Friday, May 16, 2014

UK Merge of All Influence Activities – Portent For US?

The PSYOP Linkedin Group posted a link to IO Global (, a commercial site promoting their June 2014 Conference.

The link features this quote: “May 2014
The UK military's communications strategy is in the process of a shakeup. Where before there existed two ‘universes’ – that of IO and psyops, and that of public relations, media ops and marketing – the emerging tactic is now in bridging the gap to better coordinate a full spectrum approach to Ministry of Defence communications. As Stephen Jolly, the Director of Defence Communications, tells Defence IQ, such a move should see benefits to all aspects of MOD functions, from recruitment to operations, but it carries the need for a complex adjustment and one that other nations may see as controversial...”

While a more cynical person than I might think this is merely a shameless way to, as the Brits are wont to say, “flog their conference”. The notion is one worthy of consideration this week.

I have had the pleasure of working in each of the named disciplines at one time or another. We all would agree that there are indeed some common skills: operational planning, writing, on-line/social media savvy, video and still photography, etc., the nature of the two worlds couldn’t be more different.

If perhaps one channel were kept strictly military oriented and the other pegged toward commercial media and commercial-like tasks such as recruiting, perhaps there is some merit.

From a Public Affairs perspective, credibility and reputation is everything. This is especially true in a conflict environment when the media may be non-existent or evolving and where the media has historically been state controlled.

The other aspect here is of course the international media and the US domestic media. Experienced journalists would likely view the marriage of PSYOP (MISO) and PAO as useful as creating the perfect kosher pork chop.

A bit of research on Mr. Jolly the source (see: reveals that we was “a black propaganda expert at the University of Cambridge” and appointed as director of media and comms at the MoD in April 2013.

Perhaps this blend of skills in Mr. Jolly’s background was coincidental or perhaps he was put in that position to help orchestrate the merger in the first place.


Anonymous said...

You say, "From a Public Affairs perspective, credibility and reputation is everything." Like the same isn't true from a MISO/PSYOP perspective? Credibility is a pillar of ALL persuasive communication.

Lawrence Dietz said...

@Anon - I was not meaning to exclude credibility as a crucial element in any discipline. However, much of MISO credibility is face to face while much of PAO credibility is via innuendo. The mere fact that someone is from the military may hamper their credibility with civilian media. Our domestic media in particular loves to imply all sorts of negativity when MISO and the media are linked in any way.