Former Bush adviser’s firm wins Afghanistan communications contract

The company of a former adviser to President George W. Bush who helped sell the Iraqi surge to a skeptical public has won a Pentagon communications project in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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S4 Inc. on Friday announced it had won a contract from the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) to offer assistance with a “strategic communication framework” and to “develop its interagency coordination for the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and unrest in Pakistan.”

The contract is worth close to $164,000 and work would be done over 13 weeks. S4 won the contract under a competitive bid.

Mark Pfeifle, now a vice president at S4, developed a public-relations effort to sell the Bush administration’s surge plan to quell insurgencies in Iraq. Pfeifle also worked as a senior communications adviser for Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The program director on the communications contract will be Navy Reserve Capt. Vic Beck, who was the chief of media operations for the Multi-National Force — Iraq (MNF-I) in Baghdad. Beck worked at the time with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. general in Iraq and one of the brainpowers behind the surge. Petraeus is now the head of CENTCOM, with responsibility over Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, among other areas. 

“Our extensive experience in South Central Asia coupled with our unparalleled communications planning knowledge fits perfectly with the task,” said Chandu Shah, S4 Inc. chairman and CEO.

“There is not a more important task right now than working on a communications planning for Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Pfeifle said in a phone interview. “It is an enormous honor and challenge.”

S4 would help CENTCOM work on how to link military, diplomatic, political, social and economic concepts to the interagency process. It will also help CENTCOM with the application of new communication technologies as well as research and assessment methodologies.

Despite being a brand name in GOP circles, Pfeifle said that party lines blur when it comes to the missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We are all in the same boat. We all are trying to achieve success,” he said.