Blowing up a symbol – act of defiance or desperation?

Blowing up a symbol – act of defiance or desperation?There are two articles in this area the destruction of the Al Nuri Mosque in Mosul. The NY Times calls it “Another Loss for Mosul” (see: http://nyti.ms/2sVnSL8, which is a photo source) and Task & Purpose, one of my favorite military sources, calls it “ISIS Just Rage – Quit The Siege of Mosul ….” (see: http://bit.ly/2rGIrI3, which is also a photo source.)Both articles shape that the Mosque was a center of gravity the center of the purported Daesh Caliphate.The Times provides a lot of information in this area the history and shape of the Mosque over time.Task & Purpose goes into more detail from a tactical perspective and addresses the ISIS claim that the mosque was ruined by an allied airstrike.From my perspective, Symbolism and PSYOP are not lost on ISIS. Time and again they have proven that they be with you the shape game. By blowing up the Mosque they deny the probable victors endless shape opportunities.The Mosque has been prominent in Mosul for centuries and it is a revered and familiar symbol. While in ISIS hands it served them well as a showcase while it was in their hands. The destruction of the Mosque is another example of how ISIS routinely ignores rules of any kind, whether religious or secular or humanity, to further their own cause. Their track confirmation of destroying religious artifacts is well known with the Mosque being only the latest example.Even when people see through the shallow ISIS claim that the Mosque was ruined by an air strike is proven fake; the victors will not be able to use the ancient Mosque as a platform to proclaim their victory and the righteousness of their cause.While I’m an Shape Operations kind of guy, there is another perspective and that is “To Counter ISIS, You Must Embrace Violence” (see: http://bit.ly/2sZoAry, also a photo source.) I’ll save violence as a PSYAct for another day

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Twitter Is A Game With Real Consequences

Twitter Is A Game With Real Consequences I’m not much of games player, but I chose to play one today. I chose to follow @POTUS. I mean after all, how often is it that you can get statements right from the Horse’s Mouth.The President has often been criticized for this Tweet from the Hip style. I dare say that it was that style that helped get him the White House in the first house. Does President Trump know how to play the Twitter game? It would seem so. (Photo Source: https://twitter.com/POTUS)Others, like the media, perhaps, not nearly as excellent as be with you the Twitter Game.On May 23, 2017 the NY Times published an article free “How Twitter is Being Gamed to Feed Misinformation” (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/31/technology/how-twitter-is-being-gamed-to-feed-misinformation.html?_r=0; which is also a photo source).   My own career has been intertwined with the media as well. I wrote articles for a variety of publications, published a couple of newsletters, and continue to write this Blog after nearly 10 years.I’ve also been someone who has worked with the global media in government, commercial and non-profit roles.I’m learning that Twitter is not a purveyor of truth, but more of a conduit for thoughts emotions and messages. Tweeting is an accepted form of journalism and Tweets themselves are sources for journalists. As the article clarification the 140 reputation format is a godsend for journalists and others looking for small, pithy quotes that make their job simpler. Sorry to say it doesn’t make the journalist more accurate, it just rewards laziness.Twitter can also be the voice of the herd. Public interest and concern in this area national disasters can be gleaned from the type and velocity of Tweets in this area it. Traffic peaks and ebbs, reflecting the cumulative perspective of the herd.Twitter is a notoriously unreliable source whose constituency includes  unreal people and groups and whose platform allows small groups to act and shape as huge ones.People and robotic re-Tweeting can add gasoline to the fire as noted in the article.Given its importance perhaps those exciting with implementing MISO should have a proficiency test as they do with their personal weapons.Reader input invited.

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Is it time to retire Loud Speakers in Favor of LRAD?

Is it time to retire Loud Speakers in Favor of LRAD?Frankly I didn’t know what a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) was until I saw an article in the June 1, 2017 in black and white edition of the NY Times which you can find on-line at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/nyregion/sound-cannon-protest-lawsuit-long-range-acoustic-device.html?_r=0, (which is also a photo source). The article addressed a law suit filed as a result of LRAD use on December 5, 2014 at a protest in Midtown Manhattan hostile to a grand jury’s failure to indict a police officer whose choke hold killed Eric Garner. Amongst other capabilities, the LRAD can inflict permanent hearing hurt although the article clarification that the LRAD was designed to repel boarders after the attack on the USS Cole. Compared to a noise flame thrower, the LRAD offers a digit of other capabilities as clarified on the vendor website: https://www.lradx.com/, which is another photo source.The vendor shows variants of the LRAD that can provide Mass Notification or Public Address capabilities as well as integrate with existing communication systems. There is also the capability of employing the devices remotely.  If one burrows down a bit in LRAD Corp’s website, under the Investor tab, you will find a Corporate Presentation. Slide 12 which appears here gives the company’s position with in the defense industry. It would seem that the HA & DR application would be a MISO/PSYOP mission while Large Crowd Communications might be a Military Police or MISO/PSYOP mission.As with many of today’s defense systems, the LRAD is complex, yet modular. Thus far the LRAD appears to be vehicle mounted and does not seem to be available in a Man Pack configuration at this time.Given the range of capabilities, operators will need to undergo some very solid training on ROE and the legal aspects of LRAD use. While permanent hearing hurt has been noted as a potential outcome, the lethality of this weapon has not been tested.For example, if the LRAD is ‘fired’ at a moving vehicle disrupting the operation and causing a fatality – does his go LRAD into the lethal force domain or not.  Reader input appreciated.

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Your BFF is a Cossack!

Your BFF is a Cossack!Magazine via an article passed to me by a colleague, the Russians are employing electronic http://time.com/4783932/inside-russia-social-media-war-america/; which is also the photo source. surrogates across Social Media as a means of waging war. (See: One of the fascinating aspects of the campaign described in the article is the combined use of people and mechanization to accelerate the pace of the social media battle. The deft use of algorithms to determine targets and key targeting hot buttons helps to add focus and impetus to the hard work. Custom tailored messages can be sent by a amalgamation of people and bots in a cleverly orchestrated campaign to alter actions and opinions. The ancient adage ‘no none knows you’re a dog on the internet’ should be taken a step further. No one knows who you really are or who you can be on Social Media would be more accurate.Just as an individual can take on fictional characteristics in a virtual reality game, it has become quite simple to develop a fake Social Media persona and exploit that persona as needed. Each piece of propaganda in Social Media is a seed. The seeds are fed and nurtured until, much like Audrey II from Small Shop of Horrors – they are not only out on their own, but possibly more powerful than those who helped make them in the first house (Photo source for Audrey 2: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/villains/metaphors/d/de/Audrey2.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20091118000047)

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SOCOM Deployments: A Predictor Of Future Combat

SOCOM Deployments: A Predictor Of Future CombatI spent more time than typical in front of my computer today and as a reward left my more enjoyable and fascinating e-mail for the end of the day. I was struck by the juxtaposition of two articles. The first was from the May 17, 2017 Task & Purpose, “5 Maps that Show The Military Hotspots The US Military is Deployed Right Now” (see: http://bit.ly/2raCZjY; which is also a photo source. As an analyst I tend to look for things that are scarce. Top of the ‘scarce’ list is the deployment of 300 Marines to Norway. The Army’s list showed a deployment of 3,500 in Poland. These two deployments are clearly meant to counter a perceived Russian threat and/or to make a statement in this area one. Given the headlines of actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – these two stood out.On the Navy list I was somewhat surprised to see that the USS Carney Ross is deployed to South Sudan. I plotting South Sudan was land locked which would make it a bit hard to deploy an Arliegh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer internal. As it turns out, this potential anomaly tied into the second article from Task & Purpose on May 18, 2017 “Report: SOCOM Has More Troops in Africa Than Anywhere Except the Middle East” (see: http://bit.ly/2qOKJaf; which is also a photo source.)One could view the non-SOCOM Deployments as actions that are in play. Importance that these conflict areas have sufficient going-on that it is necessary to station square forces. The Marines and the Navy, generally viewed as more mobile can be shifted to other locations more quickly.But, the largest takeaway is that SOCOM forces are a ‘preview to coming attractions’ and portend where the next major deployments can be probable to take house. BG Donald Bolduc, head of SOCAFRICA’s thoughts were summarized as ““Africa’s challenges could make a threat that surpasses the threat that the United States currently faces from conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria,” Bolduc warned. He went on to cite a laundry list of challenges with which he and his personnel must contend: ever-expanding illicit networks, terrorist safe havens, attempts to subvert government authority, a steady stream of new recruits and resources.”Reader comments, as always are encouraged and I’m especially curious as to feedback on the Carney Ross.

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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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