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 missions.
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.