Inaugural Meeting of the NATO Military Committee Working Group on Strategic Communications
On 1 & 2 March 2018, the NATO International Military Staff hosted the first official Military Committee Working Group (MCWG) on Strategic Communications (StratCom). The 29 Allied Nations were invited to attend and share their perspectives on StratCom. They received briefings from senior military and civilian experts from the NATO International Military Staff, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, SHAPE and ACT as well from the Director of the StratCom Centre of Excellence and several Allied Nations. The Director General of the NATO International Military Staff (DGIMS), Lieutenant General Jan Broeks officially opened the meeting on 1st March.
Lieutenant General Jan Broeks, Director General of the NATO International Staff addressing the MCWG(StratCom)
Strategic Communications (StratCom) has in recent years taken on a more prominent role within the Alliance. With the changing security environment characterised by hybrid threats and technological developments, NATO and Allies have been implementing a coordinated and comprehensive approach to StratCom. The Military Committee Working Group (MCWG) is one of the latest developments in NATO StratCom. In recent years, NATO has seen the implementation of a NATO-wide Communications Strategy, the development of a NATO Brand Guide, the promulgation of StratCom Frameworks and more focused StratCom efforts regarding NATO’s operations, missions and activities. Nations have also seen the creation in January 2014 of the NATO StratCom Centre of Excellence, in Riga, which provides comprehensive analyses, timely advice and practical support to the Alliance in the field of StratCom.
More specifically, the MCWG will provide expertise, working capacity and advice on NATO StratCom to the NATO Military Committee and will be an interactive forum for Allies to help shape NATO’s direction and guidance on StratCom. “StratCom is an essential effort that supports effective deterrence of our adversaries and promotes the understanding of military actions by our populations and the populations in theatre”, highlighted Lieutenant General Jan Broeks, Director General of the NATO International Military Staff.
Group photo: Lieutenant General Jan Broeks, Director General of the NATO International Staff (Centre) and participants of the MCWG(StratCom)
Over the course of the meeting, participants received updates on the StratCom capabilities, i.e. Military Public Affairs (Mil PA), Information Operations (InfoOps) and Psychological Operations (PsyOps) as well as ongoing work strands such as Information Environment Assessment, enhanced Forward Presence and StratCom training and education opportunities.
Lieutenant General Jan Broeks concluded his address by stressing the requirement for a StratCom mind-set and strategic thinking, “we need to instil a mind-set whereby StratCom is the baseline consideration of all our activities rather than an afterthought”.