With Gen. Stanley McChrystal's report to President Obama on Afghanistan dominating the news today, an Army solicitation for an Afghanistan marketing plan -- also issued today -- has caught our eye. The Army is looking for an Afghan company to carry out a media and advertising campaign “to influence the Afghanistan people at all levels (strategic, operational and tactical) and which will directly translate in the reduction of the number of ((improvised explosive devices)) used against the Afghanistan people and coalition forces," the solicitation states.
According to the notice, here's the situation the Afghan people and McChrystal's forces face:
Foreign terrorists, religious extremists, and militant militia continue to use increasingly sophisticated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) as a weapon of choice against the Afghanistan populace, Afghanistan Security Forces and Coalition Forces – causing casualties among both the civilian and military populaces. As a result, the Coalition Forces are collaborating to produce a comprehensive marketing and information campaign for Regional Commander East RC(E) which will be designed and produced by the contractor chosen for award under this solicitation, and will be in coordination with the strategic information goals of the RC(E).
The Army wants the company chosen to produce 12 conceptual campaigns during a given year. These campaigns -- covering security, nation development and governance issues -- are to use television and radio advertising, billboards or other outside media, and newspaper ads.
The Afghan company will be signed to a one-year contract. At the end of that year, if the marketing campaign is successful, the Afghan people will recognize an atmosphere of security and one in which the Afghan security forces can transition into the lead, the solicitation asserts.
-- Thomas Duffy