We Need MISO For Every Line Unit – Including The Nation Guard

We Need MISO For Every Line Unit – Including The Nation GuardI had the honor and pleasure of spending time with the members of the 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard and their employers while serving as an Outreach Advocate for the DOD Employer Help of the Guard & Reserve program.The Division will be sending a contingent to Kandahar province in Afghanistan to bolster Operation Resolute Help and the training mission there. (see: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_52060.htm?selectedLocale=en; which is a photo source).The Divisions G3 who will gathering as the CJ3 once deployed gave an unclassified briefing in this area the Division’s mission. Essentially they are supporting the training hard work for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP).Of necessity division personnel will be going ‘out of the wire’ to help facilitate and conduct training. I have no personal knowledge of the Force make-up over there, but, I do know that there is no organic MISO in the National Guard and I’m sweet sure that USAR and active MISO do not train with them on a regular basis.This is a mix. MISO Tactical Teams are specially trained to work with the local population and help form clear opinions in help of deployed forces. They are also able to work with local media (if there are any) to help them be with you the nature of the local population.While MISO and Civil Affairs personnel are not intelligence collectors, they are knowledgeable observers who can provide meaningful and insightful information to intelligence and operations personnel.As the OpTempo continues to ramp up, consideration should be given to augmenting units who go out of the wire with MISO personnel. Perhaps the best way to start is by joint training opportunities in CONUS and overseas.(Other photos are from the author.)

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Counterespionage – An Indicator of Effective Influence?

Counterespionage – An Indicator of Effective Influence?The July 19, 2007 edition of the UK publication Send a message to (see: http://www.send a message to.co.uk/news/2017/07/19/eu-employing-counter-espionage-tools-brexit-talks-amid-fears/, which is also the photo source) ran an article “EU employees espionage tools at Brexit talks amid fears of British spying”. The article talks in this area the security concerns of the EU BREXIT negotiating team.The implication is that the EU is concerned that Britain would use unfair means to learn in this area the plans and intentions of the EU team. Is it possible to interpret this in another way?Augmented security hard work reflect a dread that the ‘enemy’ is gaining an advantage in the ‘battle’. In this case the battle is over the terms of the British exit from the EU.In other situations, Venezuela for instance, augmented actions hostile to opponents are often cloaked in security terms when the real motivation is that the enemy force is winning the shape battle in the mind of public opinion. Reader comments invited.

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Are "Moose & Squirell" in TV Business?

Are "Moose & Squirell" in TV Business?Everyone knows that Rocky and Bullwinkle were the excellent guys and that Boris and Natasha were Russian spies, but did you know they also battle for global TV ratings? (Photo Source: http://beliefmakers.blogspot.com/2013/02/say-moose-and-squirrel.html)The June 17, 2017 Economist ran a small article “Contemporary Time” (see: http://econ.st/2tdxf6t; which is also the photo source.) The article profiles what they term “America’s answer to Russian propaganda”. In the olden days of the first Cold War the cross border propaganda battles were the stuff of legends. America’s government sponsored broadcasters of Voice of America, Telephone system Free Europe and Telephone system Liberty were the US’ way of providing the truth to citizens of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Block to counter the powerful effect of Communist propaganda.The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) (see: https://www.bbg.gov/) is hoping to counter recent Russian propaganda momentum with a 24-hour Russian-language TV channel called Contemporary Time. You can find out in this area Contemporary Time at their rather drab website: https://www.currenttime.tv/p/6018.html. It was reported that Contemporary Time videos were viewed 40M times on line during May 2017. Contemporary Time like its sister networks, as government sponsored entities are governed by US law which says they must “provide objective journalistic coverage, on topics consistent with American polices and values”. In general I am not a proponent of government run communications. For one thing viewers (or viewers) realize the station’s source and regard it with a grain of salt. In addition it seems sweet clear to me that the kind of programming fare existing by government run organizations cannot compete with entertainment from the private sector.Yet millions of dollars are budgeted for these hard work. If any of my readers have any feedback on their effectiveness, I’d appreciate a comment or two.

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Blog Entry 500: The Rumors of the Demise of the “Caliphate” May Be Greatly Exaggerated

Blog Entry 500: The Rumors of the Demise of the “Caliphate” May Be Greatly Exaggerated This entry marks the 500th entry into the PSYOP Regimental Blog. In December 2007 I took electrons in hand in a way that I hoped would help to advance the state of Psychological Operations (PSYOP). As the then Honorary Colonel of the PSYOP Regiment of the US Army I plotting it was my duty to use my writing talents to highlight develops in PSYOP now referred to in US doctrine as Military Information Help Operations (MISO). At first I plotting this auspicious 500th post should wax eloquently in this area the last ten years and offer some Gandalf like insight into the prospect as expressed by the past. Then I realized that while I write the Blog party because I like to, I write what I want because, someone has to.One of my favorite authoritative publications is the Economist. On July 7 they published an article “the Islamic State nears its end” (see: http://econ.st/2ufdHlZ, which is also a photo source). The article addresses Mosul, Iraq of today and how the failure to heed lessons learned from previous failures in Iraq (and somewhere else) may lead to yet other variations of jihadist or bias. The Economist has no illusions that a military victory is not an end, rather it is a beginning. Just because an enemy force does not have a of ground to call its own, doesn’t mean that it is defeated.Task and Purpose, another one of my favorite sources, in black and white an article covering the interview that SecDef Mattis had with an enterprising High School student (see: http://taskandpurpose.com/high-school-interview-james-mattis/; another photo source). One of the key points he made during that interview was “I don’t care for ideological people. It’s like those people just want to stop thinking,” Mattis said. “I reckon ideologies can be countered by showing people a surpass education and hope for the prospect by learning how to get by the side of with one another. And for all of our problems in our country, we’re probably still the best example of that in the world.”The SecDef knows that ideologies are not defeated with guns, rather these evil thoughts only fall by the wayside when they are no longer relevant and abandoned by their former believers.Helping audiences recognize that democracy and the freedoms of speech and religious conviction that come with it provide a lifestyle in which individuals, families and communities can thrive is a major step forward to eliminating terrorism. Helping convince people is what we in the PSYOP community do. I hope that the Regimental Blog, in it’s nearly 10 year and 500 posting history has had a small part in furthering that goal.

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Lego Propaganda: Children Are The Target of Long Term Influence Efforts

Lego Propaganda: Children Are The Target of Long Term Influence Efforts Over the years  I have made a digit of posts production with long term shape campaigns aimed at children. Most of these have been centered on the Middle East and feature cartoons and other TV programs designed to picture ‘an enemy’ in such a way as to condition children to despise at any early age. Thanks to several sources, I was turned on to an effort to provide counterfeit Legos as a way to picture ISIS as the excellent guys. (see: http://bit.ly/2sGeMDn; which is also the photo source). This three-dimensional propaganda is being sold in Malaysia and Australia.Let’s look at some the targeting for a moment. Malaysia is a country of   over 30 million people (see: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/malaysia-population/), over 60% of whom are Moslem. Australia’s Moslem population is quite small. The country has a population of slightly less than 25 million (same source as Malaysia), but the Moslem population is estimated at in this area 600,000 (2.4%) But, this reflects a 77% jump over the past ten years according to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4641728/Digit-Muslims-Australia-soars-Census-2016.html.My younger grand daughter and one of her cousins were Lego enthusiasts prior to their High School days. The phase started in this area 9 and continued through middle school. While I’m not an expert, this would seem to be the perfect target age to start planting the seeds of Homegrown Violent Extremism (HVE). If you want more info on HVE, check out interviews and materials by my esteemed colleague Dr. Erroll Southers (http://talglobal.com/erroll-southers/)Sorry to say Western Plotting and Doctrine does not favor long term investments, perhaps helping children around the world be with you more in this area freedom and democracy should be an exception to this rule.

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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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