American Strategic Communication in Iraq: The “Rapid Reaction Media Team”

James Pamment 1 *
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1 Stockholm University, Sweden
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 1-18.
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The purpose of this paper is to interpret an American military media strategy designed for the Iraq war from a perspective drawing on recent theoretical discussions of space and time. The material consists of a short white paper that was declassified under the Freedom of Information Act and published by the NSA in 2007. It outlines a ‘Rapid Reaction Media Team’ which was tasked with designing and implementing the US-led media system at the onset of war in March 2003. Despite aiming to create a ‘balanced and fair’ public service television network equivalent to the BBC or PBS, the $100 million budget was derived from the $87.5 billion military budget, with the Department of Defense overseeing implementation. Hence there was a fundamental contradiction between the stated intentions of the network as a provider of balanced news and its broader position within US military objectives. The RRMT plan reveals a series of strategies, inherent conflicts, and assumptions which can be seen to enact forms of symbolic violence complimentary to that of the military. By this, I mean that it sheds light on sophisticated strategies for the ‘transposition’ of military force to the discursive sphere; for the exertion of violence by other means in US attempts to manage perceptions of the war. In a fundamental sense, the RRMT strategy uses media as an extension of warfare, and this paper will look at how ‘actual’ violence was transferred from the military battlefield to the discursive.


Pamment, J. (2012). American Strategic Communication in Iraq: The “Rapid Reaction Media Team”. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 2(2), 1-18.