Response to “Why RAND Missed the Point”

Note from the editor: After posting the paper, “Why RAND Missed the Point” we provided the original author the opportunity to respond to that paper. This will help provide a more complete picture of the overall topic and debate. We encourage comments and both papers to round out the entire picture from all sides.

Why RAND Missed the PointIn their paper, “Why RAND Missed the Point,” [Click on Cover to go to this paper] Major General Andrew Mackay, Commander Steve Tatham and Dr. Lee Rowland criticize the methods, conclusions and recommendations of the RAND publication, U.S. Military Information Operations in Afghanistan: Effectiveness of Psychological Operations 2001-2010. 1 They also criticize a 2007 RAND report, Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theatres of Operation.2 Their paper, which this response will refer to hereafter as “the critique,” raises several important issues which merit further discussion.3 An exchange of differing views concerning this multi-faceted topic should benefit those charged with planning, implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of Information Operations (IO) and Psychological Operations (PSYOP) – the latter redefined since the research was completed by the Department of Defense as Military Information Support Operations (MISO). Underlying the differences of opinion to be discussed in this response is a common assumption that IO and PSYOP do need to adapt more effectively to the Afghan environment and can be improved to more effectively accomplish missions in future operating environments…

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