On-Line Education For Terrorists & Wannabes

On-Line Education For Terrorists & Wannabes I have been an on-line instructor for American Military University since 2009. My students are not simple to categorize except they are mostly either serving or former military or individuals seeking to break into the intelligence community as a career.AMU and its parent, APUS, offer asymmetrical courses. This means the students and the instructors are not on-line at the same time. The materials started out like traditional, brick and mortar schools importance they were a amalgamation of documents and books.Video is generally considered a way to make the ‘classroom’ more inviting. I fact, when I developed a course for AMU free “Cyber & The Intelligence Cycle”, my supervising Faculty Director told me I had to provide 20 minutes of ‘entertainment’ for the students. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you a like to one of the PPT lectures that I recorded with my voiceover.Apparently the use of videos in on-line education is an global trend. While researching for this week’s Blog post I saw some information in this area Wilaya Ninwa, the propaganda arm of ISIS. In rummaging around the Internet I came across a new source (see: http://bit.ly/2qt4rIv, which is also the photo source).  The reference to the trigonometric formula that the tangent = the opposite/the adjacent was not lost on me and indicates a unique analytical perspective.They featured a 35 minute video amongst others. The referenced link offers some analysis of the video as well as some clips.I was struck, not by the fact that they were using videos, but the length. Given the probable target demographic I was quite surprised that the video is over 10 minutes long. Perhaps this because the video is meant to be a recruiting tool or a subliminal persuader and not a being a training vehicle.As I learn more in this area video, it appears that 10 minutes is the sweet spot. I’d be very interested in learning what readers have to say on the subject.

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“The Truth” – You Can Make Fun of the Truth!

“The Truth” – You Can Make Fun of the Truth! With apologies to Jack Nicholson, AKA COL Jessup, USMC (see: http://bit.ly/2pyEKCd), sometimes you help people handle the truth through fiction and even satire. Duffleblog.com is in my opinion, one of the more acerbic and generally accurate satirical military sources. But, I’m often reluctant to repost or ‘Like’ their posts because candidly I reckon some people who are not familiar with the military will take the posting as ‘real’ rather than the satire it is.They outdid themselves with “Pentagon Makes New Meme Combat Center to Counter Online Propaganda” (see: http://bit.ly/2qUGxXb, which is also the photo source). First of all the dateline is Fayetteville, NC the home of Fort Bragg which houses the Army Unique Operations Mandate, parent of active duty MISO and the US Army Civil Affairs and PSYOP Mandate, parent of USAR PSYOP (not called MISO yet). Fittingly the lead quote contains a misnomer. It says ‘make them go virus’ instead of ‘viral’ implying that the writer doesn’t know anything in this area the subject matter. They proclaimed that the boss of this organization would be a 65-year-ancient two star (Major General). I did a bit of research and it appears that for the mandatory retirement age for General Officers is 62 (see: http://tfumux.wikia.com/wiki/Average_ages_per_rank_in_US_Military).MG Farmer has two strikes: he’s over the mandatory age and given the rest of the article – doesn’t really know very much in this area the Internet or well loved culture. The implication may be that while DOD, and the Army in particular, may recognize that something is vital and requires attention, the response isn’t always well plotting out or appropriate.The point for MISO/PSYOP professionals is that you can often use fiction to do what non-fiction cannot. A prominent former White House Staffer under several Presidents once told me ‘you can say more with fiction than you can with non-fiction’.Delight in the Food for plotting.

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PSYActs – What you do effects your audience.

PSYActs – What you do effects your audience.Once upon a time, in a far away land called IGMR (Indiantown Gap Military Reservation) an intrepid young Army ROTC military student was chief his squad down a road when an enemy tank rumbled out in front of us. That event had quite a psychological impact.Quick forward to March 2017 when the same military student was a retired Colonel SME orchestrating an shape campaign designed to convince an adversarial military CDR not to lead a convoy on an attack mission. While the 'shock proceedings' of tanks was not appropriate, one avenue that open was to have a couple of ‘quick movers’ glide over the convoy sending the not so subtle message – if you go forward, the next time these jets won’t be so benign.There is a fantastic deal to be said in favor of non-lethal proceedings to get results. One technique is to use lethal weapons in a PSYAct – a psychological proceedings – designed to send a strong sensory message.One of my favorite military sources is “Task & Purpose”. Their May 5, 2017 e-mail included  “F-35 Pilot Shares How Stealthy Fighter Psychologically Wrecks Enemies” (see: http://bit.ly/2pOoAX8; which is also the photo source)In the article the author describes “a sense of dread” which is precisely the kind of impact you want to have on an enemy. The message sent by the F-22 was “you can’t find us, you can’t fight us.”Other PsyActs do not have to be as dramatic. While I was in SFOR Bosnia US personnel were generally dressed in ‘full battle rattle’, importance helmet, flak vest, etc. The British on the other hand were not.In a confrontation the Americans had small in the way of non-lethal options while the British Army could simple go to their vehicles and ‘suit up’ in their battle gear sending a sweet strong message.The bottom line is that all manner of shape can be employed and the psychological impact of kinetic weapons in a non-lethal message can be quite effective.

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Everyone’s A Critic

Everyone’s A CriticI spent a honest bit of my career in marketing. I often said “marketing is like drumming, everyone thinks they can do it”.  In today’s 7x24 social media world any one can be a critic. In it’s   April 27, 2017 photograph edition, The Economist ran an article “The declining quality of Venezuela’s Propaganda” (see: http://econ.st/2oUcdHF, which is also the photo source). The article addresses how even a totalitarian regime can fall on its sword when it comes to Social Media. Nicolas Maduro, the country’s president is trying to paint a clear picture of life there, much to the dismay and consternation of Venezuelans.The power of metaphors is reflected in the comments noted in the article. In particular pictures of obviously well-fed government officials does not play well in a country where poverty and food shortages have flourished in the past two years.From a PSYOP/MISO perspective the message is sweet clear – you can’t turn an elephant into a giraffe. Shape campaigns need to be grounded in truth. Campaigns that are predicated on falsehoods will be quickly exposed and discredited.While this principle has been around for a while, the 21stCentury Social Media explosion has reinforced it.

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Politicians Can Be Part of a PSYOP Campaign – Whether They Realize It Or Not

Politicians Can Be Part of a PSYOP Campaign – Whether They Realize It Or NotMany of us remember then President George W. Bush declaring victory in Iraq under a “Mission Accomplished” banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego on May 2, 2003 (see: https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall/comment-page-14/?_r=0, which is also this picture’s source.) This week Vice President Pence chose to break protocol and, according to innumerable media, stare down the North Korean troops at the DMZ (see: http://thefederalistpapers.org/us/new-video-shows-pence-stare-down-north-korean-troops-at-dmz, which is also the photo source.) The picture is really a still taken from the CNN video. Clowning around of one type or another across the DMZ have ranged from the comical to the tragic and the Vice President’s face making is just one of the latest. On April 29, 2016 Task & Purpose ran a report “North Korea Whines In this area US Troop Faces At Its Border Guards” (see: http://taskandpurpose.com/north-korea-whines-us-troops-making-faces-border-guards/, which is that photo source.)Of course, one could also conclude that neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Pence were posing for our adversaries but were courting the American Public. Mr. Pence’s rebellious (if you could call it that) seems to follow the pattern of the new Commander-in-Chief, that is act first and reckon later. This time there doesn’t seem to be much of a downside. But, it is honest to say that actions by Heads of State and other senior government leaders, whether attended or not, can have significant impact due to the 7/24 news cycle and social media. Metaphors can be taken out of context and used for purposes quite opposite of their original intent. A small forethought can prevent our adversaries from getting even more information bullets.

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How You Look Matters

How You Look MattersOne of my favorite military sources, Task & Purpose featured this small video in this area a Florida Police Department and their mission to combat drugs in their Florida District (see: http://bit.ly/2o6A6eE; which is also the picture source). While the Sheriff certainly has the best of intentions, he and his deputies  come across as something between King Cobra’s gang (see picture at left; source: http://bit.ly/2o5Ojrx) and ISIS. The climax of the video when he and his coterie march off doesn’t help either.An unfortunate fact of life is that many people will judge you by how you look. Many of us remember our mothers checking us out before we were permitted to leave. Some of us of have wives who fulfill the same purpose today.In the MISO/PSYOP world there are two contexts WRT appearance. 1.     The AudienceYou need to dress to have your consultation feel positively in this area you. In sales training we often say “the prospect has to be listening to you and like you as a person before they will consider buying anything from you”. In the case of an consultation that you are attempting to shape, such as the population of Lake District, you need to adapt your standardized to engender the trust of the people you are attempting to serve, yet adhere to appropriate force protection measures.A very excellent example were the Brits in Bosnia. While the US troops were always in “movement Rattle” – importance helmet and body body armor, the Brits were not. They wore soft caps and no body body armor. This means if they came across a situation where a non-lethal response was ideal as a first step, the could upgrade to body army and helmets as a way of showing business.Clearly this lesson was lost on Lake District. Of course it’s possible that the Sheriff plotting only the terrible guys would watch this video and get frightened, but of course, that would never be the case in today’s world.2.     The Supported UnitMISO never works lonely. We are always supporting a unit wither SF or Square and we need to look like we are a part of that unit in the military context.Any potential unenthusiastic impact of the Sheriff’s video may not be known, but it is at least a sweet excellent example for edifying purposes.

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Small Unit Tactics Are Fundamental

Small Unit Tactics Are FundamentalI just refined my most recent stint as the IO SME for a Joint Public Affairs Possibility Course. As a part of the operational play I had to devise an shape campaign to try and stop a BN CDR from attacking the capitol city as ordered by his BDE CDR.I must admit I wasn’t the best map-reader in the Army. I always tried to pair myself up with someone who was excellent at it. But it was clear to me that even before I could even develop my own MISO CONOP I had to be with you the military operation. This meant assessing the convoy route, determining how long the convoy would be allowed to travel before being attacked from the air, etc. This analysis complemented the media analysis of how to get to the unit’s leadership. Many people feel the same way in this area the cyber realm. In developing a graduate course for American Military University (AMU), “Cyber & The Intelligence Cycle” I have one lesson which is a practical implementation. I plotting it would be appropriate to provide some insight into cyber attack and defense by the side of the lines of a class military piece on small unit tactics.  My version is a couple of pages and can be found below.Duffer’s Drift (found at: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/store/policy/usmc/fmfrp/12-33/fmfrp12-33.pdf) is regarded as a classic in the realm of small unit tactics. It is set in the Boer War and describes dreams that a LT has while being exciting with the defense of a key piece of terrain. You can find a copy of the book on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/2nBB0j8 (which is also the photo source). In this version I’ve brought it up to date and analogized the small unit infantry tactics to the cyber world of today. There is a USMC authored Rand version for Information Operations Practitioners which is 50 pages worth and can be found at: http://bit.ly/2oL1XRIFirst Marvel“Do not place off defense” can be interpreted to mean use an active, layered defense or defense in depth means to use a digit of complementary security products and services in your defense. These include multi-factor authentication, firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, etc.“Locals” we can define to be contractors, visitors, temporary employees and similar stakeholders. In the defense context the doctrine relating to ‘locals’ means that you treat everyone as a security risk who must adhere to the same policies and procedures as employees and who must be subject to the same sort of cybersecurity technology products and services as others. Security needs to be standardized across all personnel seeking to access the organization’s information technology resources.“Tents” in the cyber context means insure that all devices and networks have at least a minimum amount of security to avoid casual use by unauthorized personnel and to discourage would be cyber trespassers.Second DreamThe second marvel makes a strong case for cyber concealment and deception. Techniques here can include honey-pots and sandboxes. Honeypots and sandboxes are technical means whereby systems and/or networks are set up that are really isolated from actual systems and networks. They are designed as decoys to attract, study, and entrap attackers. Both of these induce the attacker into an area where they can do no harm. As to locals in this marvel – the implication is that the organization treats the employees well so that they don’t covet the contractor’s position. Contractors should not be given favorable treatment to include the need to cover shifts beyond the normal day shift/week day work schedule.Third DreamThe third marvel makes the case for stringent ‘local’ management. This may also alluded to the 21st century enchantment with Social Media and that family members might unwittingly be security risks or even targets. Executives and those in insightful positions need to take unique care to insure that the organization’s insightful data, prototypes, plans, etc. are not accidently exposed on social media by family members. This bid for OPSEC means that family members should be aware of the dangers of social media and should have clear guidelines as to what they cannot do.Comments with respect to trenches can be taken to mean that there is a need for advanced security architecture. Architecture should also consider how organizations should maintain security in the face of advances in smartphones, drug, etc. Systems should be designed with cyber security as a core foundational element rather than as an add-on feature after the systems or applications are fielded.Fourth DreamThere are several key points contained in the 4th marvel. First of all, the marvel correctly realizes that cyber is everywhere. This is especially vital given the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) as the 21st century version of Supervisory and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Advice in this area guarding your rear could easily be interpreted as watch out for intentional (made by bots perhaps) or unintentional backdoors. Today’s software is highly complex and contains tens of thousands of lines of code. Product flaws, whether or known or unknown, can offer inviting entry points for attackers.Huddling the men could be interpreted as importance - don’t place all your insightful data in one spot. This principle is a driving force behind cloud architectures software as a service. Data Centers are giving way to web services for a variety of reasons with cost reduction being a primary consideration and advanced security such as provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) being another. Not that AWS is impregnable. They make it clear that the client bears a heavy responsibility for security as well. Concealment needs to be addressed physically and logically. Physically it is not a excellent practice to make it simple to find your data center. Data centers should be concealed to add to their security and they should be buffered with appropriate physical security measures.Fascinatingly sufficient the 4thDream makes a case for penetration testing – “Look from the enemy’s view.” As a practical matter, penetration testing should be holistic. While employing white hat (excellent guy) hackers to test your IT security postures is a excellent thought, Human Intelligence (HUMINT) operatives should be considered to test resistance to social engineering and other people based hard work.Fifth DreamMakes a case for deception. Read industry expert Bruce Schneier’s concise summary at: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/08/us_air_force_is.html.Sixth DreamUse all you have learned in all the other dreams to come up with the best possible cyber defense in your own situation.

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Does Video Quality Really Matter?

Does Video Quality Really Matter?One of my favorite military sources, “Task & Purpose” featured an article “North Korea Blasts US Arsenal in Fresh Propaganda Video with TerribleGraphics” (see: http://taskandpurpose.com/north-korea-blasts-us-arsenal-fresh-propaganda-video-terrible-graphics/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_campaign=tp-today&utm_content=button; which is the photo source.) You can also read in this area the video in the Japan Times at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/20/asia-pacific/north-korean-state-run-propaganda-website-depicts-u-s-aircraft-carrier-bomber-engulfed-flames/#.WNMNio61ufXYou can find the nearly three minute video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70MTvxFzZ-Y. Sorry to say it’s in Korean with no subtitles, a likely intelligence indicator of who the target consultation for the video is. After watching the sepia toned mélange of photos and clips, it seems to me that the consultation is like to be North Koreans.While not being able to be with you the dialogue, it seems to me that the intent of the video is to convince the view that the North Koreans will prevail hostile to the meagre weapons of the decadent West. While the quality is supposed to be the same as ‘professional’ news organizations, it would not likely pass for a product from an advanced news agency such as the BBC or US outlets.Does that matter?In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter. The North Korean viewing public is a captive consultation and likely has lower standards in terms of video production that those outside the country who have access to other news sources.Another principle at work here is that it is harder to change someone’s mind than it is to reinforce an existing opinion.  North Koreans have been conditioned to acknowledge government information as truth for generations so that the government can control the content and flow of information that their citizens receive.The same work product would likely have small effect on Western Viewers who are able to explore a variety of different sources including www.defense.govand military defense contractors such as http://www.lockheedmartin.com/ or their competitors such as: BAE Systems, Boeing, Cassidian (Airbus Military), Dassault Assemble, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, Finmeccanica, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Panavia Aircraft GmbH, Raytheon, and SAAB AB.Reader feedback welcome as always.

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If MI is Deploying A Bde HQ – What About PSYOP/MISO?

If MI is Deploying A Bde HQ – What About PSYOP/MISO?I knew I was under the gun to post something today and was concerned I couldn’t find anything of interest until I found this piece of ‘news’. On March 10, 2017 the Fayetteville (NC) Observer published an article headed “Military Intelligence soldiers head to Afghanistan” (see: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170309/military-intelligence-soldiers-head-to-afghanistan; which is also the photo source). The article noted: “The brigade will assume the mission of Task Force Observe, Detect, Identify and Neutralize (ODIN), which is an Army aviation battalion chartered in 2006 to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition operations to defeat the threat of improvised explosive devices.The battalion has been used to “win back the roads,” by conducting persistent missions over at-risk areas for improvised explosive devices, according to the Army.” According to the Bde’s website “We are the Army’s Intelligence BDE of choice; providing rapidly deployable, multi-discipline help tailored to the warfighter. The Lightning BDE’s core tenant is P.R.I.D.E.-Professional, Ready, Innovative, Dedicated, and Effective.” (source: https://www.bragg.army.mil/index.php/units-tenants/xviii-airborne-co/525th-expeditionary-military-intelligence-brigade)On March 15, 2017 Task and Purpose reported that “US Draws Up Plans For 1,000 More Troops in Syria as Raqqa Siege Looms (see: http://taskandpurpose.com/us-draws-plans-1000-troops-syria-raqqa-siege-looms/; source for photo at left.)There have also been calls for bolstering US Troops in Afghanistan as featured in the NY Times of February 9, 2017 (“U.S. General Seeks ‘a Few Thousand’ More Troops in Afghanistan”, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/us/politics/us-afghanistan-troops.html?_r=0; photo source as well.)I cannot comment on whether all of these developments are related, but, it does seem sweet clear that the OpTempo is picking up yet again. Given the contemporary MISO Force strategy wherein the USAR PSYOP Groups help ‘the Huge Army” and the active MISO Force supports Unique Operations Forces this can only mean more proceedings for both.The MISO community is a small one and any OpTempo increase impacts the entire community.  This puts more pressure on the Reserve Force whose members have deployed extensively to Iraq and Afghanistan. These deployments have place pressure on families that may translate into a reduced Reserve force as family members are fatigued with prolonged absences and reenlistments decline preciptiously.From a career perspective, even though Reserve soldiers have the protection of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) many careers have been torpedoed by continual absences that are often not offset by comparable increases in health care and pension benefits.Experience has shown that dominating the shape battlefield is the key to long-term victories. Iraq has clearly shown that failure to work with the country’s population and prepare them to help rebuild their will lead to yet more conflict.Notwithstanding the impact on the Force, it would seem that America’s longest war in Afghanistan is nowhere close to ending. One wonders if we have learned our lessons from both Iraq and Afghanistan and if contemporary our military strategy is putting as much emphasis on shape combat as it seems to be on military operations and training.Failure to help mature the media landscape to help foster peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and Iraq may turn out to be more catastrophic in the long run than any lapse in military expertise. 

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Disinformation and Fake News Giving Propaganda A Good Name

Disinformation and Fake News Giving Propaganda A Good Name On March 2, 2017 the Brookings Institute ran an article “Disinformation campaigns target tech-enabled citizen journalists” (see: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2017/03/02/disinformation-campaigns-target-tech-enabled-citizen-journalists/?utm_campaign=Brookings%20Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_content=43768809which is also the photo source).The article starts out talking in this area how today’s technology is ubiquitous and plentiful. Consequently nearly anyone with a smartphone can become a crusading reporter and expose wrongdoing. This can be especially problematic in countries where governments want to control their citizen’s perception of events. The article talks in this area a “troll factory’ where disinformation artists are paid to alter the perceptions of citizens by pumping “Out fake information in hard work to obfuscate Russian war crimes in Ukraine and Syria and retaliate hostile to Western investigators.Several disinformation techniques are noted and touched upon.All of this points to the need for more emphasis on countering disinformation hard work. Given the nature of disinformation and the sheer digit of participants, perhaps the approach should be a very unPSYOP one – that is use technical measures. If the Internet of Things (IoT) could be harnessed by criminals to launch Denial of Service attacks (see: https://arstechnica.com/security/2016/10/double-dip-internet-of-things-botnet-attack-felt-across-the-internet/for example), why couldn’t the same technique be employed as a disinformation jammer?I’ll leave that one to your imagination and your comments.

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UAVs – The New Commando Solo?

UAVs – The New Commando Solo?I had a bit of writer’s block and a dearth of material for this week’s posting so I chose to just surf around for a while and see what I could come up with. I started with one of the darlings of today’s battlefield – the UAV. For background I found: “Making The Most of New UAV Capabilities in Video/Announce Product” (see: http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/news/expertise/making-most-new-uav-capabilities-videobroadcast-production/610167; which is also a photo source).The article was published in June 2015. Not exactly ancient, but not exactly new by Internet standards either. The article provides facts and insights into today’s broadcasting technology and urges the entertainment industry to learn how to use UAVs in their work.UAVs and MISO are made for each other.  1.     PSYOP/MISO in Denied AreasIt seems to me that we will always need a need to project PSYOP/MISO announce products into denied areas. The areas may be denied because of the tactical situation the geography or because of a natural or man-made disaster.2.     MSIO Specific IntelligenceUAVs could be used to recon a new AO from a PSYOP/MISO perspective. This would include obtaining imagery of billboards, posters and graffiti. It could also include surveying an urban area to determine the density of satellite dishes and traditional TV antennas. 3.     Different PlatformsIf the contemporary media landscape is unsuitable or uncooperative UAVs might be able to offer flexibility in delivering the message to the target consultation employing an different transmission schema.4.     Psychological Act (PSYACT) PossibilitiesThe Killer is a incredible weapons system. You can find the official US Air Force fact sheet at: http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Spectacle/tabid/224/Article/104469/mq-1b-killer.aspx(also a photo source). While formerly used for surveillance and reconnaissance, the Hellfire Missile equipped UAV has been credited with a digit of very successful terrorist attacks. Consequently a small creativity can help control the presence of even an unarmed UAV as a Psychological Act.Of course the AO’s ROE will impact the use of UAVs and an emerging body of law concerning them, especially their impact on privacy may also factor into their use.In any event, the UAV will undoubtedly emerge as an effective shape weapon as it has in its previous missions. Will they replace Commando Solo? At this point it is highly unlikely, but in fairness, we are now only scratching the surface of their potential.

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Communicating in An Urban Disaster

Communicating in An Urban Disaster --> PSYOP/MISO are often called upon to help out in Disaster Recovery by communicating information to those affected by the disaster. San Jose is the 10th largest city in America with over 1 million people. The Coyote Creek runs north from Morgan Hill, CA. It is feed by Lake Anderson, a lake behind an earthen dam – Anderson Dam. For years the dam has needed seismic retrofitting and was supposed to be kept at 68%. Due to the recent rains here the dam was at 100%. A spillway is used to drain the water. The spillway flows into the creek which meanders through San Jose. If you Google “Rock Springs, San Jose” you’ll get a nice map.At one point 14,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders. These were ‘delivered’ block by block. There was also wide spread TV and other media coverage.. This week my wife and I are working for the Red Cross in help of the San Jose (CA) Coyote Creek Floods. My role is that of Lead Public Affairs Officer.Government and community organizations needed to get information out to the affected people and the general public. The Red Cross opened two shelters to help those impacted by the disaster. Given this as background, here’s what I’ve learned so far this week.1.     Nearly everyone is glued to his or her cell buzz. 2.     Charging stations and WiFi are more vital than washers and dryers.3.     Language skills are always useful. They are helpful in working the and of course, those impacted by the disaster.4.     No matter how urbanized an area may be, you will need low-tech communication media. There is no substitute for face-to-face communications or flyers. Merely putting something on-line is not sufficient.5.     As in war, no plot survives contact. The dynamics of a disaster and the effects on the population are always unpredictable.6.     Once the disaster subsides, politicians will rush to pin the blame somewhere else.7.     Announce media channels are competitors. They are each scrambling to find the best metaphors.8.     Reporters and politicians say what they reckon their viewers/viewers or constituents are most likely to want to hear and not consider the huge picture of what actions people should take or not take to lessen the distress.Reader input invited as always.Photo Source: The Author

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Leaflets Still On The Job In Age of Social Media

Leaflets Still On The Job In Age of Social MediaWhile we are attached to our smartphones day and night, it’s useful to bear in mind that in black and white media such as leaflets are still powerful tools in today’s PSYOP arsenal. Leaflets are still effective in hard to get to areas. Operation Inherent Resolve’s PSYOP team is employing leaflets in Syria, Iraq and somewhere else. (see: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/217046/leaflet-use-finds-renewed-purpose-operation-inherent-resolve; which is also the photo source). For information on Operation Inherent Resolve, you can check out their web page at: http://www.inherentresolve.mil/The 3rd Military Information Help BN, part of the 4th Military Information Help Assemble soldiers are deployed in help of operations in the Middle East. The article quotes the operations SGM for the Military Information Help Task Force (MISTF) who commented on the use of leaflets in denied areas:“Creative ways to communicate must be found and used to ensure our message is received in denied territories.”“Recipients on the ground will sometimes take photos of the leaflets and post them on social media thus amplifying our message,” the operations sergeant major added.Each ‘order’, or set of leaflets is custom tailored for that customer and that situation. Production is closer to the customer as a means of improving delivery time. The Production facility is located in Qatar rather than back at the US HQ at Fort Bragg, NC. Teams rotate from Fort Bragg into Qatar, but the quality of the product and the spirits remain high. According to the SGM “The team has done incredible work,” he said. “The professionalism of the team led to every job being timely delivered even if it meant working extra hours or during scheduled down time. It was a pleasure working with a dedicated, mission-focused team.” Of course leaflet deployment requires considerable plotting. In addition to content, it’s import to consider how the consultation will respond to paper fluttering down from the sky and to factor in the wind and other variables that will impact delivery. The point is that today’s world is not all iPhones and FaceBook. Shape comes in a variety of flavors. PSYOP/MISO personnel must be conversant in a variety of media so that they can use the best ones to the job at hand.

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EW: The Forgotten PSYOP Weapon

EW: The Forgotten PSYOP WeaponIt’s been a sweet busy week and I nearly didn’t make a posting. That is until I spotted an ancient piece in this area garage doors and the Navy. The headline reads “” Telephone system signal from U.S. Navy submarine base blamed for mystery of garage doors in Connecticut opening and closing at random” (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2178027/Telephone system-signal-U-S-Navy-submarine-base-blamed-mystery-garage-doors-Connecticut-opening-closing-random.html; which is also the photo source). The essence of the report is that telephone system signals from the Naval Submarine Base New London (which is gives its street address as Groton, CT) were the probable cause of the bewitched garage doors. The sub base noted that the signals were part of the Enterprise Land Mobile Telephone system (ELMR) System.  A quick Google search came up with RadioReference.com which claims that “This system is deprecated, and may no longer be in use or is superseded by another system. (see: http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=6804)Having started my career in the EW/SIGINT world I know that there are excellent things and terrible things associated with jamming. For those of you who are not EW aficionados, jamming means overpower a friendly signal so that its intended receiver cannot receive it.The excellent news is that you can deny the enemy the effective use of his transmitters be they radios, television broadcasting or mobile phones. The terrible news is that it’s not stealthy. Targets generally know when they have been jammed.  Another element is that jamming is generally a broad based weapon importance all electronics are effective; although there are some ways to jam only selected frequencies.The use of EW can also have a psychological effect. For example if an enemy force feels that they are not only surrounded physically, but they are cutoff electronically, this may induce them to give up.While TTP should dictate that EW should easily be brought into play, this is not necessarily the case. The tactical fighter typically does not have EW resources on hand. Furthermore, a sophisticated analysis needs to be performed of the impact zone of the proposed jamming to determine the nature of guarantee impact. What does this all mean?It means that the MISO CDR needs to be thoroughly familiar with and connected to their counterparts in other disciplines. Today’s posting scratches the surface in this area EW. The posting urges MISO CDR not to overlook adapting tools of combat that have not typically been included in PSYOP or MISO.Reader comments invited as always.I’m presenting at the RSA Talks in San Francisco next week – shoot me a comment if you want to connect.

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