Research Proposal: Intelligence Best Support the Shaping

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¶ … intelligence best support the shaping of the information environment to decrease Taliban influence in Afghanistan?

Since the focus of Information Operations (IO) in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

consists primarily of influence operations, it proves critical to incorporate previously learned lessons to decrease Taliban influence in Afghanistan and ensure that past mistakes are not repeated.

Along with sheltering Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, a Sunni Islamist group which ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, prior to the American-led invasion ousting them, sheltered outlawed the education of women. "Since 2004, the predominantly Pashtun movement has re-emerged and mounted an insurgency against Western forces in Afghanistan and the country's government."

Recently, increasing international and domestic concerns have surfaced that Afghanistan may slide back into instability and chaos.

In addition, the Taliban's influence has spread in the frequently lawless northwestern Pakistan territories, beginning to supplant Afghanistan's hold over the cities and the countryside. This essay asserts that limiting the Taliban's manipulation of media outlets, distributing educational leaflets designed in "cartoon style," providing aid and support to the women in Afghanistan, along with the exertion of diplomatic pressure and aid to the Pakistani government can help counter the current, ominous Taliban influence.

At times, the Taliban has been successful during OEF, dominating the perception management market. Consequently, the Taliban's manipulation of media outlets diminished the legitimacy of U.S. And Allied operations.

The fact that the U.S. government did not promptly respond to the propaganda tactics further assisted the Taliban's ploy. During OEF, the Taliban managed to spread misinformation about alleged casualties and destruction the U.S. And Allied bombings caused. In reality, however, the Taliban's own regime staged and/or perpetrated a number of the reported events. Limiting the Taliban's manipulation of media outlets, such as Al-Jazeera, which spread propaganda aimed at influencing international opinion that would harm U.S. And Coalition efforts in Afghanistan, the researcher asserts would be one vital key for Intelligence to best support the shaping of the information environment to decrease Taliban influence in Afghanistan.

Due to the high rate of illiteracy in Afghanistan, utilizing printed handbills and leaflets, commonly used during Psychological Operations (PSYOP), would not likely promote the efforts to decrease Taliban influence in Afghanistan, as this medium produces little or no desired effect. Leaflets designed in "cartoon style," albeit prove to be most effective.

Proffering aid and support to the women in Afghanistan may prove effective in the efforts to "win hearts and minds" in the region, and negate the influence of the Taliban, known to be particularly oppressive of these women. Additionally, broadcasting a number of the Taliban's numerous human rights violations, especially as they pertain to women, will invite further reprisal and sanctions from the international community.

Countering the Afghan drug trade, a primary source of revenue for the Taliban, as well as numerous corrupt officials, and other insurrectionary groups operating in Afghanistan continues to challenge the country.

The Taliban's current partial shift of focus to concentrate on fighting the government in Pakistan constitutes yet more concerns for Afghanistan. This effort not only threatens the stability of the Pakistan government, it also provides an essential rear base for the Taliban's insurgency efforts in Afghanistan. To further compound the current crises, reports indicate that "Pakistan's military intelligence agency continued to offer money, supplies and guidance to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan as a proxy to help shape a friendly government there once U.S. forces leave."

As noted as This essay's start, the researcher contends that limiting the Taliban's manipulation of media outlets, distributing educational leaflets in easy to understand formats, and providing aid and support to the women in Afghanistan, along with exerting diplomatic pressure and aid to the Pakistani government can assist in countering the Taliban influence.

Essay #2: What are 1-2 information warfare lessons that Russia could seek to incorporate into its operations from its study of Israel/Hamas?

Israel's strategic policy concerning information operations, following the 2006 war with Lebanon

, aimed to silence opposition, while Israel simultaneously sought to increase its own propaganda efforts. Determined not to repeat mistakes of the past, Israel banned the majority of foreign journalists from entering Gaza. The few permitted to enter were embedded within the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). To further control the message(s) related, the Israeli Defense Forces regularly fed reports to the foreign journalists during the conflict. Although this effort helped maintain strong support for the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces within Israel, nevertheless, these actions merited numerous, unintended consequences. This essay purports that two information warfare lessons Russia could seek to incorporate into its operations from its study of Israel/Hamas include: 1) Failing to consider the impact of media, and 2) Neglecting to utilize the potential power contemporary media mediums proffer.

Based on its experience in Lebanon, in Israel's effort to overcome its perceived deficiencies, Israel failed to consider the impact of television networks, such as Al-Jazeera, or the widespread use of alternative media outlets. Yoni Ben-Menachem, the director-general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, stated: "The pictures coming out of Gaza are pictures of dead children and dead women."

In turn, this statement led the Israelis to realize this "alternative" message was sparking protest in the West, as well as in other Arab countries. To counter this effect, in hopes of maintaining legitimacy of their actions, Israel began a massive "grass-roots" propaganda effort of organizing people via email, Facebook, internet blogs, and text messages.

It may also be argued, however, that Hamas implemented similar propaganda tactics as well.

Two particular information operation lessons Russia could glean from the Israel/Hamas conflict, as foreshadowed previously include:

1. In the current "Information Age," controlling all media outlets in to "shape the message" proves virtually impossible, and

2. Alternative media outlets, such as YouTube, Twitter, blogs, etc., may serve to influence and help shape public perception.

Based on the events surrounding the recent Gaza War, one may argue that these alternative media outlets proved even more influential in shaping public perception than the traditional media outlets, such as CNN, BBC, and other western news agencies. Perhaps this could be attributed to the often one-dimensional reporting that accompanies a number of news reports; undermining the legitimacy of the channeled message. Contrary to particular programmed news productions, alternative media mediums appear "un-biased" as they are not controlled by Nation-states. They are instead, viewed as true reports from people on the ground, who do not possess any political agenda or motive. This perception of freedom from bias, albeit may not necessarily be true.

Russia could take the Israel/Hamas biased, and perhaps not as biased media "lessons learned" into consideration. Given Russia's strategic culture and prevalence of state control, the country may still learn significant information from Israel as it relates to the Gaza War. The Gaza War demonstrated that while the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) constitutes a powerful military entity, it cannot achieve all of their strategic objectives through military might alone. Russia's recent clash with Georgia over the disputed region of South Ossetia illustrated the fact that control over national media does not guarantee control over the narrative - at least in the international arena.

Additionally, Russia could benefit from noting, that in order to win in the long-term, one has to win the culture war wherein media propaganda and video games become strategically more significant.

Essay #3: How could the information environment-shaping capabilities (or, IO capabilities) of Hamas look in the future?

Recent history reveals that as technology improved, the monopoly nation-states previously employed and enjoyed utilizing information as an facet of power rapidly dissipate. Consequently, with the means to transmit information decreasing in size, and becoming faster, less expensive and, in turn, ubiquitous, individuals, as well as Non-State actors gained the capability to wield information as a "strategic, asymmetric weapon by very effectively leveraging new media capabilities."

In addition, the dearth of any bureaucratic structure further empowers individuals to nimbly respond to others, constituting "the antithesis of nation-state governments."

The absence of any governing control of the World Wide Web further allows an individual to present any positions and/or statements, regardless of their adherence to the truth, no matter the context; without regard to any moral or ethical foundation. This contemporary "freedom," the researcher contends will contribute to the information environment-shaping capabilities (or, IO capabilities) of Hamas look in the future to be as negative and/or threatening as it chooses to be.

Hamas, reported as a relatively radical faction, which Israel and the West regard as a terrorist group, share power in the Palestinian administration with the more moderate Fatah party. And each has its own security force. Fathi Hamad stresses in regard to what the children of this group view via the media: "We have our own ways to educate our children, and any criticism of this approach is shocking interference in our internal affairs."

The Information Age, according to plan the Hamas appears to hold, will not be permitted to freely touch its children.

Despite reservations regarding the Information Ages, as during the Industrial or Nuclear… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Intelligence Best Support the Shaping.  (2009, May 1).  Retrieved May 27, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/intelligence-best-support-shaping/53236

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"Intelligence Best Support the Shaping."  Essaytown.com.  May 1, 2009.  Accessed May 27, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/intelligence-best-support-shaping/53236.