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Behavioural Conflict Blog

Why Understanding People And Their Motivations Will Prove Decisive In Future Conflict

A book by General Andrew Mackay, Commander Steve Tatham & Dr Lee Rowland

A Christmas campaign is coaxing Colombian rebels out of the jungle. An excellent example of how understanding your audience can lead to behavioural change in even the most difficult environments.

A remarkable man.10;Amidst the sadness of his loss and the solemnity of his funeral I could not help but smile at the comments of the former British Ambassador to South Africa who worked with Mandela when he was released from prison.  10;He recalled that the great man spent so long with Margaret Thatcher, his nemesis, during his first visit to Downing Street that the press corps assembled outside began singing ‘Free Nelson Mandela’. 10;Thank god for humour and thank go for such inspirational people as Nelson Mandela.

A remarkable man.

Amidst the sadness of his loss and the solemnity of his funeral I could not help but smile at the comments of the former British Ambassador to South Africa who worked with Mandela when he was released from prison.  

He recalled that the great man spent so long with Margaret Thatcher, his nemesis, during his first visit to Downing Street that the press corps assembled outside began singing ‘Free Nelson Mandela’. 

Thank god for humour and thank go for such inspirational people as Nelson Mandela.

My name is Jim and I work the US Marine Corps Information Operations Center as a Government Civilian. Between uniform time, times as a defense contractor, and now a GS I have about 14 years of continuous service in the IO field. I enjoy it because there is always something new too learn. For TAA, let's use the US military definition.

Asked by r1v3c5

r1v3c5:

behavioural-conflict:

So Jim, thanks for your question.  Today [almost] everyone agrees that before you can communicate you need to understand your audience. TAA - Target Audience Analysis - is the vehicle to do that but does TAA really mean?  

Does it mean understanding the audience from an Internet terminal in London, probably through data translated into english?  If that is TAA (and some people claim that they do TAA like that) its not going to be very helpful. I call it ‘Assumed TAA’; it gives you a flavour and you assume the rest from it.  Or is TAA about military guys and girls using open and closed data such as patrol reports, shura meetings and the like and getting people’s opinions. Thats also a valid definition for TAA - I call it 'Informed TAA' because we are essentially using people’s opinions and views to inform our thinking.  Or, is TAA about understanding the psyche of human behaviour?  Of researching in the host language, of forming an hypothesis, of testing that hypothesis against behaviour  theories and from that coming up with influence interventions?  That is also TAA and I call it ‘Deduced TAA’.

So who can do it?  Assumed TAA by anyone; Informed TAA by people on the ground with access, such as MISO analysts and Human Terrain Teams. But deduced TAA?  No, no one in your government or mine has the ability to do that.  

Who should do it?  Who needs the output?  I would suggest that a proper deduction based TAA capability should be a central pillar for strategy making across government departments - State, DoD, USAiD in the US and the FCO, the MoD and DFiD here in the UK.

Interesting, thank you.  Have you ever discussed a format for a TAA or the basics of what it would consist of?  I believe there is a science and art to it.  The science being a type of format or set of basic questions, where art is trying to figure it all out.  Especially the cognitive reactions of an audience.  US Army MISO has a formal 8 step process but I am not sure that really works.

Absolutely and I would be happy to share an example it with you but it needs to be via a proper  military email address. If you send your military email address to behavioural This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I will send you a copy. Regards for the holiday season.

Posted on in General Posts
US 'propaganda' in trouble ... again?

 

Yet another negative story about US military IO and Strat Comm programmes.  The real tragedy of all of this is that there is now a real chance that Congress may ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’ - cancel all funding rather than just insist that smarter and cheaper campaigns be used.

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