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You are here: Home Research and Publications Publications Central Asian Series The Effectiveness of US Military Information Operations in Afghanistan 2001-2010: Why RAND missed the point
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The Effectiveness of US Military Information Operations in Afghanistan 2001-2010: Why RAND missed the point

(Major General (Ret’d) Andrew Mackay, Commander Steve Tatham PhD, Dr Lee Rowland) This paper challenges the findings of a 2012 RAND study into US Information Operations (IO) in Afghanistan. Whilst agreeing with RAND that if the overall IO mission in Afghanistan is defined as convincing most residents of contested areas to side decisively with the Afghan Government and its foreign allies against the Taliban insurgency then the US mission has failed, it fundamentally disagrees with RAND's conclusions and subsequent recommendations. As operations in Afghanistan draw to an end and critical eyes retrospectively examine the 13 year long mission it is vital that IO is not discredited; the paper finds its original intent laudable but argues its application has been very poor, based upon outdated and failed models of communication, an absence of intelligent customers and an over-reliance upon marketing and PR techniques which were never designed for conflictual societies.

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