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News | July 1, 2013

Sharing to Succeed: Lessons from Open Information-sharing Projects in Afghanistan

By Linton Wells II, James Bosworth, John Crowley, and Rebecca Linder Blachly Defense Horizons 76


Key Points

  • Unless U.S. and coalition forces can share information with the populations they seek to influence in complex civil-military operations, they cannot achieve the goals for which they were committed. 
  • Information, communications, and related support structures influence all aspects of complex operations and need to be treated as critical infrastructures and essential services but rarely are. 
  • Open information-sharing projects require sustained leadership interest plus shared and stable priorities among many parties. Absent this emphasis, changes in personnel, mission priorities, and funding levels will make it hard to develop, transition, and sustain any such effort. 
  • Observations from information-sharing projects in Afghanistan suggest several ways to change behaviors that can turn lessons observed thus far into lessons actually learned.