Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Calls for End of Arrogance in Communications


Since the Pentagon ended its contract with the Rendon Group over the weekend, the controversy over the profiling of embedded journalists in Afghanistan has cooled a bit, with the exception of an editorial in the New York Times.

Much bigger sh*& is hitting the fan in Afghanistan right now, ironically as Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen’s essay in the new Joint Forces Quarterly calls for a strat comm approach that fosters credibility:

“We need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate. What we need more than anything is credibility.”

[PDF of “Strategic Communication: Getting Back to Basics” is available here]

It’s interesting that Mullen likely wrote the piece months ago, and it reads as if it’s addressing the Rendon and Wackenhut scandals today: “The irony is we should know better”.

Stars & Strips covered Mullen’s essay in a piece about the possibility for transparency, quoting social media expert Geoff Livingston on the pros and cons. There are obvious security reasons to consider, though he concludes, “if you have an overemphasis on controlling the message, you can lose its impact.”

Mullen does have a Twitter feed and a robust Facebook Fan page with plenty of positive messages, though neither address the problem with Rendon.

Related: Pentagon Cancels Rendon Contract Over Profiling Flap

Journalist Obtains His Own “Rendon Report”