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What is Arming for the War We're In? The title is a play on a sentence from the Orlando Committee’s 1963 letter on Sen. Fulbright’s killing of the Freedom Academy bill in Congress. (See my The Past, Present, and Future of the War for Public Opinion from January 2017 or the longer and footnoted version that is my chapter “The Politics of Information Warfare in the US” found in Hybrid Conflicts and Information Warfare: New Labels, Old Politics from 2018 — email me and I’ll send you the chapter.) The original sentence remains, unfortunately, evergreen: “Someday this nation will recognize that global non-military conflict must be pursued with the same intensity and preparation as global military conflicts.”
This newsletter is an extension of the blogging I’ve been doing at mountainrunner.us since 2004. A little background on me. I previously served as a Governor on the formerly named Broadcasting Board of Governors, since renamed the US Agency for Global Media, was the executive director of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, previously served on the board of the Public Diplomacy Council, inducted into the Psychological Operations Regiment at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School as an Honorary Member, am on the advisory board for the Information Professionals Association, and am an adjunct lecturer with Joint Special Operations University. I’ve spoken at NATO conferences, US and other nations’ military colleges, and various information operations-related events. I’m presently in the final stages of a book on the history of the Smith-Mundt Act and will soon resume my PhD at King’s College London, Defense Studies Department. A more complete biography can be found here and a (mostly complete) list of publications and presentations can be found here.
Lastly, a picture I often used – for something more than a decade – to conclude too many presentations is below. It represents why I quit speaking at conferences, though to be honest I suspect some were tired of me pointing out the discussions were fundamentally about reacting while allowing, if not encouraging, our adversaries to set the time, tempo, method, and place of engagement. The picture is fundamentally an admonition that the absence of a strategic vision, let alone strategy, beyond “stop it,” makes us not too different than Alice at a fork in the road.