By German 2nd Lt. Andre Schroeder
GCMC Public Affairs
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – The importance of information in war and peace served as the foundation for a talk offered by the U.S. Navy’s vice chief of information here July 23.
Rear Admiral Kenneth J. Braithwaite visited the Marshall Center July 23 following a visit to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe in Brussels, Belgium, and the NATO School in Oberammergau.
After an orientation, he spent the afternoon at the Marshall Center, where he offered a presentation for staff and faculty members, speaking about the importance of today’s information policy and its impacts on the battlespace.
“Today, the wars that we find ourselves as a nation involved in are ones where we are hoping to make a difference through the people in that region,” he said. “In so doing, communicating our intent and why we are there is paramount to the success of that operation.”
Concerning the conflict in Afghanistan, Admiral Braithwaite said he considers communicating to the Afghan people a prerequisite for the success of the mission at the Hindu Kusch.
Strategic communication is the basis to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghans. Admiral Braithwaite said the challenge is “the intent and the messaging and then the action have to be in synchronization with one another.”
Servicemembers, either American or from coalition forces, have to be strategic communicators, he said.
Once they talk to members of a community or tribe in a remote region they “maybe are the only soldiers that such a person ever interacts with. That will be a big part of the impression and perception that individual has to tell others in that community,” the admiral said.
Admiral Braithwaite said that strategic communication may contribute to trust and credibility within the Afghani people. The results can be seen, he said, once the international forces win more Afghans as multipliers for the objectives of the own initiative.