Sunday, November 15, 2015

Information Operations (IO)

Why Include IO in the AWN Newsletter? In a counterinsurgency - which is what the Afghan government, Afghan security forces and coalition 'advisors' are engaged in - there are four main lines of effort that need resources, time, energy, money, and personnel: Security, Governance, Development and Information Operations. During our time in Vietnam the U.S. military hardly ever lost a tactical battle . . . yet we lost the war in the arena of public opinion. One just has to look at how the story on the U.S. air strike on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical facility in Kunduz City has taken over the headlines (at the expense of more positive news - such as the ANDSF successful counterattack in retaking the city from the Taliban) to appreciate the power of the media in a conflict. So  . . . in the interests of 'educating the counterinsurgent' engaged in the fight in Afghanistan various news articles and resources on IO are included within this newsletter and posted on the blog.

ISIS Winning the Narrative? Is the Islamic State beating the U.S. and other western nations in the 'Battle of the Internet"? One writer does not think so. Read "ISIS Is Not Winning the War of Ideas", The Atlantic, November 11, 2015.

Reviving the USIA? Do we need to bring back the United States Information Agency? One writer, Matthew Armstrong, says "No"! Read "No, We Do Not Need to Revive the U.S. Information Agency", War on the Rocks, November 12, 2015.

Social Media and Kidnapping. "Technological advances have transformed the dynamics of crime, including kidnapping and extortion." Social media has provided criminals and terrorists with a whole new pool of victims and sources of exploitable information. Read more in "Use of Social Media in Kidnapping and Extortion", KR Magazine, October 2, 2015.

ISIS Recruiting Online? How does ISIS acquire new recruits online and convince them to take action? See "How Terrorists recruit online (and how to stop it)",, November 9, 2015.

Pentagon Tightening Up on Email Utility. Everyone who ever had an Army Knowledge Online (AKO) account can understand the pain of the Army's bureaucracy. Just when you thought the government couldn't make itself less efficient and less user-friendly we get the news that links will no longer be tolerated in emails. Read "Pentagon purges HTML from .mil emails", FCW, November 12, 2015.

Social Media Specialist wanted for Resolute Support HQs. Want to be a troll? Can you spin the truth? Do you enjoy following Twitter (follow me on @AfghanWarBlog). Feel like living on a postage stamp sized post in the middle of Kabul with thousands of other Europeans? Can you do better than these guys - Apply at the link below:

The Life of a Troll Magnet. The story of a Finnish investigative journalist who brought the wrath of the Russian social media troll army upon herself. "My Year as a Pro-Russia Troll Magnet", Kioski,  November 9, 2015.

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