Becoming the Enemy…and How Not To: Strategic Communications and the Challenges of the War on Terror


This opinion piece argues that there are lessons to be learned from past applications of Psychological Operations and Information Operations for the current practice of Strategic Communications.  The Information War on Terror is going so badly that something must be done.  Already longer than World War Two, western strategic communication directed towards the Arab and Muslim world has failed because the military, while being quite good at tactical operational propaganda, is not by itself equipped to work at the strategic or political level.  This is because western militaries regard information as a support tool.  For Al Qaida and the Taliban it is the main weapon.


Former Senior Director, Strategic Communication and Information, National Security Council, The White House
United States

Jeff Jones is a former Senior Director for Strategic Communication and Information at the National Security Council of The White House in Washington, to which he was appointed after 9/11. During his 30-year military career, he served as United States Defense Representative, Defense and Army Attaché in Paris (1998-2001). He commanded the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), U.S. Army and U.S. Special Operations Commands headquartered at Ft Bragg, North Carolina, from 1993 until 1995. Prior to brigade-level command, he served on the National Security Council during the previous Bush Administration from 1991 until 1993 as Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control. During this period, he authored the 1993 National Security Strategy of the United States, helped craft President Bush's nuclear arms control initiative, led White House support for the establishment of the George Marshall European Center for Security Studies, and developed peacekeeping initiatives for the United Nations, NATO, Somalia, Bosnia and Cambodia. During Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, Jones commanded the 8th Psychological Operations Task Force (Airborne).

Director of the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds

Dr. Phillip M. Taylor is Professor of International Communications and Director of the Institute of Communications Studies at the University of Leeds, UK. His books include War and the Media: Propaganda and Persuasion during the Gulf War (Manchester University Press,1992), Munitions of the Mind: a History of Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Present Day (Manchester University Press,1995), Global Communications, International Affairs and the Media since 1945 (Routledge, 1997) and British Propaganda in the 20th Century: Selling Democracy (Edinburgh University Press, 1999). He has lectured regularly to military educational establishments on both sides of the Atlantic, including at SHAPE, USAFSOC and at DISS and JSCSC (UK). He is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Information Warfare.

Journal of Information Warfare

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.

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The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.


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