***EDIT: it has now been officially announced that Article V has been triggered by NATO, after I previously reported it on this blog. This is a far cry from this morning’s JFC media press conference which sought to ‘reassure’ the public by downplaying the tensions in Bornholm. This episode neatly illustrates the danger of the use strategic narratives (discussed below) during times of crisis. In this case, rather than acting as a source of reassurance, strategic narratives only sought create confusion and resentment between military commanders and the public, in an environment where they could clearly see that tensions where escalating***
This morning I was fortunate enough to attend a press conference given by the United Kingdom’s ‘Joint Forces Command’ to discuss the ongoing situation in Bornholm. Led by Primary Spokesperson, Laura Shipp the conference came before the news announcing the activation of NATO’s Article 5. Rather than providing information, the press conference was rife with double-speak and incoherency, and rather than providing any actually information the press conference only increased the confusion surrounding the increasing tensions by peddling platitudes about the need for ‘reassurance’.
The experience reminded me of my own time in the army, where I attended countless numbers of similar briefing events in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than anything, these experiences have taught me of the dangerous use of strategic narratives by military personnel in their attempts to shape the media landscape during times of crisis. As regular readers of this blog will know, narratives are often self-serving, anti-democratic and fundamentally undermine the public trust in this country’s brave armed forces. By ignoring the situation on the ground and spreading false-truths, strategic narratives create an environment of distrust between the media and the public. The military is meant to act in the name of this country’s citizens. Instead, the use of strategic narratives means that the public is unable to hold military officials to account when it is most important to do so. In this information age, the line that strategic narratives are necessary for security is frankly laughable given the wealth of information available online and on social media.
Be assured loyal readers, I am committed to wading through the obfuscation and distraction of strategic narratives to give you the honest, inside account of the Bronholm situation as it happens.
News to follow.