Strategic Communications (StratCom) has emerged as a progressively important field of NATO endeavour in recent years. Nowadays, all aspects of NATO activities have a critical communication and information component. As emphasized by Mr Laity, it should be a fully integrated part of the overall political-military effort and, therefore, successfully contribute to the primary purpose of the Alliance – strengthening the transatlantic order built upon the democratic values that have been defining NATO for almost 70 years.
You need to have credibility. You need to be value based.
"Effective communication is becoming more and more central to achieving our aims. People need to be informed what we are doing. Unless we explain it well, they are not going to support us." – Mr Laity said – "It starts with recognizing who you are, what you are saying, and making sure you are aligning your words and your actions. You need to have credibility. You need to be value based."
Mr Mark F. Laity, Director SHAPE Communications Division, visited Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast (HQ MNC NE).
The predominant objective of NATO Strategic Communications is to ensure that NATO's audiences, either friendly or adversarial, receive truthful and timely information that will allow them to understand the Alliance's intentions.
Today, given the variety of the new communication channels and techniques, this task has become multidimensional. As the world has changed a great deal since NATO was established, the realities of information warfare should be acknowledged and of concern.
"Effective communication is becoming more and more central to achieving our aims. People need to be informed what we are doing. Unless we explain it well, they are not going to support us." – Mr Laity said.
"We have seen how the Russians have used information as a kind of weapon to misinform. They used it in places like Crimea to hide what they were really doing. To them, communication is fundamental to their activities. We must see it as similarly important but we must not use the same methods. We must use it as a reflection of our values." – Mr Laity summarized.
Altogether, accurate and well-timed information – be it on social media or elsewhere – help NATO succeed in extending security and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic region.