Over the past ten years, addressing what Strategic Communications is has been a challenge for the military community. It is at times referred to as a process, referred to in the context of the strategic level of war, and referred to in the context of anyone communicating at any level. The joint community has provided a definition of Strategic Communications and there has been a large amount of non-doctrinal discussions, but very little substance other than the recognition of the need to synchronize actions. Terms like inform, influence and persuade are referred to but have never been doctrinally defined leaving their interpretation up to each individual. This paper proposes a communication framework under which the military practitioner can visualize and verbalize intended cognitive effects desired upon a specified audience. It utilizes a modified version of John Boyd's OODA-Loop, combined with a classic communication model, in order to visually depict the cognitive process that occurs starting with the introduction of new information from one individual to the desired effect that is intended upon another. It also constructs a written format borrowing from the Field Artillery Task-Purpose-Method-Effect construct and applies the framework to three case studies. The cognitive model proposed meets the intent of the 2011 U.S. National Security Strategy, which calls for the better understanding of attitudes, opinions, grievances and concerns of others in order to develop better plans.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cognitive Battlefield: A Framework for Strategic Communications