20 years; 20 communicators

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

To celebrate the Company of Communicators 20th anniversary we are profiling 20 Company members in the lead up to our big day.

Today we profile Rosie Stone, Course Director, Defence Human Security Advisor Course, UK Defence Academy.

Career Highlights

  • 2019 – Present: Director, Defence Human Security Advisor Course

  • 2017-2019: Deputy Commander (Reserve) 11 Signals and West Midlands Brigade

  • 2013-2016: Head of Business and Community Engagement, 42nd Infantry Brigade and HQ North West

  • 2010- 2013: Commanding Officer, Media Operations Group, MOD, deploying in Afghanistan

  • 2011: Strategic Communications Advisor to NATO operation in Libya

  • 2009-2010: SO1 Media Operations, Permanent Joint Headquarters

Why did you join the Company of Communicators?

Rosie Stone: I joined the Company as an honorary member when it was the Guild of Public Relations Practitioners in recognition of my appointment as Commanding Officer of the Media Operations Group, a specialist Army Reserve unit of ex Regular Army and civilian professional communicators. The Master, Kelly Freeman, warmly welcomed me to the Guild and Brian Moore became my Livery ‘mentor’ providing friendship and support during my time in command. I really appreciated the effort the Company members went to in recognising serving personnel returning from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq through the Homecoming Banquet which has transformed into the annual Military Dinner. I stayed in the Company beyond my time in command and took up full membership because I knew that the senior leadership team was working hard to highlight good practice and broaden its affiliation with all the Armed Forces Media and Communications organisations.

The Company provides a great social, charitable, and professional network that has been particularly important over the last eighteen months of the global pandemic. Digital became our main form of communications and the Company embraced this challenge, coming through stronger than before. I hope in my capacity as a Court Assistant and more recently chair of the Military Committee that I can play my part in further developing a close-knit cohort of military and affiliated practitioners that offers kinship, advice and a positive interface with the City Livery.

What benefits have you derived from joining?

Rosie Stone: The Company of Communicators has enabled me to maintain strong links with the communications industry as my military career has taken me into other leadership and defence engagement roles. On completion of a Master’s degree in Gender and Conflict I now deliver the UK Defence Human Security Advisors course at the Defence Academy covering topics covering Protection of Civilians, Human Trafficking, Children in Armed Conflict, Cultural Heritage and the Women Peace and Security agenda (Conflict Related Sexual violence). One key theme that is a golden thread throughout the course is communication. Whether it is protecting civilians in conflict or facilitating the participation of women and youth in peace processes the role that media and communications plays in creating a sense of security, building cohesive communities, and delivering longer term stability is critical.

What are the main challenges you are experiencing in communications today?

Rosie Stone: My personal view is that the two main challenges in defence communications today are scope and (dis)information:

  1. The scope of communications has increased exponentially with the threat of cyber warfare and weaponizing of space as a fifth dimension in conflict. Cyber warfare, the use of digital attacks to attack a nation, is a key focus of current military strategy. Modern military equipment and communications rely on digital security and a major recruitment drive for cyber experts has recently been launched to meet the specialist capability requirements. Space is the next big challenge and the communications aspects to this evolving threat are only beginning to be considered. The Royal Air Force has the lead for this capability development.

  2. Disinformation and misinformation have always been a threat from both the world war and cold war eras of state propaganda, and global violent extremist or terrorist narratives. It has become a more serious threat to national security as social media and the rise of ‘fake news’ dominates everything from USA election processes and Covid anti-vaxers to Russian information warfare that is directly targeting NATO cohesion and western democracy. The British Army’s 6th Division has been transformed into an ‘Information Manoeuvre’ formation as we adapt to these new challenges and within this formation 77th Brigade is at the leading edge of developing counter narratives. Several Company members serve in this unit and we are building a strong community of practitioners that represent the breadth of defence communication capabilities.

If you are interested in joining the Company of Communicators, please click here

Members can book tickets for the 20th anniversary reception here