379 Felipe Santos Rodríguez Strategic communication in modern conflicts : Afganistan 48 nations that suffers job rotations every six months. “Every nation has its communication priorities, so our message is much vaguer”.56 3.3. The Strategic communication (StratCom) of McChrystal and Petraeus General McChrystal dedicates in his report on Afghanistan August 2009, a complete appendix on strategic communication as a fundamental part of the operational planning. In total, six pages that breakdown a specific strategy to win “the important battle of perception.” Strategic communication (StratCom) provides a vital contribution to the joint effort, and more specifically, to the center of gravity of the operations: its continued support to the Afghan people (...) The main effort consists in maintaining and strengthening the positive perception of the Afghan population on its government institutions and the constructive role played by ISAF as well as the international community.57 Alongside the Comprehensive Approach, strategic communication was incorporated as part of the new NATO Strategic Concept adopted in 2010. Working for an “Effective Strategic Communication” it has been incorporated as an approach of the Alliance, just as Lindley-French had ventured before the Lisbon summit: NATO needs a public diplomatic effort in support of its strategic communication that goes beyond the structures and is adequately connected with all its planning and command processes. Strategic communication effectively explains why the actions are necessary. An effective policy of targeting should always be able to justify such actions, in terms of its mission and public opinion. A wide enquiry of the policy with key civilian partners, a broader understanding of what it supposes the objective of strategic communication to be over (friends and enemies) and a communication strategy that places all its actions on a broad context helps to synchronize efforts amongst its partners.58 The objectives laid out by McChrystal on strategic communication in Afghanistan were: • To discredit and diminish the insurgents ability and those of their extremist allies in influencing the attitudes and behavior of the Afghan people. • To assist the Government and the people in developing a sense of ownership and responsibility to counter the violent extremism and improve its security, 56 LAITY, M. “Power of Information”. Interviewed conducted by Three Swords, Joint Warfare Centre, OTAN, Autumn/Winter of 2011, nº 21. 57 NATO ISAF COMMANDER, Comisaf ’s Initial Assessment. 30th of August , p. D.1 y D.2. 58 LINDLEY-FRENCH, J. Operationalizing the Comprehensive Approach. Atlantic Council, Issue Brief, 2010, p. 4.
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