Today’s New York Times includes an article about an essay written by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that is centered around how the U.S. communicates to the Muslim world.
“To put it simply, we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate,” Admiral Mullen wrote in the critique, an essay to be published Friday by Joint Force Quarterly, an official military journal.
“I would argue that most strategic communication problems are not communication problems at all,” he wrote. “They are policy and execution problems. Each time we fail to live up to our values or don’t follow up on a promise, we look more and more like the arrogant Americans the enemy claims we are.”
Admiral Mullen did not single out specific government communications programs for criticism, but wrote that “there has been a certain arrogance to our ‘strat comm’ efforts.” He wrote that “good communications runs both ways.”
“It’s not about telling our story,” he stated. “We must also be better listeners.”