Posts Tagged 'social media'

Learn more about the LRA and Kony 2012

US soldiers assist Ugandan Airforce personnel as they package food supplies at a military airbase in Entebbbe, Uganda, on Dec. 6, 2011. The food supplies were destined for frontline Ugandan troops hunting the Lord's Resistance Army. Photo courtesy of Newsday, MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/Getty Images

“Kony 2012″, the 30-minute video produced by the group Invisible Children, quickly became a viral sensation when it was posted online last week. By this morning it had been viewed nearly 73 million times on YouTube. Invisible Children has been both praised for their incredible social media marketing savvy and criticized for taking what some see as a narrow view on a complicated issue. The group is poised to release another video today to answer critics, according to a CNN story.

Either way, “Kony 2012” has raised the attention of the world regarding Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

US Africa Command does not endorse nor is it affiliated with Invisible Children.

AFRICOM does, however, welcome this increased awareness about the Lord’s Resistance Army and the history of atrocities and destabilizing role the LRA has played in Central Africa for decades.  We will continue to work with Congress, the Department of State, the Department of Defense and interested advocacy groups to end the LRA threat.

Click on the links below for more on AFRICOM’s involvement in efforts to counter the LRA, a comprehensive National Defense University paper on the LRA, as well as various takes on “Kony 2012” from around the web.

And as always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of this post, as well as links to other resources you think might be helpful and informative.

FACT Sheet: U.S. Military Support to African Efforts to Counter the Lord’s Resistance Army, from the US AFRICOM home page: “We are an enabling force to facilitate and advance the capabilities of the African forces.”

“U.S. Continues Support for Central Africa as it Counters LRA threat,” from the US AFRICOM home page: “In the long run, it is Africans who are best-suited to address African security matters,” Rear Admiral Brian L. Losey said. “In this case, four nations decided that they wanted to work together to address a common security challenge, and we’re glad to help.”

“U.S. Command Fights Terrorists on African Soil,”  audio and transcript of National Public Radio interview with AFRICOM’s commander Gen. Carter F. Ham: “They have caused the displacement of many tens of thousands of people. They’ve disrupted economies. They’ve disrupted good governance. They undermine regional stability. And that’s why we’re concerned.”

“Countering the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa,” National Defense University paper by  senior research fellow Andre Le Sage:

“Joseph Kony: Brutal Warlord Who Shocked the World,” CNN profile on the LRA leader: “If Kony attracted supporters through his ‘mystical powers’ and charisma, he kept them through fear.”

“The Controversy Over Kony 2012,” one Washington Post writer’s view on the video and the efforts against the LRA: “The effort to capture or kill Kony is one of the least controversial, most thoroughly multilateral, objectives in the world. But that has not prevented a few people from trying to stir controversy.”

“Kony 2012: The Anatomy of a Viral Campaign,” the Washington Post on how a 30-minute video took the social media world by storm: “To get the campaign off the ground quickly, the group had users send messages to 20 ‘culturemakers’ and 12 ‘policymakers’ with influential Twitter accounts urging them to support the effort.”

Conference in Bahrain

By Colonel Childress, U.S. Africa Command’s Public Affairs Director


I just returned from a very productive and important meeting with our friends and colleagues from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the Department of State (DOS), and the Pentagon.

The Conference was held in the kingdom of Bahrain. For those of you that don’t know where that is, it is an island just off the coast of Saudi Arabia and just north of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf. I arrived at 10 p.m. on the 11th of July. The city of Manama was beautiful at night. It was still very hot even at 2200. The temperature in the daytime reaches over 110 degrees Fahrenheit; it’s very hot. In fact, the government warns on signs not to go outside without wearing sunglasses.

The first day of the conference was held at the conference center of a hotel in the heart of the capital city–Manama. Rear Admiral Beck was the moderator for the conference and led it off by introducing Rear Admiral Hal Pittman, CENTCOM Director of Communication, who got things started with opening comments and announcements. The conference featured key Public Affairs professionals and a few folks from outside of the Defense Department who passed valuable lessons and messages to the CENTCOM communicators.

I found the conference invaluable to me as a communicator for several reasons. Let me share a few of my lessons learned with you from the conference:

1) No one has cornered the market on great ideas. It is vital to step outside your comfort zone and see how like-minded military and civilian professionals do their business. I learn valuable tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) each time I attend a conference held in another Combatant Commander’s Area of Responsibility.

2) Coming to these conferences offers a huge opportunity to build a network with trained professionals who are leaders in their fields. It is an invaluable experience to meet people face to face and discuss with them the issues of the day and ways in which we can work together in the future.

3) This conference was a great opportunity to recruit friends for our social media sites and introduce them to the LYnC. I had the opportunity to demo our website to a Major and a Staff Sergeant who work in CENTCOM. Both really liked our sites and promised to give them a second look.

4) Finally, it is very interesting to see the issue communicators have in the Middle East and compare them to challenges and opportunities we have in Africa. Many of the issues are precisely the same and many differ, but being able to ask questions and be immersed in the CENTCOM issues for two days reminds me that we are all on the same team and need to ensure that we cross-talk as much as possible on those issues that over lap our AOR’s.

I would like to close by sending a big Bravo Zulu (that means good job in Navy speak, see I am getting a good cross cultural education) out to CENTCOM and everyone who organized and participated in the communicator’s conference.

Communication is good, but excellent communication best.

Very Respectfully Submitted,

Colonel Childress with the NAVCENT Public Affairs Office

Colonel Childress with the NAVCENT Public Affairs Office

Franklin Childress
AFRICOM Public Affairs Officer

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