A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Lebanon career opportunity 2: analyzing intermediately

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 17, 2008

Here in New York, the economic picture is getting bleak again. And according to my job-hunting friends, good positions are increasingly few and far between.

But for you, my Lebanon-savvy readers, there is hope.

Some of you may have read the very interesting Washington Post article published earlier this month on the Department of Defense’s new program to win hearts and minds via “strategic communications.

Here’s the first part of that article:

The Defense Department will pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to “engage and inspire” the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government.

The new contracts — awarded last week to four companies — will expand and consolidate what the U.S. military calls “information/psychological operations” in Iraq far into the future, even as violence appears to be abating and U.S. troops have begun drawing down.

In case you are wondering, the four companies chosen are Leonie Industries, the Lincoln Group, MPRI, and SOSi. And yes – they are most definitely hiring, and not only for Iraq-related jobs.

The Lincoln Group, which describes itself as a “strategic communications firm that provides our clients with access to cultures which have historically been difficult to reach through traditional Western communications, has a position open for a sub-contractor who can provide “intermediate analysis support” on Lebanon.

Here is the job description, with a bit of commentary:

Scope and Tasks:
Will provide intermediate-level analytic support on Lebanese related issues

The vendor shall provide a team of one political analyst, one military analyst, one economist or political economist, and two cultural anthropologists who will conduct sequential, in-depth examinations of the stability of key Middle East countries, beginning with Lebanon

“Beginning with Lebanon” – doesn’t that sound ominous?

Contractors are integrated into the MNA Syria-Lebanon Branch, the contract analysts shall analyze and produce finished all-source intelligence assessments on a broad range of issues

Issues include, but are not limited to, Lebanon’s political and military leadership and decision-making; support to Lebanese Hizballa and Palestinian rejectionist groups, regional ambitions, and Hizballa military capabilities

No offense to the Lincoln Group, but I am very skeptical of the ROI potential of my tax dollars going to a contractor that 1) seems incapable of using periods and 2) proposes a project on Lebanon and mis-spells “Hizbullah”. Hizbullah, Hezbollah: in Arabic as in English, there is an “h” at the end of the word.

Analysts will also identify political, economic, and cultural instability and trends which may influence future incidence of terrorism or political violence

Personnel Requirements:
Strong analytical skills and demonstrated experience to include the ability to research, review, interpret, evaluate, and integrate all-source data in order to contribute to or produce all-source intelligence articles, papers, and studies for DIA, DoD, national, and international intelligence publications and organizations.

Contractor analysts must possess a minimum of an undergraduate degree.A degree in Political Science, Mid-East studies or related topic is most desirable. Analysts should have a strong background in the Middle East. Ability to identify significant intelligence trends and propose new or revised analytical projects to alert decision makers to new developments and to meet customer requirements.

“[Meeting] customer requirements” – okay, fair enough, even if thinking of the Department of Defense as a customer seems a bit odd.

Skills in oral and written communications required to effectively defend controversial intelligence positions; presenting and defending an organization’s positions in conferences, working groups, and planning sessions; presenting briefings at the highest echelons both within and outside DoD, and preparing intelligence products for both lay and scientific audiences.

Familiarity with automated data processing capabilities and their use.

Yawn.

Ability to work in crisis situations to include travel, shift work, and weekend duty.

Since when has “weekend duty” been considered a crisis situation? Everyone I know does at least some work over the weekend.

Demonstrated experience with collection disciplines.

I have no idea what this means🙂.

Prior military experience, prior deployments to the Middle East, and Farsi or Arabic language skills are all highly desirable, but not mandatory.

Hang on. The Lincoln Group describes itself in this job posting as follows:

Lincoln Group is a strategic research and communications firm uniquely positioned to deliver insight and influence in the world’s emerging markets and most challenging environments. Our on-the-ground experts are immersed in these local cultures, providing our government and commercial clients with mission and market critical intelligence.  This insight enables us to develop communication strategies that resonate with our clients’ target audiences.

I’m trying to imagine how a military deployment at, say, a US base in Qatar or Kuwait might qualify as “immersion” in the local culture. Or why language skills are “not mandatory …

At any rate, if you are an economist, a political analyst, a military analyst or a cultural anthropologist with iffy language skills and minimal experience in the region; and you are looking for a job that will send you to Lebanon and introduce you to “Hizballa”, then the Lincoln Group is looking for you.

One Response to “Lebanon career opportunity 2: analyzing intermediately”

  1. nicolien said

    …that is, if you want a job disseminating (mis)information (also called propaganda) in Middle Eastern countries, in a way that is forbidden in the US itself. See here: http://www.menassat.com/?q=ar/news-articles/4835-pentagons-new-media-war-plan-iraq

    Where you can read things like:
    “Meanwhile, a 2006 probe by the Pentagon’s inspector general found that media work completed in Iraq by one of the new contract’s recipients – the Lincoln Group – during 2005 was “improperly supervised but legal.” Part of the contract with Lincoln Group was for placing “faux” news stories in Iraqi newspapers.

    According to the inspector general, the Lincoln Group produced news items ignoring anything negative about the U.S. occupation, which they paid to be published in Iraqi media without sourcing.”

    Nice, no?

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