The revolution in communication technologies has extended the reach of messaging into every day life more widely than ever before. Within the military context the growth of the information environment, or ‘Infosphere’, means that the battlefield is no longer confined to physical boundaries. This phenomenon provides both opportunities and threats. On the one hand, information dominance facilitates the development of solutions built on concepts such as ‘Soft Power’ or ‘Winning Hearts and Minds’ (WHAM) – concepts that appear to offer powerful alternatives to traditional kinetic options. Furthermore, achievement of objectives through persuasion techniques rather than coercion is attractive financially, politically and socially. However, inability to understand and take advantage of the information environment can lead to failures in perception management within critical target audiences both at home and in-theatre. Contemporary conflict is increasingly characterized by irregular warfare, and opponents that are weaker militarily will naturally seek alternative strategies. The importance of the information and influence domain makes this a natural choice and we should expect our opponents to increasingly exploit this to their advantage.
The key to mitigating the risks and optimizing the rewards of influence and information dominance lies in the understanding and implementation of a rigorous process of target audience research and analysis. Such a process must involve the social sciences (including fields such as sociology, psychology, anthropology) at the behavioral as well as attitudinal levels. This does not exclude kinetic solutions but does position full target audience profiling and analysis as the filter through which kinetic and non-kinetic decisions are made. SCL Defence is the market leader in the creation, implementation and evaluation of target audience projects for governments and military organizations worldwide. PSYOPS, Public Affairs, Information Operations, Target Audience Analysis, Social Intelligence and Strategic Communication are just some of the key areas in which we work. There are three reasons why we are the global leader in these fields: – We have created and developed a corpus of social science knowledge that has been applied within the operational environment as a unique attitudinal and behavioral methodology with proven success. – We have developed a global network of trained local researchers who have expertise in on-the-ground research and analysis projects, and who are available at very short notice. – We have unparalleled experience in research and analysis across the globe, with a particular emphasis on campaigns related to counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization and counter-narcotics.