“The Truth” – You Can Make Fun of the Truth!

“The Truth” – You Can Make Fun of the Truth! With apologies to Jack Nicholson, AKA COL Jessup, USMC (see: http://bit.ly/2pyEKCd), sometimes you help people handle the truth through fiction and even satire. Duffleblog.com is in my opinion, one of the more acerbic and generally accurate satirical military sources. But, I’m often reluctant to repost or ‘Like’ their posts because candidly I reckon some people who are not familiar with the military will take the posting as ‘real’ rather than the satire it is.They outdid themselves with “Pentagon Makes New Meme Combat Center to Counter Online Propaganda” (see: http://bit.ly/2qUGxXb, which is also the photo source). First of all the dateline is Fayetteville, NC the home of Fort Bragg which houses the Army Unique Operations Mandate, parent of active duty MISO and the US Army Civil Affairs and PSYOP Mandate, parent of USAR PSYOP (not called MISO yet). Fittingly the lead quote contains a misnomer. It says ‘make them go virus’ instead of ‘viral’ implying that the writer doesn’t know anything in this area the subject matter. They proclaimed that the boss of this organization would be a 65-year-ancient two star (Major General). I did a bit of research and it appears that for the mandatory retirement age for General Officers is 62 (see: http://tfumux.wikia.com/wiki/Average_ages_per_rank_in_US_Military).MG Farmer has two strikes: he’s over the mandatory age and given the rest of the article – doesn’t really know very much in this area the Internet or well loved culture. The implication may be that while DOD, and the Army in particular, may recognize that something is vital and requires attention, the response isn’t always well plotting out or appropriate.The point for MISO/PSYOP professionals is that you can often use fiction to do what non-fiction cannot. A prominent former White House Staffer under several Presidents once told me ‘you can say more with fiction than you can with non-fiction’.Delight in the Food for plotting.

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MISO-in-Chief: Syria

MISO-in-Chief: Syria President Obama is facing hard choices concerning Syria. No matter what proceedings he takes, he will impact the global shape battlefield. Conceptually high level missions like any hostile to Syria are made through the analysis of strategic goals and the best way to accomplish them. Theoretically serious consideration also needs to be given to the other intended and unintended effects of those missions. (2nd and 3rdorder effects)The President’s decisions are made considering national and global factors that would include political, military, moral, social, etc. I don’t believe that his advisors at the White House level are really going to worry in this area what the Taliban might do to exploit US attacks on yet another Arab country in Afghanistan or how Al Qaeda will control any media footage or casualties for their own ends. Yet, those of us who plot and do MISO at the operational and tactical levels need to be mindful of the likely second and third order effects and be prepared to either control them for our own purposes to accomplish our shape missions, or to plot on countering the likely campaigns seeking to exploit the attacks.Some fundamental assumptions I would work with are: rural villages have no conception of what goes on beyond the edge of town. Any attack on an Arab nation would be viewed as yet further evidence of America’s desire for world domination and suppression of Arabs and Islam in particular. The US will likely not have help from very many global partners and the American people are certainly weary of Iraq and Afghanistan. While political help may go down traditional party lines, the American public has shown a general disdain for being the world’s policeman especially in the face of economic distress at home. This may manifest itself into media coverage that our adversaries may exploit as well.So –what can we do in this area it? My cynical, Brooklynite nature says ‘not much’. Nevertheless, as excellent soldiers we need to be prepared and we need to try and learn from the past. Here are a couple of thoughts:At the tactical level perhaps metaphors of victims might be effective, although it may be hard to personalize the victims. Consider having trusted, credible spokespeople prepare interviews on the history of chemical combat and the global conventions that have banned it.Research appropriate religious references hostile to inflicting harm on innocent victims backed up by visuals that depict women and outcome victims.Monitor global news media – perhaps with unique attention to Al Jazeera America to determine the pulse of the global community and the Arab world in particular. (Photo Source: http://america.aljazeera.com/)Renew propaganda and anti-propaganda hard work in areas likely to be targets of unenthusiastic shape campaign.Reader comments encouraged. For my American colleagues, delight in your Labor Day weekend.

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