, Information Operations; Joint Publication 3-13.4, Military Deception; and Field Manual 3-13, Information Operations: Doctrine, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures thoroughly address planning deception with respect to friendly planning, but little to the actual analysis of the deception target. While planning deception is a very important activity, all the planning is for not, if the deception planners do not understand the behavior and habits of their target. This is similar to the sport fishing industry analyzing the fisherman in order to get the fish to bite.

PSYOP Versus Deception Joint Publication 1-02 defines PSYOP as planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. JP 1-02 further defines deception as those measures designed to mislead the enemy by manipulation, distortion, or falsification of evidence to induce the enemy to react in a manner prejudicial to the enemys interests. It is easy to see how PSYOP and deception complement each other, considering both have a mission to change behavior. Because deception is usually considered lying, current US doctrine tries to distance PSYOP from deception by saying PSYOP influences groups of people, and deception influences individual decision makers. Current doctrine overlooks that groups of people are comprised of individuals and doctrine forgets that deception is more akin to magic and slight of hand, considering magicians get the audience to focus on A while the magician does B. Despite the differences and arguments, there is one common thread: to be successful in PSYOP and deception, planners and executors must know their target audience. Deception Planning Process Like all military planning, Military Deception (MILDEC) planning is a step-by-step process that requires commanders and their staff to consider goals, objectives, targets, and means. It involves several people under the direction of the C3/J3/G3/N3 in coordination with subordinate commanders and their staffs but kept to a minimum of people who are aware of the deception plan for

operational security. For MILDEC to be successful it must, like PSYOP, result in a desired action. It is not enough to make the target believe or think that the deception is true. Deception requires the target to act or not act in a specific way that supports the MILDEC plan. Basically, the process involves the following three steps: 1. See: what does the target see from friendly operations? 2. Think: what conclusions does the target draw from those observations? 3. Do: what action may the target take as a result of the conclusions. A historical case in which these three steps were perhaps unwittingly employed is Egypts surprise attack in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Egyptian and Syrian planners wanted to delay Israeli response to the Egyptian build up of troops along the Suez Canal. The Arabs wanted Israeli leaders to see the troop increase, think it was a part of an annual exercise, and thus mislead the Israelis into doing nothingthus catching them prepared for war. This was accomplished by a deception plan that supported existing Israeli (and Western) beliefs about Arabs. Specifically, the Israelis believed the Arab military was generally incompetent in that they lacked ability to coordinate military actions, especially a large-scale campaign, and that the Arabs could not keep secrets. Understanding Arab culture and identifying specific traits enabled the Egyptian and Syrian deception planners to incorporate acts that would substantiate their ploy. However, this proved to be more difficult than it appears largely because in Arab culture, the verbal gesture and its emotional display are as important as the act making it challenging to unmask indicators of real actions from deceptive practices.



Fall 2007

Likewise, employing FM 3.05-301 states PSYOP against people whose conditions are how a target culture is centered on ambiguous audience thinks or feels about a signals would be challenging particular indicator (or stimulus despite PSYOPs proven Target for PSYOP). To understand Audience Analysis process. the deception target, the However, deception planning analysts look at the targets that incorporates a formal attitudes, beliefs, and values. Deception Target Analysis By examining attitudes, beliefs, could, not only identify areas and values, analysts can discern of ambiguity and potentially patterns in past behavior (in weaknesses in the plan, but also relation to a given bias and/or a highlight these areas to achieve given condition), and therefore SSG Steve Carden conducts Target Audience Analysis in a specified action. predict the deception targets Ethiopia to better understand the target audience. Although the basic threebehavior if particular indicators (US Army) step deception process identifies are introduced. For example: Target Audience Analysis and a general approach to deception hunter fish attack and eat injured Deception planning, it falls short of necessary steps prey fish because less energy is wasted for a thoroughly developed plan. A more By examining military publications chasing injured fish. Hunter fish also detailed planning process includes the focused on target audience biases and prey on fish that invade their territory, following six steps: cognition, Field Manual 3-05.301, do not blend with their background, or 1. Deception Mission Analysis Psychological Operations: Tactics, generally behave in ways not favoring 2. Deception Planning Guidance Techniques, and Procedures, we survival. Knowing these conditions 3. Staff Deception Estimate develop a sense of what Target Audience (and behaviors), anglers select lures that 4. C o m m a n d e r s D e c e p t i o n Analysis is. Using the PSYOP TTP act like injured prey fish or bait that is Estimate manuals definition of Target Audience focused on feeding itself versus hiding. 5. Deception Plan Development Analysis as a start, analysts morph this By understanding the fishs conditions, 6. Deception Plan Review and definition into a definition of Deception sport fishermen identify vulnerabilities Approval Target Analysis: a detailed, systematic in the fishs behavior. There is a hint of Deception examination of relevant information to Vulnerabilities are needs for Target Analysis within these six steps, select TAs that can accomplish a given information (and intelligence). Deception stating deception planners identify objective. The purpose of Deception targets will strive to overcome their any preconceptions that the adversary Target Analysis is to determine how to vulnerabilities. By properly identifying leadership may have about friendly persuade one Deception Target Analysis vulnerabilities, analysts will have a intentions and capabilities. This could to achieve the deception objective. This greater degree of success in deception. mean identifying vulnerabilities and means analysts must determine why the Fish are vulnerable to injured prey (easy susceptibility of the target audience, Deception Target Analysis does what it food) and are vulnerable to running off although the term preconceptions does, and what friendly forces must do to trespassers. is much more broadly defined than change the deception targets behavior. PSYOP uses Lines of Persuasion. the process requires, in order to fully By taking relevant aspects of PSYOP Lines of Persuasion are arguments analyze the target audience. Step Target Audience Analysis (as found 5, Deception Plan Development, is in FM 3-05.301, Chapter 5), we will used to obtain a desired behavior or broken down into five additional steps consider the following topics: Target attitude from the target audience that include analyzing the deception Audience, Conditions, Vulnerabilities, that will persuade the target audience target. At first appearance, it seems that Lines of Persuasion, Symbols, and to behave or believe in the desired manner. For deception, analysts must this may be in line with the PSYOPs Susceptibility. Target Audience Analysis process. Target Audience is simply who use Lines of Persuasion in order to get However, Deception Target Analysis we want to deceive. Analysts must the deception target to believe certain simply includes evaluating a target for ask themselves if the deception target indicators. Further, analysts must its general susceptibility, in terms of can actually make the decision. Can identify necessary supporting deceptions. how much information is required for the target actually perform the physical For example, in The Man Who Never the target to confirm the story before decisions required to be deceived? Can Was, British Intelligence used false trails reaching a decision, and how long this the target influence the decision maker? to further deceive German intelligence will take. It ignores the many other Back to the fishing analogy: What fish as to the actual invasion plans in the factors included in PSYOPs Target live in this body of water? What is the Mediterranean. British Intelligence developed a persona in Major William Audience Analysis. water temperature?



Martin by giving him a fianc (including love letters and a photo), torn theater ticket stubs, overdrawn bank account, lodging receipts and so on. These were all supporting deceptions meant to further mislead German Intelligence. In essence, British Intelligence made the bait look and taste better. PSYOP uses symbols while deception should use indicators. Like symbols, indicators should be recognizable and have meaning to the target audience. Symbols should convey the Line of Persuasion. They must convey a preconceived notion already developed by the deception target. If the deception target is looking for indicators, deception planners should show the deception target indicators that present the deceivers objective. Like the Germans, they were looking to discredit Major William Martin, but instead found him very real. Sport anglers do the same by applying scents, motion, and color to indicate the lure is an easy meal. Susceptibility or the actual ability to influence the deception target is essential to the deception operation. Some Lines of Persuasion and indicators work better than others, depending on the deception target and the deception objective. Analysts must rate the impact of each Line of Persuasion and indicator related to the deception target. The sport fishing industry analyzes different lures, colors, motions, etc all in an effort to better deceive the particular fish species. While two lures will work with a particular species, which lure works best with which specific species? The Wandering Soul PSYOP series is an example of both PSYOP and PSYOP Target Audience Analysis which could easily be adapted for deception purposes. During the Vietnam War, PSYOP units used their general understanding of the Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese (NVA) soldiers, and the burial practices of Southeast Asians, to create audio tapes depicting lost souls wandering the night, causing the enemy to consider his fate since he would not be properly buried in accordance with tradition. The Wandering Souls tape was used effectively to cause many VC

and NVA to surrender or desert. Below is a very brief synopsis of what the Target Audience Analyst would consider: Condition: NVA and VC soldiers far from family and relatives; Target Audience believes in certain burial rites needing to be performed; traditional and cultural education based in part on mythology. Vulnerabilities: the requirement for proper burial rites performed; remembrance by family members; target audience is vulnerable to appeals by family, especially ancestors. Lines of Persuasion: fear of being killed; fear of not receiving burial rites; burial in an anonymous and/or mass grave; concern of family without husband. Symbols: ghostly sounds; children crying because their fathers body was not buried; ancestors calling out for soldiers to surrender or desert; Buddhist funeral music. Susceptibility: target audience highly susceptible to messages dealing with family ties, but low when appeals are made to their lives as individuals. This level of understanding can greatly assist deception. By understanding the target audiences preconceived notions, biases, and cognitive process, deception planners could enhance the targets misunderstanding and/or

misreading of reality. By understanding the lenses a target uses to perceive the world, deception planners can craft the deception indicators and information to better fit the targets expectations. Conclusion PSYOPs Target Audience Analysis has proven to be not only effective in the PSYOP process, but essential in developing the PSYOP plan. Changing behavior of a group or individual is challenging, even at the most basic level. PSYOP and deception share that challenge. Likewise, PSYOP and deception share principles such as understanding the target audience, in order to affect behavior that results in a specific act. With that in mind, deception planning could benefit by incorporating PSYOPs process of analyzing the target audience to better understand the adversary. This is too important to bury in a sub-step within other steps of a process. Deception Target Analysis should be better defined and take a more prominent role in the overall deception planning process. Doing so will make an already difficult process less obscure and increase its chance of success. Allied with a thorough target audience analysis, deception, properly planned and properly executed, can be an overwhelming return on investment.



Fall 2007

Discrediting Suicide Bombing:


An Information Strategy
By Mary E. Whisenhunt Editorial Abstract: The author provides a detailed overview of a multiagency political-social exchange which brought together representatives from across the Middle East and North America to address the problems of suicide bombing. Attendees examined and outlined both conventional and unconventional approaches to countering this extremist tactic.

1.0 Background

S Central Command requested that the Joint Information Operations Warfare Command plan and host, through the JIOWCs Virtual Integrated Support for the IO eNvironment (VISION) process, a seminar to develop an information strategy to discredit suicide bombing in the Middle East. US Special Operations Command joined USCENTCOM in combined sponsorship of the forum. The University of TexasSan Antonio (UTSA) served as joint hosts with the JIOWC, at the Institute of Texan Cultures. This event followed a March 2007 seminar hosted by USCENTCOM in which dozens of information activities (IAs) aimed at discrediting suicide bombings (SBs) were developed. The August forum in San Antonio had three related goals: Provide additional detail and depth to IAs identified in March 2007 Identify owners of specific IArelated actions within the interagency community Develop new IAs on discrediting SB through 1) ideological means, 2) re-branding and 3) the media and the Internet, to include blogging The seminar brought together a diverse community of interest (COI) from industry, foreign media, marketing, information technology, academia, research institutions, the clergy, entertainment, DOD, the interagency, and the intelligence community. More than 100 persons participated in the collaborative drafting of an informational strategy that should add lasting value to USCENTCOM and USSOCOM efforts to counter violent extremism. Participants identified and discussed the ways and means in crafting a coherent

discrediting strategy, as well as US and adversary strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The group also identified informational requirements and shortfalls. Finally, three breakout groups crafted IAs focused on discrediting SB using ideological, media, and marketing schemes. Presentations focused on ongoing USG efforts that could or should be synchronized with IAs developed in the course of the seminar. In addition to the CENTCOM goals articulated above, the seminar will also serve as a jumping off point for followon information operations planning under VISION. Seminar participants are intended to serve as the COI to support that planning. IAs will be cross-walked with ongoing initiatives elsewhere in DOD and the interagency community, and incorporated into a discrediting suicide bombing information campaign. 2.0 Key Findings An extraordinary team of experts and stakeholders participated in the Discrediting Suicide Bombing: An Information Strategy seminar. Their comments and observations provided unique insights into both ongoing strategic communication (SC) initiatives directed against violent extremism, and future efforts as well. Of particular note were proposed actions associated with rebranding, or repositioning, suicide bombing in the Middle East, and discrediting suicide bombing through the blogosphere. A common theme throughout all panels and speakers was that the strategy must include actions directed at altering the suicide bomber narrative, and the arguments justifying the attacks. Taking a marketing view of the discrediting SB information campaign leads us down a distinct path in terms of

audience identification. Branding and reposition should focus on the easy targets: soft and hard supporters of moderation and non-violence. Preaching to the converted, and facilitating their access to multiple communication paths, will encourage moderate voices to speak up, gain momentum, and spread virally through word-of-mouth and media, including the Internet. Do not expend effort on the hard opposition, or focus on isolating them within the Muslim community and leave the soft opposition alone so as to not further inflame them or stiffen their resolve. A trend that emerged throughout the discussions was whether messaging should focus on the religious and ideological aspect of suicide bombing, solely on the criminal aspect, or whether a combination of those aspects. Though contested, the consensus appeared to be that a combination of the two would be most effective. On the religious, and to a great extent ideological side, regionallybased clerics, academics, and activists would resonate most strongly with a Middle East audience, while the USG would more appropriately focus on the criminal aspects of both the actors and tactics. Portraying suicide bombers as criminals or thugs, and their actions as criminal in nature, vice as part of jihad, are necessary elements of the campaign. For example, US use of the phrase Global War on Terror inadvertently empowers these criminals to depict themselves as warriors. Focusing on the human rights violation aspect of the attacks, particularly against attacks involving children as either suicide bombers or victims, may achieve greater traction in the international law arena or within the United Nations (UN). Facilitating moderate voice access to multiple communications ways and

Fall 2007

means is a key enabler in creating promoderation, pro-democracy activists. Our experts on the Blogosphere Panel suggested that the more the virtual network expands to reach these potential voices, the more the effort on the ground gains momentum, and the more effective bloggers become in countering extremism and supporting an open Middle Eastern information environment Thus, IAs focused on creating a largely free Internet access point in the region, combined with blogging initiatives, became a pivot point in the discrediting SB strategy. As often happens in US government (USG) forums centered on developing hearts and minds strategies, the elephant in the room was US foreign policy and its impact on openly USGsponsored SC and information operation initiatives. This factor becomes particularly relevant when, as one of our marketing panelists posited, one considers that nothing kills a bad product more quickly than a great advertisement. Translated to operational terms, if our target audience perceives a significant disconnect between US geopolitical actions, and the messages were exporting in public diplomacy or SC realms, our ability to achieve objectives could be significantly damaged. Our already shaky credibility further declines, and USG sponsorship of any endeavor becomes a liability. The role of third party validators (3PVs), or credible voices which can carry messages discrediting suicide bombing and violent extremism as a whole, then becomes paramount. The majority of the information activities generated by the seminar group require at least some level of 3PV involvement or sponsorship. Knowledge harvesting focused on a few key areas, including threats and opportunities vis--vis the discrediting SB campaign, and information shortfalls in our understanding of suicide bombers and their tactics. US strengths were heavily focused on ideological and societal factors, particularly on American freedoms and values (of particular interest, our kinetic powers received minor attention in this exercise). One

could postulate that USG-sponsored messages amplifying those values and freedoms would resonate most strongly. Threats to the US focused on geopolitical factors. Opportunities identified were all over the map, but centered heavily on developmental, economic, and exchange initiatives which could lay the groundwork for improved international relationships at all levels, and a more inhospitable environment for terrorists. 3.0 Methodology VISION seminars are a critical first step in the planning process, both in building a topical community of interest and in crafting an effective, synchronized plan that meets strategic objectives. This VISION planning process serves as the seminars analytical backbone. The interdependence of information activities associated with countering violent extremism, to include discrediting suicide bombing, calls for an unprecedented level of collaboration among USG agencies as well as partner nations, industry, and the media. USG planning parameters sometimes lead to a planning framework that can impede collaboration with experts who are not part of DOD or the interagency community. As such, it is critical to develop a robust and diverse COI for brainstorming, data solicitation, and cross-pollination of ideas. Knowledge-harvesting exchanges provided an opportunity to rapidly extract topic-specific data from participants in identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and ultimately in building a common frame of reference in building a successful strategy. The seminar was intended to accomplish the following: Establish a COI relevant to the planning problem and identify the unique expertise each subject matter expert (SME) can contribute. Promote greater understanding and cooperation among COI members to facilitate future interactions. Provide a forum for further refining the IAs from the earlier CENTCOM seminar, identify owners of associated

actions, and develop consensus on an information strategy. Enhance and expand the VISION SME database to be used in supporting future planning efforts associated with the topic. .0 Seminar Attendance Ideally, a strategy seminar ranges from 10 to 50 participants, depending on the planning activity. For this seminar, more than 80 persons participated in the first two days of the forum; approximately 20 additional persons joined the group on the last two days. While not optimally sized, the level of interest dictated a larger forum. JIOWC drew participants from multiple communities including: USAID; Voice of America; industry, to include advertising, publishing, entertainment and virtual social network experts; Pan-Arab and Afghan media representatives; bloggers; researchers; intelligence analysts; academia; foreign diplomatic and military representatives; the DOD, Department of State, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. These invitees helped generate approaches to discrediting SB activities that might not otherwise have been identified in a USGonly planning environment. .0 Subject Matter Expert Presentations Representatives from the Government of Iraq, the USG interagency community, academia, research institutions and industry briefed on the suicide bombing phenomenon and recommendations to discredit it. The presentations established a foundation to draft IAs. Highlights from each are presented below for the various efforts. 5.1 Opening Comments (HE Ambassador Samir Al-Sumaidaie, Iraqi Ambassador to the US) The phenomenon of suicide bombing (SB) has long been of interest to him, but particularly now since it is tearing his country apart; discussed the magnitude of the psychological, emotional, economic and security impact 7

of SB on Iraq; literally a matter of life and death for his country. They must have the support of the world at large to discredit. Discrediting SB is not enough; we must get to the root of the problem. We must focus on a strategic approach: a supply and demand challenge that must be attacked from both sides. Extremists rely on cultural, social and political conditioning to recruit and convert bombers, most of whom would never have considered killing themselves prior to this conversion. Their brand of Islam is totalitarian in nature: all must conform or be eliminated. SB is made possible by effective packaging that appeals to young people, including the false notion that suicide bombers are pleasing to Allah and making their friends and family proud. It is not enough to have religious leaders condemn SB. We must reach the point where any Imam who condones SB is stripped of their title. Anyone who condones suicide bombing is guilty of incubating this environment, including media networks such as Al Jazeera. There should be a new legal framework that prevents the media from being used as a mouthpiece for terrorist propaganda. We need a multi-lateral approach that includes the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations, which includes the enactment of a non-suicide bombing treaty similar to todays non-proliferation treaties. 5.2 Keynote Speech (Paul Hanley, Director of Strategic Communication, Joint Chiefs of Staff) The US must involve not only our partner nations as we craft a cohesive global strategic communication (SC) strategy to combat terrorism, but also countries and organizations which are not normally our allies. Discrediting suicide bombing may be considered a test tube initiative for the overall SC strategy against violent extremism. Suicide bombings and other acts of violent extremism will only end when mothers decide they love their children more than they hate each other.

Discussion: Calling the war a global war on terror (GWOT) empowers thugs and criminals to call themselves warriors. 5.3 The Suicide Bomber and Supporter Identities: Who is Our Audience? (Dr. Walid Phares, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) One of the strengths of ideologues behind suicide bombers has been the cadre of Western intellectuals who say SB is a legitimate tactic against colonialism and oppression, creating the sense that the world supports the use of this tactic, not just the Muslim nation. Resistance and martyrdom are two of the few ideological bases for SB. We have not reached a full consensus as to how to define the suicide bomber. Neither terrorists nor jihadists are suicidal in the terms we would consider it. The most recent research into the socio-economic background of jihadis showed that the entire strata are represented. If you ask the jihadi, he himself would say SB is not part of his agenda. Changing the lexicon of SB is important, but we need to wage it in the right battlefield. The US cant do itthe Imams must do it. The clerics must explain why we cannot have religious wars in our day. We must develop a long-term strategy which focuses on the young from the ages of 0-14. Money spent on education in the Arab world would help engage that younger generation. We must change school curricula. Civil society resistance is required, to include blogging and non-governmental organization (NGO) activities. We should identify 100 Arab speakers who can debate issues on Pan-Arab television. Theologically, we must engage sensitively. We need real Imams and real debate to counter theological arguments. We should spend less on physical weapons and more on de-radicalization programs. One billion dollars to deradicalize would do so much more than any F-16s we could purchase.

5.4 US Agency International Development (USAID) Activities (Dr. Stephen Gale, Senior Advisor, Legislative and Public Affairs, USAID) Many USAID activities are tangentially related to US efforts to counter violent extremism. USAID builds schools, employs youth, and provides jobs, micro-loans, power generators, and electricity. While poverty is not considered the determinant factor in the recruitment of suicide bombers, developmental assistance from the US provides visible proof of American compassion. If the US helps to improve a familys quality of life, it makes it difficult for extremists to claim that our nation doesnt care. .0 Panel Presentations And Discussion A number of themes emerged during the course of the panel presentations on recommendations to discredit SB, and in the group and sidebar discussions that followed them: 6.1 Suicide Bomber Phenomenon (Frank Cilluffo, George Washington University [see also IO Sphere Summer 2007, page 14]; and Michael Soussan, New York University Frank Cilluffo: Suicide bombing is an effective tactic and is a phenomenon that is largely based in story-telling, and the narrative. Mythology has been wrapped into fact, then into distorted religion, along the way. There is only so much that the US itself can accomplish in changing that narrative. Only a leader from that constituency has the credibility to accomplish anything substantive. We need to hear from former radicals like Hassan Butt, who has stated in the press that he recruited others into joining a terrorist network. S u c c e s s f u l e ff o r t s i n t h e international realm include the Saudi Tranquility Program. Yemen also has a successful rehabilitation program in which they use religious scholars to counter the terrorists ideology, pulling the religious justification out of the argument.

Fall 2007

We need to isolate the Al Samir Khader: Much of the US that information. Al Arabiya wants to Qaida leadership from the rest of the counter-violent extremism SC efforts provide an alternative to Al Jazeeraa organization, and the organization from in the Middle East are ineffective due more objective, less sensationalist societies at large. From an informational to its lack of understanding of regional alternative. perspective, we need to remind the culture. We cannot ban voices, even proworld that the majority of SB victims SB is an effective weapon that terrorism voices, within the media. The have been Muslim. We should remind injures the dignity of the enemy last thing we want to see is censorship. others about the hundreds of kids who In the Middle East, descriptive However, news reporting should have were killed in Beslan, show simple phrases martyr and martyrdom ethics and standards. Al Arabiya guidelines in reporting videos, show bombings in Jordan, and in used rather than suicide bombing. Casablanca. In the end, this is not about Its debatable whether SB is actually on suicide bombers include a focus on public relationsour message sells itself martyrdom. The term secularist is an the victims, rather than the perpetrators. Al Arabiya was, in fact, the first regional without our pushing it. insult in the Middle East. Michael Soussan: The media Suicide bombing is not on the outlet to use the term suicide bombers cannot be neutral in this fight. Outlets decline in the Middle East; rather, the rather than martyrs. The network often give equal time to both sides after next generation is already postured does not air any material that directly or a suicide bombing, often focusing on the to become terrorists. There seems to indirectly promotes suicide bombing. We reaction to the attack. In some ways that be no alternative for many university have interviewed clerics who denounce actually legitimizes the terrorist actions. students, who are not allowed to engage attacks, as well as victims of suicide For example, after the US assault on in open debate and whose campuses are attacks in Iraq. Discussion: Censorship was Fallujah in 2004, the UN Secretary one of the prominent topics discussed Generals statements referred only during the question and answer to the assault itself, rather than period following Ms Charters to the earlier use of Fallujah as a presentation. One participant argued terrorist base of operations. that Hamas TVs programming If you represent the UN you brainwashed Palestinian children must choose sides: the side that into violent extremism and suicide fights terrorism. bombing. Ms Charters responded We must challenge the that while shutting down childrens culture of certain international shows in this case was well worth organizations vis--vis terrorism. debating, censorship was still a thin We cant let them get away with line that should be watched. Others creating moral confusion where opined that freedom of speech there must be moral clarity. What actions may discourage future extremism? did not include teaching children Discussion: Any (Defense Link) to kill themselves. Ambassador internationally-accepted definition Al-Sumaidaie recommended that of terrorism would have to focus on we develop international standards indisputable assertions: No one should surrounded by police. Such restraints be allowed to target civilians for political on freedom make it easy for Islamists that deny the oxygen of publicity to terrorists, making it illegal to broadcast purposes. to recruit. Efforts to engage from a moderate Discussion: Al Jazeera considers messages that threaten the lives of theological perspective are complicated itself objective in its reporting of innocent people. Determining a legal by US conservative talk radio, which suicide bombings and doesnt take basis for doing so is the challenge. sends indirect messages attacking sides. Al Jazeera is not CNN and 6.3 Discrediting Suicide Bombing Islam. targets the grassroots of Arab culture; in the Blogosphere (Ammar Abdulhamid, The ability of US Muslims to get their programming is representative of Thawra Community Blog; and Tony the moderate word out is dependent that focus. It is not the responsibility of Badran, Foundation for Defense of on and requires assistance from the Al Jazeera to show only the moderate Democracies Blog) US political system and media outlets; and responsible side in its coverage Ammar Abdulhamid: Working at moderate points of view simply dont get of terrorist activity, including suicide the grassroots level is critical in Middle the air time that extreme views do. bombings. East modernization and democratization Nadia Charters: The Arab media effort, as many communities and regions 6.2 Regional Media Policy and Suicide Bombing (Samir Khader, plays a large role in informing or dont trust each other. The Internet is key to build Al Jazeera and Nadia Charters, Al misinforming the public, and the Arab world uses television as a source of networks of activists, generate ideas, Arabiya)

and raise public awareness; objective is to build virtual networks that parallel activist networks on the street. Found that the more the virtual network expands, the more the effort on the ground builds steam. Internet and blogging are key to effectiveness in activist David vs. Goliath match. Discrediting SB recommendations: create online group of activists, start task force, discuss the issue on-line, invite Imams and others into the group. Huge events are unnecessarylocal efforts more effective. Activists on the ground will have more practical ideas than those generated by this seminar. Focus groups key to identify issues most important to various segments of population. Social networks, blogs, very effective tools that enable brainstorming and turn bloggers into activists. The more access activists have to the Internet, the more effective they can be in countering extremism and supporting modernization and democratization. Using satellites to make the Internet free and available everywhere in the region, so that anyone with satellite television could also have access to the Internet, would be extremely effective. Tony Badran: In an informational campaign, we need an Arab media strategy, not just a counter-Al Qaida strategy. We must rather understand what messages already resonate with the audience. Central theme in Arab media is a narrative of perpetual Western aggression, loss of Muslim life, and conspiracy theories. These narratives strengthen the theme of humiliation and the need for resistance. Recommendations: DOD Public Affairs must develop trained Arabicspeaking press officers and develop viable material that speaks to the concerns and ideology of the Arab media. We must also empower Arab voices, through developing, cultivating and empowering third party validators. We must also use only truthful material in the informational strategy. Discussion: The question of blogging and anonymity emerged during the question and answer period. Mr

Abdulhamid said that the blogging groups assumed that they would be penetrated and planned accordingly. He added that they actually wanted there to be some penetration so as to be considered less threatening to the regimes. Most blogging occurs in English; while computer software permits the use of Arabic to an extent, modifications are needed. 6.4 Suicide Bomber Ideology (Brooke Goldstein, Esq., A2B Film Productions [See interview, page 12]; and Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat, Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation). Imam Arafat: asserted that discrediting suicide bombing was a two-way street, and that a convergence of Muslim leadership and US foreign policy is needed. Neither can accomplish it alone and both have things for which to apologize. Religion and politics are both necessary mechanisms that must be used to halt suicide bombing. Religion cannot do it alone, nor can politics, but neither should be considered an excuse for inaction. Recommendation: On domestic level, American politicians should reach out to Muslim communities in their home towns. There is a great need for trained Imams, particularly those who have an understanding of foreign languages and culture. Imams training should include an understanding of the US. American values are also Islamic values, including freedom of the press, religion and economy. 6.5 Suicide Bombing Branding Campaign (Scott Miller, Core Strategy Group [See article, page 16]; and Matthew Williams, Martin Agency) Matt Williams: Lessons learned from branding campaigns can provide insights into effort to discredit SB. A great brand is about creating meaning, but nothing will kill a bad product more quickly than a great ad. In other words, actions and words must coalesce in the strategy (inference was that US foreign

policy/ development assistance etc must complement discrediting SB strategy). All branding is local An analogous effort was the Truth anti-smoking campaign, in which negative feelings were attached to then-acceptable cool behavior. The goal in discrediting SB then should be to change the meaning of suicide bombing as achieving the opposite of the audiences motivation. We must change the meaning of the SB behavior from: A statement of devotion, to an affront to Islam. Catalyst for independence to proof of lack of readiness. Path to hero status to a sign of misguided extremism. Discussion: A theme that emerged during the question and answer period was whether the message should focus on countering religious arguments used to support SB, or on the criminality of the behavior. While no consensus was achieved, a common thought was that the US could address the criminality, but that a non-US 3PV would have to strip away the religious veneer of the SB argument. An ancillary piece of the campaign should be repositioning the death by SB brand for children, who dont understand death as anything but paradise. Are we inadvertently accepting Al Qaidas SB branding? Suicide bombing is depicted by the media as being the product of a failed US foreign policy, rather than a villains action. 7.0 Knowledge Harvesting Findings Mr. John Rendon, of The Rendon Group, conducted a series of interactive knowledge-based exchanges in which participants provided insight regarding strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the US in efforts to discredit suicide bombing and violent extremism, as well as deltas in the knowledge base of our understanding of suicide bombers and their tactics. Through this process, the group identified aspects of the phenomenon that enhanced the quality of breakout sessions on day two of the seminar. These exchanges helped

10

Fall 2007

foster group participation, a shared understanding of the problem set, and build the basis for consensus. 8.0 Information Activities Seminar facilitators collectively reviewed the information garnered at the seminar in order to expand on key IAs previously identified in seminars and discussed in breakout sessions. IAs include: goals, issues and obstacles, primary audiences, lines of operation (implementers), key assumptions, assessment methodology, and the way ahead. Ideology working group participants initiated a debate on whether the West is fighting an ideology, or not. There are multiple schools of thought leaning toward the conclusion that we are not fighting ideology. A second level of debate argues that the issue is not about faith or religion. Some felt that to truly identify proper goals and objectives, follow-on actions must answer a cascade of logical questions to establish the crux of the issues. IAs tended to cluster into several categories: Discrediting suicide bombing/ attacks as a tactic. Discrediting the ideological basis or religious basis for suicide bombing/ attacks. Al Qaidas or the Talibans use of suicide bombing/attacks to kill children and civilians, particularly Muslims. Re-brand extremists: replace image of martyrdom with sense of wasted potential or of being uncool [See article, page 16]. Empowerment and amplification of moderates through media and Internet. Sample IAs follow: 8.1 Discrediting Suicide Bombing/ Attacks as a Tactic Develop International Framework to make Suicide Bombing Universally Acknowledged to be Illegal, Immoral and a Violation of Human Rights. Just as there are non-proliferation treaties, environmental treaties, human rights treatiesthe US should work with the UN and other international organizations to develop a treaty and legal

framework whereby suicide bombing is codified as unacceptable worldwide not only morally but legally. Such a legal framework gives Arab states the justification they need to act. It allows the US to work through an international consolidated effort, instead of through direct pressure on Arab states. 8.2 Discrediting the Ideological Basis or Religious Basis for Suicide Bombing/Attacks Hold initial conference of moderate Islamic experts in the AOR focused on suicide bombings in Iraq; broadcast on television; amplify in regional, international media. Hold followon series of conferences focusing on regional centers. Need to host conferences in the virtual worldbut be careful of too much emphasis on USG sponsorship. Build a strategy based on/with clerics: Interfaith dialogue such as World Council of Religions for Peace (WCRP): largest international coalition of representatives from the worlds great religions dedicated to promoting peace. Human rights organizations: UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF); Global Commission for the Preservation of Sacred Sites (GCPSS): founded in conjunction with UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Monument Fund; function of this commission is to engage religious communities in securing sacred sites endangered by conflict and intolerance and restoring those damaged by war.

.0 Summary Participants identified and discussed the ways and means in crafting a coherent discrediting strategy, as well as friendly and adversary strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. They further identified informational requirements and shortfalls. Breakout groups crafted IAs focused on discrediting SB using ideological, media, and marketing schemas. Presentations focused on ongoing USG efforts that could or should be synchronized with IAs developed in the seminar. Dominant themes that emerged include: The strategy must alter the suicide bomber narrative, and the related religious/ideological arguments justifying the attacks. Portraying suicide bombers as criminals, or thugs, and their actions as criminal in nature, vice as part of jihad, are necessary campaign elements. Focusing on the human rights violation aspect of the attacks, particularly those involving children as either suicide bombers or victims, may achieve greater traction in international law. Viewing the discrediting SB challenge through the lens of marketing or advertising greatly enhanced the development of innovative options to counter it. Overt US involvement can and would be counter-productive. To be successful, the effort to discredit SB must come from within the affected communities.

11