Military computer image by aleksandarlittlewolf via

The dynamism of today’s global information environment underscores an essential role of strategic communication for government agencies with international concerns, including the military. Although the U.S. Department of Defense established Cyber Command and encouraged the armed forces to expand their Information Operations capabilities, the military culture continues to look at the information domain as a sphere to influence only during hostilities. So what does information capability mean in this context? How should the efforts be aligned with the other agencies and partners?

Gregory M. Tomlin's new article in Military Review highlights the value of meaningful, face-to-face contact between U.S. military personnel and residents of foreign nations.

American and Cameroonian soldiers come from entirely separate parts of the world with distinct cultural differences. [...] a 101st Airborne Division-led unit based in northern Cameroon, built a basketball court with freshly painted lines and hoops weighed down by concrete blocks next to an active runway. They then invited Cameroon service members from the local area for a basketball game to help foster better cohesion.

The military’s work and diplomacy may seem to be polar opposites, but the reality is the two are closely linked. There is more to military service than fighting wars and today’s military professionals are actively engaged in public diplomacy every day.

On the U.S. Military's public diplomacy activities. 

Consequently, the government must be wary of the erosion of public diplomacy gains if Kenyan soldiers are perceived negatively. There should be a recognition that any negative profiling of Somalis will undermine the success of the incursion. Kenya should support Somalia without compromising its long-term relations with the country.

September 3, 2011

The youth here dislike the armed forces. They are confused and susceptible to being radicalised. Unemployment level is high. It is a challenge dealing with them and that is why we are focusing on the soft power aspect. We have held interactions with students from Kashmir University and are now tapping into the National Cadet Corps, sensitising them.