Latvia has entrusted the study of information and psychological operations NATO
Material posted: Publication date: 31-05-2013

Military-political leadership of the North Atlantic Alliance continues to expand the geography learning centers of excellence in various fields. Moreover, arise not only in the interest of responding to potential threats, the development of armed forces and types of combat support, but also for research and testing of active forms and methods of influence. Young members of the NATO in this case become the test bed for the improvement of relevant mechanisms and technologies, in return for additional funding from the Alliance, as well as branding dividends.

Good example here are the plans of the Ministry of defence of Latvia on the establishment on the territory of the country research center of excellence of NATO for strategic communication. Currently, the military Department has begun to develop the concept of operation of the new structure, the definition of the list of her tasks and how to interact with other research institutions of the Alliance. By experience, the process of accreditation a center can take about a year, the final decision should be made by Council.

It should be noted that previously specialized NATO centres appeared in Estonia in the field of cyber security, and also Lithuania's energy security. Their establishment, respectively, was due to a sharp increase in the number of cyber attacks on the objects of information and telecommunication infrastructure of countries-members of NATO, and in order to reduce the dependence of European States on Russian energy supplies.

In conditions when countries have got structures of the Alliance in their territories and have certain dividends from their functioning, the desire of Latvia to receive their own "specialization" within NATO, it would seem, must be considered logical and appropriate. However, it is difficult to find the threats in the region for Latvia, on parry which will focus the efforts of the new center. Quite the contrary – his actions will have a pronounced offensive nature.

In favor of this conclusion are the views of the NATO leadership and representatives of the expert community on the essence of the term "strategic communication". Under them in the Alliance is taken to mean a set of actions in the field of public diplomacy, public relations, and information and psychological operations aimed at supporting the current activities of the management bodies of allied forces at all levels, including when carrying out crisis response operations.

According to some foreign experts, strategic communications are continuously working system of public institutions and information channels, is able if necessary to mobilize the appropriate forces to carry out propaganda operations or full-scale information campaigns anywhere in the world. One of the main goals of subjects of strategic communication is to convince the target audience that NATO is open and transparent in their actions, efficient, cohesive and vital organization, without which the security of the world is impossible.

Currently the leadership of the Alliance developed an extensive regulatory and methodological framework on civil / military cooperation, conducting information and psychological operations. By the end of 2013 it is expected the emergence of a Doctrine of strategic communications. However, currently available instruments and techniques in this field are behind the development of modern information technology, primarily applicable to cyberspace. In this regard, we actively develop rules for the use of social media for strategic communication NATO. In addition, existing solutions do not fully reflect the range of new challenges facing the Alliance in Eastern Europe.

For example, in recent years, dramatically increased the number of activities of operational and combat training of NATO in Poland and the Baltic States in the interests of planning and conducting strategic offensive operations of the Alliance to the East. And these actions should be provided in the information-psychological sphere: from the formation of the desired public opinion through the media and propaganda among the local population to conduct cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure of the state and electoral influence on the decision-makers.

These problems, including improving the theory of matter, and will soon solve the Latvian NATO center for strategic communications. Moreover, as indicated by the representatives of the Alliance, in this area there are a number of problems. In particular, insufficient attention when carrying out information operations is given to the impact on the global community (especially on the population of member States of the Alliance) in the interest of justification for the NATO participation in the resolution of those or other crisis situations. Proof of this are the data that the operation in Afghanistan was supported by only about 50% of US citizens, 35% British, 30% French and 25% German. Simultaneously, more than 60% of Germans, 35% of French and 40% English people supported the withdrawal of their troops from the ISAF mission.

Thus, in the structure of NATO the Latvian territory will have another research centre of excellence in the field of strategic communications. Its creation and subsequent operation, of course, should alert the military and political leadership of Belarus and Russia, because near the borders of the Union state will be preparing and conducting intensive activities in information-psychological sphere. The experience of wars and military conflicts of the last decades teaches us that, as a rule, the following steps precede the power phase of the operation.

On the other hand, Moscow and Minsk is high time to leave "shadows" in the information and psychological operations, boldly to declare the planned establishment of kiberprestupniki not only to protect but also the impact. Although in peacetime the military in Russia and Belarus is real and not involved in the operations of crisis management, but the questions of information support of the activities of the armed forces of the two countries, the functioning of the regional grouping of troops (forces), as well as information support of actions of the Collective rapid response forces CSTO, must be carefully designed and theoretically and practically. Setting up joint structures in this area, including national centers under the auspices of the interstate integration associations can be used to solve existing problems.

Our reference

The concept of centres of excellence NATO was approved in late 2003. These organizations had the role of think tanks and major source of expertise in a particular field of activity of the Alliance.
At no time was established and accredited in NATO, the first such structure: in 2005 the center of excellence air operations (Germany), in 2006-m – on defence against terrorism (Turkey).
Currently within the Alliance besides the above stated there are about twenty centres of excellence: in the field of military medicine (Hungary), on action in confined waters and in shallow water, engineering support (Germany), Maritime operations (USA), in the field of explosive ordnance disposal (Slovakia), operations in low temperatures (Norway), in the field of countering improvised explosive devices (Spain), in the field of protection against nuclear, chemical and biological weapons (Czech Republic) etc. Three of them in the area of application of the military police (Poland), for combat operations in mountainous areas (Slovenia) and in the area of combat operations simulation (Italy) – pass the procedure of accreditation.
Specialization of individual countries-members of NATO on different areas of training and functioning of the reunified armed forces of the Alliance is a well established practice. The study centers of excellence do not duplicate each other. Coordination of their activities engaged in the main command transformation NATO in Norfolk (Virginia, USA).
Dmitry Aleshkevich


Tags: assessment , NATO , forecasts , information war