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search came up with RadioReference.com which claims that “This system is deprecated, and may no longer be in use or is superseded by another system.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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President Trump’s Actions Make Winning Hearts & Minds Even Harder

President Trump’s Actions Make Winning Hearts & Minds Even HarderWhen I was in marketing in High Tech, there was always a fantastic dread of tarnishing the brand. Actions that made our company look terrible and causing our potential customers not to buy our products and services.President Trump has taken three actions that are tarnishing the American brand and making our job even harder. “Travel Ban”The first is the ‘Travel Ban’. While the administration maintains it is necessary for national security, the depression is that it is anti-Muslim, a clear go away from America’s tolerance doctrine and a step towards fascism. One article on that topic is from Brookings. (See: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2017/02/01/first-they-came-for-the-iranians/?utm_campaign=Brookings+Concise&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_content=41813767, which is also the photo source)“The Wall”Building a wall on the Mexican border is not an effective way to stem the tide of illegal drugs and immigration from that fantastic nation. Even the President’s own Homeland Security Secretary believes it won’t work (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/us/politics/homeland-security-john-kelly-border-wall.html?_r=0); also a photo source)The Russians tried a wall in Berlin and we know how that worked out(See: http://history.howstuffworks.com/past-events/berlin-wall.htm; and their picture at right).Selling the “American Brand” or influential people around the world that democracy and constitutional freedoms are the best sort of government is hard sufficient. When you tell some ‘you are not welcome’, you are not only denigrating the ideals, but also adage “I despise you!”. While the administration maintains the travel ban is not a ban hostile to Muslims, the world thinks differently, resulting in fantastic danger for people who have helped us in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m talking in this area interpreters in particular. These native citizens literally place their lives on the line to help US and Coalition troops. By invoking such a draconian go, we are turning our backs on the very people responsible for our success.TortureThe third way President Trump is making our job harder is by espousing the believe that torture is really a productive intelligence technique. (See: http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/trump-on-torture-again/)It appears that I am in excellent company. Even James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Secretary of Defense opposes the ban. (see: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/316356-mattis-ruins-different-to-torture-pentagon-says; which is another photo source)I’ve been an analyst of one kind or another – intelligence, market research or legal analyst for most of my adult life, which has been a sweet long time so far. I’ve also taken more than a couple of sales training courses. I am firmly persuaded that torture is not an effective interrogation technique. Even if that repulsive method was helpful, the amount of information gained would in no way come close to the harm in terms of how many new terrorists have been recruited.I know that the President believes in what he is doing, and strangely sufficient for a politician, really subsequent through with campaign promises. I just wish he would have looked at the larger picture before acting.

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Can A Head of State Control Independent Media?

Can A Head of State Control Independent Media?President Trump has taken the most of aggressive position with regard to media than any President in my lifetime (and that’s a long time!). His appointment performance in the debates, his criticism of the media and his constant Tweeting are public confirmation. Recently the President tried to ‘gag’ the USDA, a go that was swiftly reversed after a public outcry.Can any head of state really control a free press in the eyes of the citizen consultation?One pundit, admittedly a very liberal one and former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton is Robert Reich. Nicknamed the “Evil Dwarf” when he was in Washington. Mr. Reich is now Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.He recorded a video on December 22, 2016 that paints a picture (literally with a plotting based cartoon) of how President Trump purportedly attacks Freedom of the Press. (See: http://robertreich.org/post/154819980595, which is also the photo source.)Reich claims that “tyrants have tried to control the press using 4 techniques that, worryingly, Donald Trump is already using.” He lists the techniques as:1.     Berate the media and turn the public hostile to it.2.     Limit media access.3.     Threaten the media.4.     Bypass the media and communicate with the public directly.Fascinatingly sufficient, Professor Reich does not cite any specific examples of anyone who used these techniques.As professional influencers, I’d like you to step back, listen to the small (less than 3 minute video) and let me know what YOU reckon.

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Media Bias: An International Trend

Media Bias: An International Trend Now that Mr. Trump is the Tweeter-n-Chief, it’s appropriate to reflect a bit on the state of the media. Mr. Trump, amongst others was very vocal in criticism of his treatment at the hands of the media. The NY Times Sunday, 15 January 2017 ran an article “Learning to Speak Al Jazeera” (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/14/opinion/sunday/learning-to-speak-al-jazeera.html?_r=0, which is also the photo source). The thesis of the article is that nearly every media outlet is biased and has its own agenda. I did a bit of research to quantify Media Bias a bit more and came across an article in the Student News Daily (see: https://www.studentnewsdaily.com/types-of-media-bias/), which listed the subsequent types of Media Bias:By omissionBy selection of sourcesBy report selectionBy placementBy labelingBy spinIn my view this is a sweet excellent list and could relate to how most people gauge their every day interactions. But these are not the only kinds of bias.Yesterday (19 January 17) I was in a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Class (MCLE). As a California attorney I am required to take 25 credits of MCLE in a 3-year period. Of these 6 hours are required:Legal Ethics: 4 hours (required)Competence Issues (formerly known as Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Substance Abuse or Mental Illness): 1 hour (required)Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society: 1 hour (required)Source: http://mcle.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Requirements.aspxAs it turns out I was earning my Elimination of Bias credit, which ironically is very hard to get, when our instructor pointed out that there were two kinds of bias – the kind you know in this area, and the kind you don’t (hidden). Hidden bias is, according to our instructor, the most insidious of all. She referred to Harvard’s Project Implicit a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on hidden biases (see: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/aboutus.html). They even offer an on-line implicit association test (IAT) test so that you can do some self-calibration. I took one of these tests and upon reflection, its result was not a huge surprise or hidden.In comparing my results with all others who have taken the test I was in the largest assemble – 30% of the total, the next largest were 24, 19 and 18.In summarizing what does all this mean. There are personal and professional biases. You are not very likely going to be able to change personal biases. But, being aware of your biases in your professional life is something to work on. The instructor relayed that training on hidden bias was mandatory. As a result of the training one of the attorneys chose to use a ‘duty roster’ to assign work to his Associates in a more methodical and honest manner.For we in the PSYOP/MISO community, it is vital that we recognize the lenses of our professional and personal biases as we approach our missions. We need to filter these as best as we can in order to be more attuned to our target audiences and surpass able to accomplish our mission.As always, reader comments are encouraged.

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Grassroots Influence – Can It Work?

Grassroots Influence – Can It Work? We all appreciate the complexity of the Middle East. In the hurricane of social media is it possible for a grassroots shape effort to succeed? One example may come from Baghdad, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Damascus. The effort employs Bahlool, a reputation (at right) is a Judge from a ‘very ancient time’ and is well-known in Arabic countries and is designed for the consultation to identify with. The target consultation is men and women between 15 and 25 years ancient. The team is split having people in both Iraq and Syria, they claim that some of their cartoons have gotten over 1 million views.This grassroots effort has been active in jump starting their hard work via FaceBook and YouTube. The effort started in late 2016 and in November, the team claimed: Here’s a quick snapshot from Facebook (as of 25NOV16): Total Likes:                                          119,259 Weekly Page Engaged Users:             446,764 Weekly Total Get to:                           3,151,389 Weekly Organic Get to:                      520,067 Weekly Total Impressions:                 8,499,788 Source: E-mail In December the assemble reported thousands of ‘likes’ and that they were getting many clear comments, suggestions and people wanting to help. Many of the comments were coming from displaced people in Falluja, Ramdai and Anbar. The team summarizes its philosophy by adage we fight ISIS by the thought, not by the gun because guns do not get to the mind. Reader comments encouraged.

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Global Engagement Center – New Focal Point for Countering Propaganda & Disinformation

Global Engagement Center – New Focal Point for Countering Propaganda & Disinformation As a parting holiday gift, President Obama signed the National Defense Act which, included (on page 547) Section 1287 Global Engagement Center (see: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s2943/BILLS-114s2943enr.pdf) According to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and his co-sponsor, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT): NOTE: The bipartisan Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is methodical around two main priorities to help achieve the goal of combatting the constantly evolving threat of foreign disinformation from our enemies:The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering THE foreign propaganda and disinformation being wages hostile to us and our allies by our enemies. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and Plates as well as non-state actors. The Center will be led by the State Department, but with the active senior level partaking of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations by our enemies and proactively advance fact-based narratives that help U.S. allies and interests.Second, the legislation seeks to control expertise from outside government to make more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, reckon tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. This fund will complement and help the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.Source: http://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=F973E46B-AA8C-4F3E-91B4-8EC0FC7F2F3EThere are two ways to look at this latest attempt at central coordination of shape. The clear view is that there is finally recognition that the US does not have a contemporary shape strategy and needs one very terribly. The new law and organization also concedes that the government does not have the internal capability to develop and do this strategy itself. By placing the Global Engagement Center within the Department of State, it can legitimately foster the President’s shape goals as the diplomatic arm of the cabinet.The other, more unenthusiastic view can found in The Event Report (see: http://www.theeventchronicle.com/fake-news-agenda/obamas-christmas-gift-america-countering-disinformation-propaganda-act/#), which is also the photo source and The Right Pundit (http://truepundit.com/obama-quietly-signs-the-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act-into-law/). The unenthusiastic view is deeply distrustful of government shape activity and compares the new Global Engagement Center to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984.As with many polarizing actions, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. The US clearly needs an overarching shape strategy and critics have legitimate cause for concern based on what many perceive as the dismal track confirmation of shape hard work in Afghanistan and Iraq and the media criticism of the use of contractors to further DOD shape goals abroad.Of course DOD’s actual role is unclear and the establishment of the Center within Department of State follows the civilian rule of government theory. Experience has shown that the practice will be far more hard than the conception.Reader input keenly sought.

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Millennials Are A Tough Propaganda Target – Even For the Chinese

Millennials Are A Tough Propaganda Target – Even For the ChineseI had the best intentions of taking two weeks off for the Blog, but in reading the NY Times on my iPad this morning I came across “Propaganda With A Millennial Twist Pops Up in Plates” (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/world/asia/plates-propaganda-communist-party-millennials.html?_r=0; which is also the photo source) It seems that even the government of the PRC is having issues trying to shape their younger citizens. They have even resorted to hiring outside contractors who translate government messages into animation designed to appeal to millennials. It must be quite a challenge to transmit messages from the most controlling of Chinese leaders in way that will appeal to digital natives. Chinese President Xi Jinping realizes the importance of employing the native digital media to get to millennials. He also realizes that shape is not a quick business and often requires the classic media doctrine of frequency and get to.According to the article, “the party has invested millions in animated videos that cast Mr. Xi as a compassionate champion of Chinese workers. Scholars have delivered TED-style talks that rail hostile to Western imperialism. Hip-hop songs pay homage to party history and warn of America’s hard work to topple the Chinese government.”The article also points out that the venerable People’s Daily is employing video and animation. But, it is quite comforting to learn that these government sponsored hard work are not universally accepted. While some videos may have one viral – that’s a rate of production (how many), not a rate of effectiveness (how well they accomplish their shape mission.

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Does FaceBook Read The PSYOP Regiment Blog?

Does FaceBook Read The PSYOP Regiment Blog? I posted on Fake news yesterday, 14 December 16. Today I received a summary from Wired Magazine which featured: Facebook Finally Gets Real In this area Fighting Fake News (see: https://www.wired.com/2016/12/facebook-gets-real-fighting-fake-news/?mbid=nl_121516_p3&CNDID=38062549; which is also the photo source).Highlights of the article are:·      A Flood of Fact Checking·      Eyeballs and Ad Dollars (they are re-evaluating which publishers may violate their Consultation Network ad policies and (by the side of with Google) punish fake news sites.While I’m sweet sure FB is not one of my loyal readers, I did find the timing a bit more than coincidental. I guess this comes with being long time military, competitive and legal analyst.

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