Speaker: Lieber, P. (Joint Special Operations University (JSOU))
Date: 19 March 2019
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Paul Lieber (Joint Special Operations University (JSOU)) as a part of its SMA STRATCOM Speaker Series. To begin, Dr. Lieber defined strategic communication and described the components that it requires (sequencing, complimentary conduits, known primary and secondary audiences, an active selection of particular frames, and an ongoing assessment), as well as the characteristics that it must feature (tangible objectives, coordinated communication, designated POCs, SMEs on hand, documented guidelines or a plan, and familiarity with legal requirements). He then contrasted this definition with a description of what strategic competition isn’t. Dr. Lieber emphasized the importance of tying strategic communication and influence activities together. He also defined influence and outlined the components it requires (justification, audience segmentation, measures of effectiveness, external validity, and theoretical backing), as well as the characteristics it must feature (tangible objectives, a known end date, interventions [only as needed], SMEs and linguists on hand, documented guidelines or a plan, and familiarity with legal requirements). He then contrasted this definition with a description of what influence isn’t, as he did with strategic competition. To conclude, Dr. Lieber outlined a series of ideological and logistical challenges that US decision makers face with respect to strategic communication and influence campaigns. He also listed a variety of action items for these decision makers’ consideration.