We live in a world of citizen journalists, where every action or operation is witnessed, taped and reported, individual actions are amplified, and organizations face the challenge of strategic implication. In today’s flat world, a seemingly isolated interaction in the morning becomes fodder for bloggers immediately, appears on local television news by noon, and is international news by evening. Captain Hal Pittman, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Joint Communication)
But he didn’t mention any products for the domestic target audience.
Combating ideological support for terrorism poses a variety of daunting, new challenges for U.S. public diplomacy. Terrorists have shown themselves to be adept at exploiting the freedom of the Internet to spread their propaganda directly to young Muslims around the world. Our traditional communication tools are designed for mainstream media and have little impact in this new information ‘battlefield.’ Our audience stretches beyond the traditional opinion leaders and political elites to include the general public and specifically the youth who are the target of extremist propaganda. . . . we need to continue to develop new tactics to counter an elusive and decentralized non-state foe who uses the Internet and new technologies to spread its ideology of violence.
Our State-DoD sub-PCC explores ways to enhance our cooperation and develop shared communication strategies. Already in the works are initiatives on coordinated web hosting and content, video and blogging, a renewed effort to identify and find ways to empower credible Muslim voices, develop a shared image databank and strengthen the effectiveness of Military Information Support Teams (MIST) work in our overseas missions.
The Counterterrorism Communication Center
Under Secretary Hughes established the Counterterrorism Communication Center (CTCC) last summer to coordinate overall overt USG strategic communications messaging in the war of ideas and to produce and disseminate effective messaging to counter terrorist ideology, especially in the Arab and Muslim world but also in Europe and elsewhere.
The CTCC is a small but truly interagency organization, with staff currently drawn from the Department of State, Department of Defense, the National Counter Terrorism Center and the intelligence community. Working with State, DoD and other USG agencies, it produces strategic communications plans, develops effective narratives and themes to undermine and counter terrorist messaging, and produces specific messages for use by State and DoD communicators. It responds with talking points to breaking events and works closely with the Rapid Response Unit in the State Department’s Public Affairs Office to put out a daily anti-terrorism message. CTCC messages go to more than 2,000 key U.S. government communicators, including the Combatant Commands and all U.S. Embassies, who build on the themes and information in the messages, customizing them for local audiences in order to achieve the greatest impact. Our efforts focus on undermining and putting extremists on the defensive by exposing how terrorists recruit and exploit young people, destroy mosques and religious sites and murder women, children and innocent victims, such as the tragic events of last week that resulted in the deaths of 59 schoolboys, five teachers, police officers and other innocent adult bystanders in an effort to target members of the Afghan parliament, six of whom died in the attack.
The CTCC is intended to be a small, collaborative, interagency resource with a daily mission of providing the intellectual leadership necessary for countering terrorist ideology and extremist propaganda through coordinated messages. — Duncan MacInnes, Principal Deputy Coordinator, Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State
So the Counterterrorism Communication Center is responsible for counterpropaganda. Finally, an answer to the question I asked 18 months ago. They’ve maintained a pretty low profile to stay under my radar this long. Are they Smith-Mundt’ed out of the domestic audience? A google search brings up this lone reference to the CTCC. Maybe their products are released by others?
Somebody amongst my readership has some OSINT on CTCC.
Among the latest efforts is the Counterterrorism Communication Center (CTCC), set up in April 2007. In a memo, the CTCC says it “is an interagency office, housed within the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs. The center was set up to provide leadership and coordination for interagency efforts in the war of ideas, and to integrate and enhance the US government’s diverse public diplomacy counterterrorism efforts.”3
3. US Department of State, “Introducing the Counterterrorism Communication Center,” memo, 12 July 2007.