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Military

Chapter 2
Command and Control in a Counterinsurgency Environment

SECTION VIII OTHER PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS PLANNING FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MEDIA TEAMS

PLANNING FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MEDIA TEAMS

2-80. Counterinsurgency is a war of ideas and is punctuated by moves and counters based on flexible and agile thinking and calculation. Yet, if counterinsurgency is predicated on ideas and thinking, then influence over the medium that most easily and effectively gains access to and influences ideas, thinking, and those related processes would seem to be essential. This medium is the information network, the media--print and broadcast. The media is a source of a large portion of the information a population receives and can greatly influence their collective thinking. The media have access to government leaders, decision makers, the public in most nations, and our own Soldiers to influence and shape opinions. The media is neither friend nor enemy. It is a tool to create effects and conditions in which counterinsurgency operations are successful. However, adversaries may use it directly and indirectly against those same operations. Planning for all exigencies must include the media.

2-81. The media, print and broadcast (radio, television and the Internet), play a vital role in societies involved in a counterinsurgency. Members of the media have a significant influence and shaping impact on political direction, national security objectives, and policy and national will. The media is a factor in military operations. It is their right and obligation to report to their respective audiences on the use of military force. They demand logistic support and access to military operations while refusing to be controlled. Their desire for immediate footage and on-the-spot coverage of events, and the increasing contact with units and Soldiers (for example, with embedded reporters) require commanders and public affairs officers to provide guidance to leaders and Soldiers on media relations. However, military planners must provide and enforce ground rules to the media to ensure operations security. Public affairs offices plan for daily briefings and a special briefing after each significant event because the media affect and influence each potential target audience external and internal to the AO. Speaking with the media in a forward-deployed area is an opportunity to explain what our organizations and efforts have accomplished.

USE OF INTERPRETERS

2-82. In conventional operations, Soldiers rarely have the need for interpreters. During counterinsurgency, there are occasions when Soldiers lack the linguistic ability to communicate personally and effectively with the local populace. The use of interpreters is often the best or only option. The proper use and supervision of interpreters can play a decisive role in the mission. Leaders plan for the use of interpreters and their integration into tactical units when necessary. (See Appendix B.)



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