Does Cyberwar Mean Cyber PSYOP/MISO?

Does Cyberwar Mean Cyber PSYOP/MISO?The NY Times of 25 April 2015 ran “US Cyberattacks Target ISIS in a New Line of Combat” featuring the CDR of Cyber Mandate and DIRNSA (pictured at right) (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/25/us/politics/us-directs-cyberweapons-at-isis-for-first-time.html?_r=0which is also the photo source)The article focuses on the cyber mission of disrupting enemy communications and sowing distrust amongst potential recruits because their communications with the terrorist assemble are no longer secure.The use of cyber can be plotting of as an extension of President Obama’s philosophy of avoiding the use of troops on the ground and of favoring unique operations of all flavors.The article goes on to describe how these attacks are supposed to be targeting the money trail and by the use of cyber Military Deception (MILDEC). The article then goes on to chat about the balance between the proceedings and the revelation of sources and capabilities.Noticeably absent, at least in my opinion, were CyberPSYOP specifics. No one can deny that the Cyberattacks will have a psychological impact and are therefore PSYActs – but what in this area cyber oriented campaigns designed to hamper recruitment? When the article talks in this area ‘jumbling’ does it mean altering websites or Social Media to change the message from recruiting to warning the reader to stay away?What in this area specific cyber ‘leaflets’, e-mails, SMS, Tweets and other messages aimed at altering the actions of the target? Clearly now that the cyber cat is out of the bag, these kinds of actions would seem more than appropriate – if not necessary ones.If any of y’all out there see any articles describing CyberPSYOP/MISO – please send the links my way!

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Muppets and The Taleban

Muppets and The TalebanThe April 11, 2016 New York Times ran an article “New Muppet Helps Give Afghan Girls Role Model” (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/12/world/asia/afghan-sesame-street-introduces-zari-a-muppet-and-role-model-for-girls.html?_r=0, which is also the photo source).“Zari” pictured at right will be appearing on “Baghch-eSimsim” or Sesame Garden in Afghanistan. The new reputation is being introduced to provide a role model for girls in a country not exactly known for its ‘equal opportunity’.I’m a huge fan of Sesame Street, my kids grew up on it and I consider the Puppet Museum in Atlanta as one of my favorite places. I also believe that we buy many of our values and habits while we’re kids, so the concept of using entertainment to convey messages and values makes a fantastic deal of sense.In fact, two years ago I did a posting on Palestinian children’s programming (see: http://psyopregiment.blogspot.com/2013/04/early-shape-is-hard-to-overcome.html).Going back to Afghanistan for a moment – who is watching? According to the INTERNEWS project (http://data.internews.org/af-media/, the map source) 45% of the country owns a TV set, in a country where illiteracy is pegged at 41%.It should also be noted that there is a spillover factor to adult viewership as well. We could speculate that these 25 minute programs are aired during the day and that most of the adults home at that time are women giving Zari a twofer in empowerment messaging.It would be fascinating to see if these programs are watched and if they have any long-term effects. If anyone has any research or references in the area of the shape of children’s programming – I’d appreciate the pointer.

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UAV’s and Propaganda

UAV’s and PropagandaLast night my wife and I saw “Eye in the Sky” with Helen Mirren (see: http://www.wired.com/2016/04/eye-in-the-sky-modern-war-film/) .The film does a nice job of dramatizing the choice making behind the go/no-go choice for an attack. The scenario is set in Kenya, an ally. Helen Mirren, as a British Colonel has been tracking a British national who was radicalized, her husband and two new suicide bomber recruits. The plot leads all of the suspects to be in the same house at the same time in a militia controlled slum. The drama is went by the side of by having the consultation identify with a local young (12?) girl who is selling bread outside the house.Mirren’s personnel calculates a 65% certainty that the girl will be killed in a missile strike. Proceedings goes back and forth until the two new suicide bombers are fitted with vests and explosives. Ultimately Mirren forces her targeting officer to lower his Guarantee Hurt Estimate (CDE) to 45% which she believes will turn the no-go into a go.Part of the opinion center on the propaganda value of the strike. The diplomats argue that killing the one girl gives the propaganda victory to the enemy while allowing the suicide bombers to strike a soft target and cause extensive carnage would give the allies the propaganda victory.While there was a flying cockroach like recon drone taking footage of the suicide bombers getting their vests – and of course all was recorded, no mention was made of the need to justify the strike using that video.Worth your time and probably a excellent write off as a business expense!Photo Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOqeoj669xg

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Must Read Wired Article – Why ISIS is Winning the Social Media War – April 2016

Must Read Wired Article - Why ISIS is Winning the Social Media War - April 2016 Why ISIS is winning the Social Media War – Brendan I. Koerner Wired Magazine, April 2016 Wired magazine ran a very fascinating and must read article for PSYOP professionals addressing the why and how ISIS has turned itself into a media and branding machine. I couldn’t find the article on line for some reason – it’s worth buy the magazine this month just for this article! Here are some key points: Daesh “has long taken pride in its flair for developing content that is innovative and repugnant in equal rate.” P 78 The shrewd use of digital media was integral to ISIS’ lightning-quick expansion in 2013 and 2014” p 80 The videos serve many purposes besides recruitment. Videos produced on ride alongs with fatality squads have “helped persuade police and soldiers in other cities to melt away rather than resist when they heard that ISIS forces were on the march.” P 81 “social media has lowered the bar of entry for recruits” p 81 The article concludes “ We must resist the distorting effects of the media “media halo” that the Islamic State has built for itself, while never forgetting the considerable power of our own.” Photo Source: Wired Magazine pages 76 & 77, April 2016

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Can Irrational Leadership Help PSYOP Campaigns?

Can Irrational Leadership Help PSYOP Campaigns?We all know that to be effective PSYOP must be based on truth. In watching the pandemonium we call the Presidential appointment process, I’ve been wondering – would MISO/PSYOP be simpler if the enemy believed your nation’s leader was irrational?I recognize that this is a weird premise – not unlike the basis for the Broadway show “The Producers”. In the show Leo Bloom, an accountant convinces Max Bialystock a washed up producer that unscrupulous producers could make more money from a show that flopped than from a show that was successful. His theory was that if the show goes belly up the investors would not be looking for any of their money back so that the Producers could keep that money.Returning to the case of irrational leaders – would a PSYOP campaign claiming that a potential catastrophic event will take house be more credible if the consultation believed that the country’s leader would really go through with it lacking regard to the rational consequences?Turning to a very excellent example of irrational leadership, Kim Jong Un. Would we be more inclined  to believe that he would launch a nuke than we would one being luanched by a less ‘erratic leader’? I dare say that the media, at least ,pays attention to all that the Supreme Leader says and scrutinizes it afterwards.This is clearly not the case with Park Geun-hye, the President of the Republic of Korea to the South who is a more traditional head of state.Consider this as our appointment season continues to tell.(Photo Source: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/02/kim-jong-un-north-korea-understanding)

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State Department to Lead New Global Counterterrorism Communications Office

State Department to Lead New Global Counterterrorism Communications Office The White House issued an Executive order on March 16, 2016 establishing the Global Engagement Center (GEC) “which shall lead the coordination, integration, and synchronization of Government-wide communications activities directed at foreign audiences abroad in order to counter the messaging and diminish the shape of global terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al Qa'ida, and other violent extremists abroad” (See: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/03/17/2016-06250/developing-an-integrated-global-engagement-center-to-help-government-wide-counterterrorismand  http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/01/251066.htm)Here are a couple of highlights of GEC’s responsibilities taken from the Executive Order:1.     coordinating, integrating, and synchronizing all public communications of the United States Government directed toward foreign audiences abroad in order to counter the messaging and diminish the shape of global terrorist organizations and other violent extremists abroad;2.     identifying, engaging, employing, or acquiring the best available talent across the U.S. and from global private sectors, academia, and somewhere else to help the Center's mission;3.     identifying shortfalls in any U.S. capabilities in any areas relevant to the Center's mission and implementing or recommending, as appropriate, necessary enhancements or changes; and4.     (developing, supporting, and sustaining networks of governmental and non-governmental partners, to provide original content and disseminate messaging products to foreign audiences abroad and to make, develop, and sustain effective clear different narratives consistent with U.S. policy objectives.The order also indicates that other departments are to cooperative in this venture.What does this mean to the MISO Community?For one thing it’s recognition of a worldwide communications challenge that needs to be globally managed. It also properly recognizes that communications outside the US is a diplomatic job and puts the onus where it belongs.Conceptually at least this may mean an opportunity for members of the MISO community to be loaned out for TDY to help out. This may also mean that appropriate MIST teams may find themselves engaged with a fledgling entity.In any event, it looks like a reasonable way to approach a growing challenge. Why the Gecko? Well GEC seemed to lend itself to the acronym and the linkage - after all, many people had quite a bit of fun with the swap of PSYOP for MISO. (Photo Source: www.geico.com)

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PSYOPing Convoys – Any Suggestions?

PSYOPing Convoys – Any Suggestions?  Normally my postings are in ‘transmit mode, that is I’m sending information and/or opinion and analysis. Today’s posting is a bit different. I’m asking for some suggestions. Recently I was working a CPX where the scenario called for non-kinetic measures to be applied hostile to a convoy to encourage them to turn around before kinetic measures were taken. The scenario was written before I arrived on the scene so all I could realistically do is to work with what was given.Small country wherein an Army officer had the loyalty of several brigades. One of those brigades was slated to go from its home location to the capital city as a part of an attack to dislodge the government.The scenario I was given said “there were leaflets on the ground”, etc.Other facts included that this particular army had no anti-aircraft capability other than small arms and RPGs. The convoy had only one route by the side of the MSR.My op was sweet simple. Rotary wing aircraft dropped leaflets on the convoy’s route with some of them really falling over the vehicles (remember this is make believe). Of course the convoy continued on until a couple of F18s took out the lead element.I’ll be replaying this scenario in the near prospect and would appreciate any suggestions from the field.

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To Lealet or Not To Leaflet – That is the question!

To Lealet or Not To Leaflet – That is the question! Leaflets and loudspeakers go together like “hearts and minds”. Are they as universally successful as some PSYOP/MISO experts would like us to believe or is their use over rated? The MISO world is well-known for, as I call them, “Give up Now and Beat The Rush” campaigns. The classic campaigns in Iraq were touted as resounding successes and we have probably littered the landscape in nearly every conflict we’ve been in. (see: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1915&dat=20030201&id=bp5GAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3PgMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2995,18570&hl=en)The US is not the only country engaged in leaflet operations. The Koreas have traded leaflets over their borders for decades and even Israel has gotten into the act (see: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2006/07/im_covered_in_leaflets.html)Are we caught confusing Measures of Performance (MOP) with Measures of Effectiveness (MOE)? MOP would be the digit of leaflets dropped and MOE is what happened afterwards. How many enemy (or friendly) behaved in the manner prescribed by the leaflets.In some conflicts such as Afghanistan the illiteracy rate is very high. Consequently leaflets cannot contain terms. Given the culture abyss that exists between East and West – can effective leaflets be conceived that work on illiterate populations?Sometimes leaflets lacking terms are like jokes you don’t get. While the reference website for this week’s picture is not necessarily in the best of taste, the meme captures my feelings sweet well.I’ve been caught up in a digit of exercises while serving and thereafter. Generally the faithful leaflet is called into service in just in this area all of them. Are they useful in some situations – of course, are they the PSYOP silver bullet?I reckon not.(Photo source: http://www.quickmeme.com/Psyops-Leaflet-Drop)

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