Waging Public Relations: A Cornerstone of Fourth-Generation Warfare

ABSTRACT

This paper examines one of the least-understood elements of Information Operations – public affairs. Rather than focusing, however, on traditional military approach to public affairs, it examines how corporations have embraced public relations during the past decade, aggressively pursuing positive coverage that helps win consumer hearts and minds. This article will outline the basic PR techniques and tactics that have been employed in the business world over the past decade. It will show how companies develop messages and marketing plans; evaluate audiences; and disseminate these messages. And it will show how Information Warriors can rapidly and successfully adapt these techniques to an I/O environment. The paper will also outline methods for applying these consumer PR techniques in an IO environment. Most elements of Information Operations doctrine have come a long way in the past ten years, both as a theoretical science and as a practical exercise. 

Pubic affairs, however, has lagged behind other IO disciplines and there continues to be a cloud of fear, uncertainty and doubt among many in the armed services when it comes to working with the media. Yet little more than a decade ago, the same situation existed in the corporate world. Corporate leaders were convinced that reporters were simply ‘out to get them’ and would report only bad news. Corporate public relations professionals were instructed to keep companies out of the news and, therefore, out of trouble. Yet this all changed in the past few years as communications professionals took an aggressive outbound approach to media relations, turning PR from support function into a strategic weapon that helped companies establish a positive brand, presence and consumer mindshare. This paper shows how corporate PR techniques, when applied in a war-fighting environment, can be as effective as tanks and rifles. Whether you call it ‘perception management’ or ‘marketing’, ‘truth projection’ or ‘spin-doctoring’, these are key elements of IO and a cornerstone of 4th generation warfare.


AUTHORS

Qovia, Inc

R. Pierce Reid was one of the first public relations professionals involved in the Internet and was one of the pioneers in applying consumer PR techniques to high-tech and industrial products. Reid began his interest in Information Operations and Psychological Warfare while pursuing an advanced degree in Studies of the Future. He has since lectured on the topic of applying proven business media relations techniques to the Information Operations environment. He has been a speaker at InfoWarCon and was Master of Ceremonies for the Norwich University InfoOps 2000 Conference. He currently runs a PR consulting firm based in Vermont and is working to expand his IO practice,.

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Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

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