Mark Laity has been involved with the media,
information and latterly Strategic Communication for four decades, both as a
journalist, mostly with the BBC, and then in a variety of posts as a spokesman
and senior manager for NATO. His experience covers all levels, from the
political and strategic, to the frontlines of major conflicts and peacekeeping
He is now the Director of the new Communications Division at SHAPE,
created in 2017. Previously, from 2007, he had been the first Chief Strategic
Communications (StratCom) at SHAPE (Supreme
Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe), and the leading
figure in first establishing and then developing StratCom within NATO,
especially the military. His office led in
the creation of NATO’s innovative Military StratCom policy and now oversees its
implementation and further development in NATO operations.
The StratCom post followed nine months in Afghanistan
in 2006-7 as the NATO Spokesman in Kabul and Media Adviser to the ISAF
Commander, the first holder of that post. For his service in Afghanistan he was
awarded NATO’s Meritorious Service Medal. He has since complete two further
tours in Afghanistan in 2008 & 2010. Prior to this, from 2005, he was the
first civilian Chief of Public Information at SHAPE.
From 2000, Mark Laity was
for four years the Special Adviser to the Secretary General of NATO, Lord
Robertson of Port Ellen, and also NATO’s Deputy Spokesman. He had a wide variety of policy and media roles,
including a year as NATO spokesman, and special responsibility for liaison with
the military, and oversight of information campaigns on NATO operations.
In 2001 he deployed
for six months to what’s now North Macedonia, initially as personal adviser to
the Macedonian President at a time when that country was on the verge of civil
war. When a NATO military force was deployed
he became the Media Adviser to the commander and civilian spokesman for the
successful Operation Essential Harvest.
Mark Laity joined NATO after 22
years in journalism, mostly in the BBC. This included, from 1989, 11 years as
the BBC's Defence Correspondent. He reported from the frontlines of most major
conflicts of the nineties, but particularly the break-up of Yugoslavia. In
1999 his reporting on the Kosovo conflict & the NATO air campaign against
the Milosevic regime made him a familiar face worldwide. He had fulfilled a
similar analytical role during the Gulf war in 1990-91 when, reporting for BBC
Radio, he was based in Saudi Arabia.
Born in Truro, Cornwall, he has
a BA(Hons) and an MA from the University of York, England. He is an Associate
Fellow at the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications, Kings College London.