Friday, February 09, 2007

Psychological Warfare for Dummies

Somebody turned up a classified military PSYOPs manual, providing a fascinating glimpse into the vast and alien world of the military. All I can say is, if you thought programmers were acronym happy you haven't been in the army.


PSYOP are a vital part of the broad range of United States (U.S.) diplomatic, informational, military, and economic (DIME) activities. The employment of any element of national power, particularly the military element, has always had a psychological dimension. Foreign perceptions of U.S. military capabilities are fundamental to strategic deterrence. The effectiveness of deterrence hinges on U.S. ability to influence the perceptions of others. The purpose of PSYOP is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to U.S. national objectives. PSYOP are characteristically delivered as information for effect, used during peacetime and conflict, to inform and influence. When properly employed, PSYOP can save lives of friendly and adversary forces by reducing the adversaries’ will to fight. By lowering adversary morale and reducing their efficiency, PSYOP can also discourage aggressive actions and create dissidence and disaffection within their ranks, ultimately inducing surrender. PSYOP provide a commander the means to employ a nonlethal capability across the range of military operations from peace through conflict to war and during postconflict operations.
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White, gray, and black products do not refer to anything inherent in the content of the product itself, but indicate the source of the product. Generally the content of a product is usually less truthful or completely fabricated when the source is misrepresented because the intent is to confuse or deceive the TA. Gray and black products are always covert because secrecy is key to their success. Credibility is key to successful products because the use and discovery of untruthful information irrevocably damages or destroys their and their originator’s credibility.
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In Phase I, POs, SPOs, potential target audiences (PTAs), and MOEs are determined. A staff planner normally conducts this phase as part of the MDMP, and often with the assistance of the POAT. During this first phase, planners formulate the POs for the supported commander’s mission. POs are generally determined by the highest-level PSYOP element involved in the operation, and provide the framework for the development of the PSYOP plan. Upon approval of the POs by the SecDef, the SPOs are developed and the PTAs are identified. PSYOP MOEs establish a metric for evaluating PSYOP and are determined in a deliberative and methodical process in Phase I. Accurately assessing the effectiveness of PSYOP requires well-conceived MOEs, and the identification and early integration of organic assets and PSYOP enablers, such as intelligence, to satisfy the MOEs.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Secrecy News.

goatchowder said...

When I was a young (24-year-old) product manager, a fellow similarly-young product manager produced an MRD of epic proportions. He decided to play with Word's new outlining feature, and numbered pretty much each paragraph. He handed it around for review to his peers.

One of the other product managers, a wizened old Air Force vet (heh, he was younger than I am now, IIRC), marked up the MRD accordingly:

"Most aggressive use of paragraph numbering ever. You should be in the military."