Feb 14, 2012

LTC. Davis' (U) Report Published in RS

While we were otherwise distracted during our annual SMC-Con at Trump's swanky SoHo tower, the entire unclassified version of LTC Davis' Afghanistan report (84 page PDF) was published in Rolling Stone along with an accompanying piece by Michael Hastings (the correspondent that broke the Bud Light Lime story).

Lots of IO stuff in LTC Davis's report.

 As COL Leap never even considered the American public’s support of the war might have been waning as a direct result of what was physically happening on the battlefield, General Baker likewise fails even to address in his article that the information operations – conceptually a perfectly legitimate and useful tool – must be tied strictly to effective actions on the ground.  It is noteworthy that nowhere in the multi-page essay did the General address, even in passing, that the IO plan is worthless if it does not accurately support the actions and conditions on the ground.  Instead, he emphasizes this to Army troops:

For years, commercial advertisers have based their advertisement strategies on the premise that there is a positive correlation between the number of times a consumer is exposed to product advertisement and that consumer’s inclination to sample the new product.  The very same principle applies to how we influence our target audiences when we conduct COIN.

It is remarkable to consider that a senior ranking officer in the United States Army emphatically suggests that standard marketing strategies are the “very same” for combat operations, and yet it is also very telling.  In explaining why a certain operation run by the 1st Armored Division was successful, he cited exclusively the actions the IO staff undertook, implying the actions of the combat troops had either little or no real impact on their success.

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