Cultural Knowledge 101 – Vital to PSYOPers

Cultural Knowledge 101 – Vital to PSYOPers NFL Summer training camps always start with the fundamentals. I came across an article in the July 31, 2016 photograph edition of the NY Times, “When ‘Yes’ Means Not A Chance”, it appears on-line as “How to Deal With A Foreign Colleague Who Can’t Say No” (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/jobs/how-to-deal-with-a-foreign-colleague-who-cant-say-no.html?_r=0, which is also the photo source). The essence of the article is that you need to be familiar with local culture and customs no matter where you go. The article addresses some basic concepts such as “on time”, which in many cultures, means whenever it happens.The article touches on graft and corruption as an every day fact of life in many places and how the notion of ‘law and order’ doesn’t necessarily mean that at all. The need for cultural familiarity, to include nuances and small known ‘rules’ is a vital element in the success or failure of localizing products from a far off location.I worked for Symantec for many years in Corporate Marketing. Corporate was the keeper of the brand and the source of global campaigns and marketing materials. But, each region needed to not only pick and chose what was appropriate for their market and their audiences, but how to modify the corporate piece so that it would be effective.As your team hits the practice field – maybe you should too.A very unique ‘shout out’ to my brothers and sisters attending the POVA meeting in Fayetteville – I’m with you in moral fiber.

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Sarcasm Is Not A Good Approach To Tackle ISIS

Sarcasm Is Not A Good Approach To Tackle ISISAs many of you know, as a native Brooklynite, I have been often accused of being sarcastic. Over the years I’ve learned that sarcasm can be a sharp weapon of humor, but not a general-purpose approach. I believe successful sarcasm is steeped in hint and must be tailored to a particular situation. It came as somewhat of a surprise to me that the State Department was employing sarcasm in their shape campaign as detailed in a NY Times article of Friday, July 29, 2016 (see: U.S. Drops Snark in Favor of Emotion to Undercut Extremists at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/world/middleeast/isis-recruiting.html?_r=0; which is also the photo source.) which is also the photo source.)The article goes on to describe the approach to shape those who might leave their native countries to fight on behalf of ISIS. Media include: Facebook Instagram and Twitter. The article clarification that there is also a need to distance the message from the source. That it is very likely that any message which appeared to come from the US government would be discarded out of hand. The viewer or reader was more often ‘annoyed at its smug sarcasm rather than appalled at the horrific metaphors on the screen’ according to the article. This comment resonates with me because the target consultation has a mental picture of their personal assessment of ISIS where even horrific metaphors purportedly portraying them would not go the shape needle.Perhaps another error in judgment with the sarcastic approach is that one size or in this case, one message does not fit all. Research cited in the article and a dose of common sense would seem to indicate, that while there are common threads of motivating factors, the mix influencing each individual would differ significantly. The shape missions is a hard one and the disparity of the consultation in terms of geography may very well be just as varied as the reasons that shape them. One thing though is for sure -  the sarcastic approach is not working here.

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Fighting ISIS With Humor!

Fighting ISIS With Humor!It must be ISIS day today. Even though I just posted the Twofer entry, I couldn’t resist passing by the side of this article from the Economist. In my earlier posting I noted that there were a digit of forces at play:1.     “The use of offensive cyber weapons hostile to a non-traditional enemy.2.     The employment of cyber shape by the side of with traditional Military Information Help Operations (MISO).3.     The execution of a coordinated set of operations involving both.4.     Booster of other resources be they COTS, contract, mercenary or volunteers.”According to a July 14th article from the Economist “Fighting Islamic State with laughter and a listening ear “ (see: http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2016/07/banter-terrorists, which is also the photo source) The administrator of the effort, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons claimed that the effort is run by “claims that it is run by a assemble of volunteer activist lawyers, journalists and graphic designers from across the Arab world (including some in IS-held territories).”, or #4 on my list above.The article states: “The Bighdaddy show, a collection of small videos satirising IS, is named after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, IS’s leader.”According to the article it’s a regional effort on Social Media. Of course, there are no Nielsen ratings for Social Media.  I’m not an Arabic speaker, so I can’t comment on whether or not nuances of the language are appropriate, but I am of the opinion that these kinds of hard work are likely to be more effective than those that are produced beyond the area.

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An ISIS Twofer As Today’s Posting

An ISIS Twofer As Today’s Posting There is no doubt that ISIS is one of our primary threats today. Part of the challenge is that they are an global, non-traditional threat and unlike nation states – do not play by any rules. It’s no secret that ISIS has become practiced at employing technology to achieve their nefarious goals. At the moment it appears that our rule book isn’t working and that we are playing bump-up on two fronts: propaganda and cyber.An brilliant background article, “Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine.” appeared in November of last year. The article gives the reader an inside view of the ISIS propaganda machine.“(see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/inside-the-islamic-states-propaganda-machine/2015/11/20/051e997a-8ce6-11e5-acff-673ae92ddd2b_story.html?tid=a_inl, which is also a photo source). “Quick forward to 7/15/16 and we come across the article “U.S. military has launched a new digital war hostile to the Islamic State” (see:https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-militarys-digital-war-hostile to-the-islamic-state-is-off-to-a-slow-start/2016/07/15/76a3fe82-3da3-11e6-a66f-aa6c1883b6b1_story.html) which describes the hard work of Cyber Mandate to engage the enemy digitally. Juxtaposing the two articles seems to give the edge to our adversary. The two articles leave you with the depression that the enemy has maintained the high ground in propaganda while the US is playing bump-up in production with the cyber battlefield and the digital shape war.Of course, there is the on-going cat and mouse game where each party doesn’t really want to reveal how successful they may have been or if and how their enemy has negatively impacted their hard work. Yet it makes logical sense to step back for a moment.I have always believed that ‘you train as you fight’. Unless you have trained and exercised to accomplish a task you are not likely to be very excellent at it. There are several parallel hard work at work here:1.     The use of offensive cyber weapons hostile to a non-traditional enemy.2.     The employment of cyber shape by the side of with traditional Military Information Help Operations (MISO).3.     The execution of a coordinated set of operations involving both.4.     Booster of other resources be they COTS, contract, mercenary or volunteers.One wonders how training is preparing our force to engage and dominate these battles. 

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Can International Law be a theme for MISO?

Can International Law be a theme for MISO?The Economist published an on-line article from their 16 July 16 Photograph edition, “The South Plates Sea – Courting Distress” (see: http://www.economist.com/news/plates/21702069-region-and-america-will-now-nervously-await-chinas-response-un-appointed-panel?cid1=cust/ednew/n/bl/n/20160714n/owned/n/n/nwl/n/n/NA/n; which is also the photo source.) The upshot of the article  is that “the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an global panel in The Hague, has declared Plates’s “historic claims” in the South Plates Sea invalid”. The details of the case are not necessarily vital here, and you can read in this area them in the article or somewhere else.From a MISO perspective, let’s say you’re in a conflict where a case has gone to this venue or another respected global jurisdiction and the verdict came down on your side. Does this make it a fantastic theme for MISO?You might be tempted to jump to the conclusion that a respected global venue would certainly be a fantastic explanation and MISO theme. But, like many things legal related – it depends.If your consultation is one that respects global law and that court in particular and/or the consultation is more or less in favor of your argument, then it just might work.Sorry to say if your consultation doesn’t believe that the court is honest or if the consultation is  blatantly and perhaps irrationally different to your point of view , then your “global law argument” is not likely to be very effective.If you run the campaign anyway, you might convince some people, but more likely you will provide fodder for the adversary.Reader input encouraged!

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Internet of Things – A MISO Tool Whose Time Is Near

Internet of Things – A MISO Tool Whose Time Is NearGiven all the recent terrorist attacks by Daesh and their brethren, I was looking for an slant for MISO that had some legs. In my ‘day’ job at TAL Global Corporation in addition as serving as General Counsel, I’m the technology guy. This means that I manage data forensics investigations and integrate technology into investigations (e.g. covert video) when it makes sense under the circumstances.I’m also the proud owner of a new vehicle that sends me more e-mail than my younger son. Consequently, he Internet of Things (IoT) seemed like a logical topic. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, the IoT is connecting of formerly independent devices such as your car, TV, refrigerator, home thermostat, etc to the Internet.  You can find out more at: https://www.wired.com/2015/12/2015-the-year-the-internet-of-things-got-hacked/A excellent example of how the IoT can make a PSYACT is show on the video in the link for this posting’s photo (http://www.secureworldexpo.com/criminals-are-going-high-tech-and-driving-away-stolen-cars?utm_source=SW+Post+July+7%2C+2016&utm_campaign=SW+Post%3A+July+7%2C+2016&utm_medium=send by e-mail).The article and the video show a proof of concept of how it is possible to take over a target’s car remotely. While the temptation might be to turn that opportunity into a more lethal operation, combining the control of an vehicle with a video message would seem to be a sweet excellent way to get someone’s attention.Of course, this is probably a tactic you could only use once on a target because they would be sweet stupid if they did not increase the physical security of their vehicle after such an incident, but perhaps once is sufficient.Reader input encouraged!

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The Varsity of Propaganda: The Publicity Department of the CCCP – 中共中央宣传部 [zhōnɡ ɡònɡ zhōnɡ yānɡ xuān chuán bù]

The Varsity of Propaganda: The Publicity Department of the  CCCP - 中共中央宣传部 [zhōnɡ ɡònɡ zhōnɡ yānɡ xuān chuán bù] While we often go to fantastic lengths to disassociate PSYOP from Propaganda, we recognize that it is vital to study the hard work of others to shape their target audiences. The Economist of June 25, 2016 featured an article “Who draws the party line?” (see: http://www.economist.com/news/plates/21701169-xi-jinping-sends-his-spin-doctors-spinning-who-draws-party-line, which is also the photo source.The article describes the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. It’s shape on the kind of massive scale you would frequent with the People’s Republic of Plates (PRC). According to the article the Department “around $10 billion a year trying to get the Chinese government’s opinions into foreign media outlets.” The Department directly or indirectly ‘supervises 3,300-odd television stations, nearly 2,000 newspapers and nearly 10,000 periodicals.” And churns out nearly 500,000 pro-government tweets a year!The article goes on to describe some of the political machinations associated with the Department. They talk in this area how the Department has to “keep pace with the chancing political requirements of its boss”.From a MISO community perspective, I wonder how much overlap and exchange there is between the Department and those exciting with MISO in the People’s Liberation Army. One could argue that since the PLA and the Department both serve the Party and of course, Xi Jinping, Plates’s president, shouldn’t these entities be able to go people between them to broaden each other’s horizons?The article concludes: “Like media organizations everywhere, the Publicity Department is struggling to keep pace with changing consumer demands. Unlike most such organizations, it is also having to keep pace with the changing political requirements of its boss, Mr. Xi. As an institution, these have made it more vital than it was.”It’s nice to know that consumerism is befuddling to even the largest shape organizations.

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A Perspective on Media: Today and Tomorrow

A Perspective on Media: Today and Tomorrow During the week of June 7, 2016 I had the pleasure attending a talks by the side of with other Public Affairs Officers from a major non-profit organization. We had a digit of highly experienced and insightful speakers. I’ve tried to capture the highlights of their comments here for you. Media Today·      Audiences are disloyal and disaggregated.·      Competition Contemporary Best Practice Tips and Fascinating Facts·      Videos are a growing part of the media landscape. Keep them under 2 ½ minutes with 60 seconds a reasonable general target.·      Defend, but don’t proffer unenthusiastic tales. Don’t give unenthusiastic tales any exposure than necessary/minimal direct rebuttal.o   Insure that all defenders are on the same messages.·      National US media now target the 8thgrade reading level.·      Making the call to the media is surpass than getting the call from them.o   Note but:o   Be George Clooney not a Kardashian.§  George Clooney picks his media spots, a Kardashian or one of their body parts seems to be everywhere all the time.·      Saturday telephone system from 7 AM through 1 PM is the equivalent to midday/weekdays in terms of rating. ·      Tales are essentially in this area Characters (People) who overcome obstacles to achieve a worthy outcome. ·      Key angles for attractive tales:o   Conflicto   Authenticityo   Perspective – become a resource ·      Characteristics of wanted tales:o   You can’t Google them.o   They place the selected standard ahead of their competition.o   It’s new, not the same as previous items.o   Bears in mind that each approver (Exec Producer, News Director, etc.) has their own agenda and biases.·      Tales resonate when:o   They have an emotional connection – compelling personal tales.o   Impact the audienceo   Viewer Benefito   Empower the viewero   Don’t waste the viewer’s time.o   Place a face on the data·      Use digital platforms for videos – e.g. FaceBook·      Types of Today’s Mediao   P          Paid Mediao   E          Earned Mediao   S          Mutual Mediao   O         Owned MediaThe Prospect of Media·      The prospect of media is immersive and visual. The NY Times cardboard viewer is a preview of what is to come. People want to engage more of their senses to be a part of the proceedings rather than just a viewer.Photo Source: http://www.toublanc.info/newsboy/newsboy-clip-art-public-domain

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A PSYOPerator Has to Been More Than PSYOP Qualified

A PSYOPerator Has to Been More Than PSYOP Qualified One of the reasons I like working exercises is that they are a way to see what you can do and what you can’t do. A couple of weeks ago I served as the IO Role Player in an implementation simulating assisting a country with some disaffected military and political issues. This required me to act as the Personnel IO Officer, but more importantly I’m in the weeds of the MISO help to the operation. While the scenario and MESL are both pre-written, sometimes the Implementation Director throws a curve ball. During the last implementation I had to plot a MISO from scratch. Of course I had to figure out the MISO part – but there were other things I had to do and know before I could even approach the MISO component.First I had to reckon like the CDR. No matter how detailed the CONOP, or how many briefings are given and received, there is always something that is left out and you need to be with you the hidden or implicit elements of the huge operation and your piece of it.You need to be comfortable with mapping the main operation and your piece. In our world this may also mean understanding the nuances of the terrain and the weather as they might effect leaflet drops or telephone system wave procreation.We also need to be with you the information and digital battlefields. This means meaningful  your traditional high payoff media, and how you might integrate social media and mobile phones. Consider how the country would be knowledgeable of a natural disaster across a large area and be sure you be with you the legal and regulatory landscape as well.Once you have crafted your MISO, you’ll need to develop MOE. Lastly you need to develop different MISO COA so that you can quickly change your shape fires depending on the outcome of your MISO and the ‘huge’ operation.As always, reader input is encouraged!

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