The report on NATO's Strategic Communications concept and its relevance for France was commissioned by the French Ministry of Defence. It was based on a literature review and key informant semi-structured interviews carried out at NATO, in France and in the US between March and June 2010. The report has two contributions. First, it explains that the concept developed as a result of NATO's difficulty in gaining the support of the Afghan population, including due to the information technology revolution's effect on communications. The study then clarifies the concept's definition, its objectives, enabling conditions, scope and terminology; its resources; and its implications for NATO's command structure. Second, the study assesses the concept's relevance for France. It found that the President's office, the Elysée, already carries out a strategy for communications. Nonetheless various French officers, civil servants and experts believe France could improve the strategic impact of its communications in crisis situations. The research therefore argues the concept is indeed relevant to France, but in crisis situations. It then explores the way in which the concept could be implemented in France and appropriately resourced. It also discusses some of the limitations to the concept and the issues that reside around its terminology.
The research described in this report was prepared for the Joint Forces Centre for Concept Development, Doctrine and Experimentation, France (Centre interarmées de concepts, de doctrines et d'expérimentations, Etat-major des Armées, France) and was conducted by RAND Europe.
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