CSC Director Steve Corman addressed the 5th NATO SHAPE Strategic Communication conference on June 21st in Izmir, Turhey. The conference gathered over 140 practitioners from NATO member countries. The conference featured a keynote address by Gen. John Allen, commander of ISAF in Afghanistan.
Narrative was a prominent theme at the conference, and Corman was invited to share insights from the CSC’s work on narrative applied both to NATO and extremist groups. He discussed narrative problems associated with the disappearance in the 1990s of NATO’s conflict with the former Soviet Union, and the need to replace this with a new core conflict that would unite member countries without being so generic as to dilute the Alliance’s brand.
He also discussed the narrative advantages of Islamist extremist groups, particularly their access to a set of master narratives that gives their strategic communication integration and impact. He discussed the importance of the deliverance story form in extremist narrative, and some principles for undermining it.