Communicating in An Urban Disaster

Communicating in An Urban Disaster --> PSYOP/MISO are often called upon to help out in Disaster Recovery by communicating information to those affected by the disaster. San Jose is the 10th largest city in America with over 1 million people. The Coyote Creek runs north from Morgan Hill, CA. It is feed by Lake Anderson, a lake behind an earthen dam – Anderson Dam. For years the dam has needed seismic retrofitting and was supposed to be kept at 68%. Due to the recent rains here the dam was at 100%. A spillway is used to drain the water. The spillway flows into the creek which meanders through San Jose. If you Google “Rock Springs, San Jose” you’ll get a nice map.At one point 14,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders. These were ‘delivered’ block by block. There was also wide spread TV and other media coverage.. This week my wife and I are working for the Red Cross in help of the San Jose (CA) Coyote Creek Floods. My role is that of Lead Public Affairs Officer.Government and community organizations needed to get information out to the affected people and the general public. The Red Cross opened two shelters to help those impacted by the disaster. Given this as background, here’s what I’ve learned so far this week.1.     Nearly everyone is glued to his or her cell buzz. 2.     Charging stations and WiFi are more vital than washers and dryers.3.     Language skills are always useful. They are helpful in working the and of course, those impacted by the disaster.4.     No matter how urbanized an area may be, you will need low-tech communication media. There is no substitute for face-to-face communications or flyers. Merely putting something on-line is not sufficient.5.     As in war, no plot survives contact. The dynamics of a disaster and the effects on the population are always unpredictable.6.     Once the disaster subsides, politicians will rush to pin the blame somewhere else.7.     Announce media channels are competitors. They are each scrambling to find the best metaphors.8.     Reporters and politicians say what they reckon their viewers/viewers or constituents are most likely to want to hear and not consider the huge picture of what actions people should take or not take to lessen the distress.Reader input invited as always.Photo Source: The Author

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Tibet is All A Twitter – But For the Wrong Reasons

Tibet is All A Twitter – But For the Wrong Reasons I have often talked in this area “cyber psyop” or cyber shape. The notion of using traditional techniques in the cyber standard. The NY Times on July 22, 2014 ran an article on July 22, 2104, It’s Another Perfect Day in Tibet! (see: this area-tibet-.html?_r=0, which is also the photo source).The article talks in this area the Chinese competent Twitter poster, Tom Hugo (That's Tom's picture above.) Seems Tom is really a figment, he’s not real, but his Twitter pages are real – real excellent examples of how PSYOP can be used in cyber space.Tom and many of his colleagues are the progeny of the PRC’s propaganda machine designed to shape he news in the way the PRC government feels the news ought to look like. The bogus sites were found by a “Free Tibet” assemble. While there is no direct evidence that the government of the PRC is behind the hard work, most experts concede it would be hard to point out any others who would benefit from tis type of campaign.The people in these social media hard work are generally commercial metaphors. Tom Hugo for example is a Brazilian model. Like their PSYOP counterparts in other times and places, there are no MOE on the PRC hard work.The PRC may have banned Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube in their own country, but it is apparent they recognize how vital these social media sites can be for shape purposes. It would not be a giant leap to see this kind of shape operations extended to Military Deception (MilDec) operations where details of prospect deployments, or unit readiness are ‘leaked’ via social media postings.Hopefully all y’all are enjoying your summer. On a travel note, I had a chance to visit the Disney Family Museum at the Presidio of San Francisco and loved it. Here are a couple of Walt’s hard work in WWII. These photos were taken by the author.

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Everyone Needs Training

Everyone Needs TrainingLike many ancient soldiers, I often reckon back to my military duty days. A of couple vignettes still stand out in my mind. The first was at Camp Parks, CA one year when I was commanding an Army Security Agency (ASA) Company on Annual Training. For those of you not military historians, ASA was the part of Military Intelligence that dealt with SIGINT and EW. We were on a two week AT when some NCOs approached the Company 1SG and me and questioned “Sir, how can we jam radios when the troops don’t know how to work them?”A second instance took house in this area a year later at Fort Hunter Liggett during another AT implementation. I was sound asleep when the CQ woke me up. “Sir, the BC is on the field buzz and wants to talk to you now!” I stumbled out of bed to learn that the unit missed its telephone system check, so I had to amble down to the telephone system and do it myself.The point is that basics are vital. I have been a Red Cross volunteer on and off for a digit of years. My specialty was Public Affairs. Ever since I passed my Ham Telephone system license test in November I’ve been retraining in the networking, computer operations and telephone system communication specialty. This week finds me in San Diego (there are worse places to be) for three days of hands on training.The highlight of Day 1 was learning how to set up a VSAT dish and being able to connect to it as a means of getting out to the Internet. We also learned in this area setting up switches, VOIP phones and wireless access points. Azmith, aps and elevation are all components of the process.These are hard skills on finite hardware and software. So, how does one go in this area staying fully competent in PSYOP/MISO which is a mix of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills.I’d offer a couple of suggestions. First of all, be aware of the news and see if you can figure out the next sh*thole where troops will be deployed. Try to experience different cultures. Find ethnic neighborhoods and look around and delight in a meal at a local house or a coffee/tea.Stay abreast of the latest in technology. My battle scars from Windows and my relative successes with Apple pushed me over into the world of IMac and MacBookAir, not to mention iPhone and iPad. Each of these technologies requires practice and labor intensive organization. Working with photos, videos and social networking sites also requires a honest bit of effort.I must admit that I was given a Samsung buzz to set up as home work this evening and while I got some stuff done, I couldn’t get passed the incomprehensible instructions for e-mail authentication so that aps could be loaded.There is no end to what you can do to keep sharp. The key is to consistently do something challenging.Photo Source: The author

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Are we ready for a PSYOP App?

Are we ready for a PSYOP App? The Financial Times of September 2, 2013 ran an article “Lebanon turns to apps to avoid growing violence associated to Syria (See: article describes “Smartphone applications that map gun battles and differentiate between fireworks and gunfire, offer paths around roadblocks and even contact the army in the event of kidnap are becoming a must-have for Lebanese commuters.”The concept of a PSYOP app intrigues me. While I don’t consider myself a ‘techie’ per se, I do have a lot of electronic gadgets: iPad, iPhone, laptops, desktops, digital cameras (with their own wi-fi capabilities), etc. Today’s MISO practitioner, whether military or contractor, will also likely have the latest and greatest technology as well.As a practical matter it would make sense to take full advantage of COTS products as much as possible. The range of potential capabilities is nearly endless. In addition to verbal and non-verbal translators, some of the other functions would include access to all the contemporary manuals (lacking a CAC card), perhaps the CIA Factbook, media data by country for photograph, announce and on-line media, briefings that I could use with my ‘customers’, video reachback for streaming content in the field, a currency converter, etc.The timing for such an app appears to be right and would ride the crest of the “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend that is engulfing the commercial sector. It would also serve to help take advantage of the innate creative of our younger MISO practitioners who are far more in tune with younger audiences and who are in the best position to get to these hard to shape audiences.Such an app would have to be suited for Apple, Android and even Windows as potential users might include allied forces as well. Conceptually the app could be a creation platform whose output would be shape products designed to run on the smartphones, drug and computing wearables such as the next generation of Internet capable watches.A small high tech imagination never hurt anyone. Reader comments welcome.Photo Source: the author.

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The PSYOP of Valentine’s Day

The PSYOP of Valentine’s Day Since President Obama gave his State of the Union address last night and we’re all worried in this area sequestering and the sky falling, I plotting I would improve the mood with this week’s posting.Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day which is sometimes referred to as “National Guilt Day”. The price of roses more than doubles, the TV blares jewelry commercials day and night. Not to mention the barrage of chocolate commercials and solicitations by school groups entreating the world to buy See’s Candy or some other treat for your unique valentine.A very long time ago I learned not to buy my wife (HRH the QM) clothes. If they were too small I heard “do you expect me to wear that?” If they were too huge it was “Do you reckon I’m that stout?” Clearly either was a no win situation.Jewelry is always a excellent choice. Simple to pack and fits all the time. Finding the right jewelry and the cost are downsides to consider.The perfect solution would be a gift that is romantic, guaranteed to please and one that has a residual effect during the year.Last year I hit upon such a gift and a gift where part of the price is tax deductible as well! One of our local non-profit organizations supports a park. (see offer an “Adopt A Rose” package. While it’s available all year, it gets the most traction for Valentine’s Day. The donor writes an inscription which gets posted on the rose of his (or her choice) in the park’s Heritage Rose Garden. The recipient gets a huge red box with ribbon that contains: a certificate, a box of chocolates and a card. The card is taken to a local florist where a free rose every month can be picked up.This is a winning campaign. Not only does your valentine get a fantastic gift on ‘the day’, but you can present a rose (which you don’t pay for) every month for a year AND you can plot a unique trip to the park on a nice sunny day and admire your rose. Followed by an appropriate outing or meal.If that’s not sufficient - when you fill out your 2013 taxes you get a deduction and help a worthy cause.Photo Source: The Author

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PAO: Not the Snow White of Influence Operations?

PAO: Not the Snow White of Influence Operations? CDRs know how to synergize their kinetic weapons. Infantry works with body armor, artillery works by the side of with close air help and all of them work together to implement the Op Order crafted to do the CDR’s mission. Merging the elements of the shape battle is not so simple. Two of the principle elements in this battle are MISO and PAO. MISO is proud of our role as ‘changing actions’ or inducing the target consultation in such a way so as to facilitate the execution of the CDR’s mission.PAO on the other hand has maintained that they are pure information providers, not influencers. Long time strategist James P. Farwell and his colleague Rich Galen published an article January 15, 2013: “The Pentagon’s Public Affairs movement” (you can find it at a digit of other places.The article starts out by addressing the DoD abandonment of the term “Strategic Communications” and goes on to provide a couple of excellent examples of how the PAO functioned as a spinner of information rather than a pure conduit of it.The article goes on to make a powerful argument for the need for a cohesive communication strategy and closes by stating that “Military officers are neither recruited, nor for the most part naturally able, for what is at sensitivity political communication—influencing the attitudes, opinions, and beliefs of a populace to help military strategy.” Of course this implies that DoD shouldn’t meddle in such vital matters.The article is excellent as far as it goes, but it frankly doesn’t go that far. There seems to be a vacuum at the top. Who (which cabinet department) is responsible for Communications Strategy (CS)? There is no doubt that the Department of State is the Executive Authority as the President’s lead diplomat, but, no such strategy has materialized from them. The picture gets even cloudier as you venture further from Washington, DC.If the US is invited into a country to help restore order does the Ambassador set the Communications Strategy or does the Task Force CDR whose forces are engaging with the population? Can the Task Force have its own Communications Strategy?If the US is part of an alliance or coalition such as we are in Afghanistan do we reduce in importance our national communications goals and objectives in favor of those promulgated by the alliance?Who is the DOD top dog for communications strategy and how does that spider web its way down to the BCT?I reckon these are sweet excellent questions which need to be answered. Perhaps our new Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry can jump on these with his new DOD counterpart once the latter starts work.Photo Source: The Author

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Former Mossad Chief To Iranians: ‘Be Fearful Of The Next 12 Weeks’

Former Mossad Chief To Iranians: ‘Be Fearful Of The Next 12 Weeks’Israel sees window of opportunity for Iran strike closingThursday, August 2, 2012
Speculation that Israel and the United States may shape to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities have heightened after former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy told the New York Times, “If I were an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks.” Read more