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Ric Cole on Social Media in Defence (#milsocialmedia)

Exclusive Interview with Chair of the Upcoming Social Media in the Defence and Military Sector Conference

Social Media has become an increasingly vital tool for the Armed Forces in the Twenty-First Century, not only in order to reach out to a wider and younger audience globally for recruitment and information purposes, but as a new battlespace in modern warfare.

What military personnel post online can be crucial in winning the hearts and minds of local populations, countering the enemy’s narrative, and as an instrument in the proliferation of cyber warfare. To address these issues, SMi Group has organised a conference on Social Media in the Defence and Military Sector. Now in its eighth year, this year’s conference will focus on cyber defence, operational use of social media, individual nations’ and organisations’ social media campaigns, open-source intelligence gathering, among other things.

Strategic Communications Consultant Shares Thoughts on Social Media Influence

SMi Group caught up with the chairman of the 8th annual Social Media in the Defence and Military Sector Conference, Richard Cole, Director at I3 Gen, who has exclusively shared his interview with you prior to the conference.

Richard Cole is a Strategic Communications Consultant specialising in the Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism (P/CVE) and Defence Engagement. With 23 years of military experience, including a decade in Public Affairs and Information Operations, he has served on operational tours in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

More recently, Cole was employed as the Special Advisor to the Federal Government of Somalia. Advising the offices of the President and Prime Minister on Strategic Communications and working with the Minister of Information on the National P/CVE Strategy and P/CVE Action Plans with the Regional Administrations and Government Ministries, alongside international agencies and donor nations.

Interview with Richard Cole

Richard Cole, Director of I3 Gen, gives his insights from an expert point of view on #milsocialmedia:

Tell us about you, what is your role in the defence/military social media environment and what perspective do you bring to the conference?

My name is Ric Cole and I work as a Communications Consultant, specialising in Preventing & Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) and military Information Operations.

I served 3 years in the Royal Marines and nine in the Army as an infantry officer and joined the Army Reserve in 2007 as an Info Ops specialist, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

I think I bring to the conference both a military perspective, with considerable experience of operations, defence engagement and doctrine development, and a civilian viewpoint having worked overseas on P/CVE and political communications. In many ways, I see myself as an interpreter between two communities who are often quite suspicious of one another.

What recent projects have you been working on?

Last year I worked as a Special Advisor to the Ministry of Information in Mogadishu, supporting their Minister, assisting with the implementation of their national P/CVE strategy and conducting counterpropaganda against al-Shabab, which I spoke about at last year’s conference.

This year I have been undertaking a project in Nigeria for an international investment company and a P/CVE project for a UN agency in Uganda. […]

To continue reading this interview, please click here to visit the website and download the interview from the ‘download centre’ tab.

Mr Cole will be chairing the two-day conference, taking place on 28 and 29 November 2018 at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum in London.

Unique Social Media Event

This is the only social media event of its kind, SMi’s #MilSocialMedia series has proven to be an engaged conference attracting key marketing experts from the defence and military sector.

Click to view the full speaker line-up and agenda.

If you are interested in attending the conference, you can register your place online here and save £100, early bird offer expires end of October.

Should you wish to join us to showcase your products to key decision makers within the industry, contact Sadia Malick, Director, on +44 (0)207 827 6748 or email: to hear more about our packages which we can tailor to best suit your needs.

For media enquiries, contact Simi Sapal on +44 (0) 20 7827 60002 or

SMi’s 8th Annual Social Media in the Defence and Military Sector

Conference: 28th and 29th November 2018

Workshops: 27th November 2018

Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, London, UK

Click here for full details.

Source: SMi Group Defence