Kill, Capture … or Neutralize? How Operational Planning Changes the Language of Communicating War

ABSTRACT

The doctrine of warfare influences the way language is used. The reporting of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate that the effects-centric doctrines have started to transform the grammatical and lexical patterning of discourse. During the war in Iraq, both military experts and linguists have criticized the language of the Effects-Based Operations as complex and confusing. This article provides a cross-disciplinary perspective of the study of war discourses by discussing the linguistic characteristics of 21st century Strategic Communication as a reflection of current military doctrine and operation planning. The analysis suggests that the perceived complexity is a consequence of Effects-thinking, which has introduced the taxonomy of Effects into discourse, where they have begun to replace Action descriptions in clauses. The resulting abstract descriptions of strategy, operational art, and tactics means the information value of the clause becomes impaired. The analysis also suggests that this marks the birth of a new genre in war discourse.


AUTHORS

Photo of Saara Jantunen

Doctrine Division, Finnish Defence Forces Research Agency

Saara Jantunen holds a Master's degree in English language and culture and a PhD in military science. Her research interests include communication concepts and doctrine and the semiotics of war. Currently, she works as a researcher for the Finnish Defence Forces.

Journal of Information Warfare

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Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

D

DNS
DoD
DoS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

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