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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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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TV Producer Insight is Solid MISO/PSYOP Advice

TV Producer Insight is Solid MISO/PSYOP Advice When a consensus is found amongst media professionals, it’s worth sharing. As a Red Cross Public Affairs Officer my boss often sends some useful media references. Here's one in this area local TV producers are looking for: ‘“Air” Conditioning: Human-Interest and Visual Angles are Keys to Pitching TV’ (at: https://www.bulldogreporter.com/air-conditioning-human-interest-and-visual-angles-are-keys-to-pitching-tv-2/, which is also the photo source.)I’ve opined in the past that the word is becoming more visual and that media trends seem to be moving toward interactivity so that any media producer whether TV or Internet would be looking for sweet much the same things.Here are the highlights:1.     Highlight Visual Potential2.     Aim for Broad Appeal3.     Place a Human Face on The Story4.     Research Your Targets ( the media you hope to use)5.     Implementation News JudgmentThere are a couple of other tips, but these five are the key ones. You will also need to bear in mind some production tips as well.Putting a Human Face, especially a face that the viewer can identify with, is vital to the credib ility and impact of the report. Consider that as a major element of your hard work. If you are producing the video remember that  you can edit video, but you can’t edit audio. Any report that involves people talking should make sure that the speakers have their own microphones. Lavalier microphones are not expensive. See: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Lavalier/ci/8535/N/4291086006?origSearch=Lavalier%20Microphonesfor a reasonable selection.If you are working with a particular media outlet make sure you be with you their news rhythm so that you can help them schedule your report for maximum effect. Be a helper – providing security, transportation and perhaps some water or a meal can mean the difference of whether your report gets covered or not.Reader input encouraged.

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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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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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Building A Task Force? Start at the top.

Building A Task Force? Start at the top.One thing in this area the military and that is you can count on a manual or a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for just in this area anything. Whether it’s marching or filling out a form, there’s sure to be a document around to tell you how to do it.So – why does it often make sense not to even open the book?I’m on assignment where we are simulating the personnel of a MG that has been hastily assembled in response to a quandary in a foreign country. As typical, I’m the IO SME and the task of establishing the nature of the MISO task force falls to me.My starting point was the probable rank of the Task Force (TF) CDR and a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) as to the comparable size of the MISO unit. Having had many years of production with real and notional Task Forces as well as a perspective on their size and leadership through the years, my gut feel is sweet excellent and, as it turns out, backed up by doctrine as well.Over the years I’ve learned some valuable lessons. One of those is that success on a personnel may be due in part to your ability to gain access to the right meetings and working groups and to be able to hold your own in these groups. Sending an exceptionally talented officer who is too junior in rank might work in the commercial sector, but not in a senior center of operations.I recall that my boss in Bosnia was an 06, while I was a humble 05. He felt that access to the GOs was so vital to the ultimate success of the unit that he insisted on billeting with them at the NATO HQ while I was ‘with the troops’ on the other end of town.Turns out that he was right as some battles where just to get in and see the right person to able to state your case. Access was very much based on rank rather than competence.Reader input is encouraged.

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Rules for Playing On the Islamic Home Field

Rules for Playing On the Islamic Home FieldWith the 50th Super Bowl around the corner, sports metaphors abound this time of year. The PSYOP Community finds itself playing in ‘home fields’ around the world. Many of today’s AOs are in the Islamic world, an area of the world and a culture that are foreign to many of us.I had the fantastic pleasure of attending a lecture sponsored by the Safe Communites Institute, a part of the USC Price School of Public Policy. The speaker, Dr. Doron Pely is the Executive Director of the Sulha Research Institute (see: www.Sulha.org) and a colleague of mine at TALGlobal (www.talglobal.com).While we are taught that it’s often perilous to generalize, sometimes an educated, Kentucky windage leveraged analysis is a surpass house to start than one of ignorance. Today’s posting is a synthesis of the hour and half lecture. The data upon which it is based comes from a few sources. The essence is a comparison of perceptions of Israeli’s by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and vice versa – the perception of Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israelis. Arabs gathered Arab perception data while Israelis collected Israeli perception data.The yucky generalization is that these perceptions will closely align with perceptions of the “West” by Islamic populations in areas of conflict, especially those AOs with active military operations. How does the target consultation perceive you?According to the research, the West is viewed with the subsequent descriptors:·      Terrible, dishonest and uneducated.·      Cowardly and cruel.·      Violent with a lack of pity.The research also indicated that the West is perceived as lacking understanding of Islamic culture and lacking in empathy. This last point is vital because empathy is a vital prerequisite for conflict resolution.Research also showed that the Palestinians were split sweet evenly as to whether they felt it was beneficial to achieve a peaceful agreement. This point means that most Islamic conflict AOs will start with the West playing bump-up in gaining the trust and confidence of the population. The New “Normal”Those of use who have studied psychology in Western Universities learned the classic Maslow hierarchy of needs as shown below. (Diagrams courtesy of Sulha Research Center)But, the Sulha Pyramid below shows a juxtaposition that is fundamental to understanding Islamic culture. Notice that the basic physiological needs are in the middle of the pyramid with Honor & Admire needs as the base and Belonging as the second layer. Prior to wrapping up, let me offer the best practices provided in the lecture.1.     Mind the rituals.Small cuts won’t cut it. Building trust and respecting the process is a key to success.2.     Watch the state of Honor.Honor as fundamental in Islamic culture as fundamental as food and drink in the West.3.     Mind PrecedentsJust as you would with a court case, do some research to validate that what you want to do now has been done in the past.4.     Remember your role.A vital hint is that those with power ‘pull’ while those who perceive themselves as victims will ‘push’. Pulling implies indirect pressure.5.     Keep the constituencies in mind.Consider each party’s perspective.6.     Use creative reframing.Constantly insure that you are in empathy with the process while framing your positions.We in the PSYOP community need to be lifetime learners, sometimes this also means we need to search for new perspectives that help us optimize our hard work in diverse AOs.Reader input encouraged!

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Poetry and Music: Keys to Defeating Daesh?

Poetry and Music: Keys to Defeating Daesh?The Havok Journal, an on-line publication featured an article free: “Jihadis, Poetry and the Ongoing Bromance of ISIL: Are We Sending The Right Message?” (see: http://www.havokjournal.com/national-security/jihadis-poetry-and-the-ongoing-bromance-of-isil-are-we-sending-the-right-message/?utm_source=Havok+Journal&utm_campaign=233c4aaba2-Havok_Journal_Daily&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_term=0_566058f87c-233c4aaba2-213402489which is also the photo source.)The main thesis of the article was that dominating the information high ground hostile to Daesh will require taking the offensive with the poetry and music that is a part of the Arab culture. In help of this position, the article states that Osama Bin Laden was recognized for his eloquence of the classics and postulates that poetry is the way that Daesh communicates.The author clarification: “Rather than littering Raqqa, as we recently have, with pamphlets full of cartoons and meat grinders to try to push disenfranchised Muslim youth or already hardened ISIL fighters away from the cause, we should engage them in dialogue they be with you and hammer.[7]  Suggesting that Uncle Sam should sit down and pen ISIL a poem to open up dialogue seems like a ridiculous stretch, but if we place this responsibility in the hands of those capable of crafting the right message, perhaps we can take this understanding of culture and use it to our advantage.”Is this really “a ridiculous stretch”? I frankly don’t reckon so. The essence of communication is that the messages are in tune with the receiver’s system. Deciding what media to deliver the message is a different choice than what the messages ought to be. Leaflets may or may not be the right standard in that particular AO, but, we must not lose sight of the fact that the messages are more vital.Understanding the culture is a prerequisite to crafting and delivering effective messages. Having said this, really understanding a culture is not a trivial matter or a quick undertaking. One needs to enlist not only the reservoir of published material, a degree of immersion, preferably with a assemble of knowledgeable and cooperative ‘natives’ of that culture is another key ingredient.Given that we will be engaged for quite a long time, this investment seems not only prudent – but, necessary.As always, reader comments encouraged.

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Flip Flops: Economic PSYOP

Flip Flops: Economic PSYOP Influencing actions takes many forms. Giving a people a way out is often one of the surpass, long term solutions. The theory goes if you can provide an acceptable different actions that benefits the consultation and supports your goals & objectives, you ought to try it.The article on combat flip-flops (see: http://gizmodo.com/two-ex-army-rangers-believe-flip-flops-and-sarongs-will-1687822266, which is also the photo source) presents a sweet compelling argument.PSYOP working in racing bike with Civil Affairs and PAO would help these hard work and help turn insurgents into productive citizens.Which leads perhaps to a more fascinating question and that is – should the mission of PSYOP be expanded to include job-related and business training? PSYOP (MISO) Teams are in the best position to work face to face with local populations. While training foreign citizens has traditionally been the purview of Unique Forces, perhaps the time has come to split that gathering out of SF and into a ‘gentler’ force thereby enabling SF to concentrate on more appropriate missions.Reader comments encouraged.

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A POTF FOR ISIS?

A POTF FOR ISIS?On December 5, 2014 the Washington Post published an article: “New US Military Mandate Established for Iraq and Syria Operations” (see “http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2014/12/05/new-u-s-military-mandate-established-for-iraq-and-syria-operations/).The article indicated that LTG James L Terry was designated CDR of Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) – Operation Inherent Resolve in addition to his contemporary duties as CDR of the Army Component of CENTCOM (ARCENT).General’s Photo Source: http://www.isaf.nato.int/in this area-isaf/leadership/lieutenant-general-james-l.-terry.htmlAccording to the article LTG Terry was supposed to provide a briefing on the changes engendered by the new Mandate on Friday the 5th. A check of the Pentagon issued a Press Advisory that noted that the briefing had been postponed until December 18, 2014 at 10 AM EST. (See: http://www.defense.gov/Advisories/Advisory.aspx?AdvisoryID=3691)Given the challenge facing him, LTG Terry is wise to gather his thoughts and resources first, figure out what depression he wants to make on the world stage, then enter it.The NY Times published the map a right to show ISIS controlled areas in November 2014. It’s no coincidence that ISIS’ AO is Syria and Iraq. It’s also no secret that ISIS is a new kind of enemy, one that is borderless, and in many ways amorphous.  (See: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/12/world/middleeast/the-iraq-isis-conflict-in-maps-photos-and-video.html?_r=0)Appointing a single CDR to deal with this threat is in keeping with the principle of Unity of Mandate and makes a fantastic deal of sense on many levels. The rank of the CDR indicates a Corps Level Mandate which Normally implies a sweet huge HQ element.In this I would argue that smaller would be surpass. Operations hostile to ISIS need to be characterized by swiftness and flexibility. The enemy has interwoven itself into the civilian population and can ebb and flow within the population, as it needs to in order to defeat allied hard work hostile to them.Non-kinetic hard work are absolutely vital in this battle.  They need to be a key element of all operations conducted in the AO. Consideration needs to be given to the implications (in the minds of the civilian population) of all acts conducted in the AO. The PSYOP help must be equally supple. The range of MISO resources needed to help this new type of CJTF is mind-boggling. On one hand tactical elements are needed as is normally the case and on the other, strategic resources need to be on call to deal with events that have global significance such as murder of hostages, massacres and the like.GO HQ are often lumbering beasts often encumbered with huge staffs and meetings upon meetings. This one needs to be different.Reader feedback encouraged.

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Comics: The Real Super Heroes of Middle Eastern Influence?

Comics: The Real Super Heroes of Middle Eastern Influence?Many of us will admit that ‘comics’ were a huge thing in our lives at one point or another. Today’s comic reader is more likely to be a 20 or 30 or even 40 something than they are to be a teenager especially if we are talking in this area the Middle East.The Economics of November 8, 2014 ran an article “Laughing at the humorless” (see: http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21631198-regions-artists-are-mocking-jihadists-laughing-humourless?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/pe, which is also the photo source) which addressed how the “region’s comics have long used subtle satire to criticize their authoritarian regimes, yet with small success in effecting change.The Middle East is certainly nothing to laugh at, especially these days. Much of the cultural and sociological norms there remain a mystery to Western audiences even those exciting with influencing the region.It strikes me that comics can be an effective way to gradually shape actions. If I could wave a magic wand I would make a credible lead reputation whose trials and tribulations are captured in comics that are easily related to by a Middle East consultation.We talk in this area videos going viral and getting hundreds of thousands of views, I wonder if help to rising comic authors makes sense as a logical part of US Middle East shape hard work. Comments are very much encouraged.

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Ebola Education: Natural PSYOP Mission

Ebola Education: Natural PSYOP MissionThe core of PSYOP is to shape actions. In the military context we talk in this area influencing the local population in the AO to behave in a manner that does not interfere with or perhaps aids a CDR’s military mission Education, generally for security and health reasons comprises a major PSYOP mission set. While I was in Bosnia we had a digit of campaigns in this area mine awareness. These campaigns were designed to educate the local population, especially children in this area the dangers of unexploded ordnance. Reaching children can be especially challenging so the PSYOP team worked with DC Comics and employed Superman to help clarify those dangers. (Photo Source: www.unicef.org)Ebola prevention and detection is a similar mission. The growing task force in West Africa will find that prevention and early detection are the primary defenses hostile to the epidemic. Fortunately, there are a digit of organizations such as the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that have already developed useful material. (Photo source: cdc.gov)A major challenge is to localize the material, supplement it with locally relevant information and insure the widest possible distribution. Media employed will likely include television, telephone system, photograph, shortwave, internet and, in some cases, loud speaker.It would also be useful to recruit credible, well liked, and well known spokes people who can had power to the message and help insure that recommended actions are taken.Reader feedback and updates are encouraged.

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