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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Global Engagement Center – New Focal Point for Countering Propaganda & Disinformation

Global Engagement Center – New Focal Point for Countering Propaganda & Disinformation As a parting holiday gift, President Obama signed the National Defense Act which, included (on page 547) Section 1287 Global Engagement Center (see: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s2943/BILLS-114s2943enr.pdf) According to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and his co-sponsor, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT): NOTE: The bipartisan Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is methodical around two main priorities to help achieve the goal of combatting the constantly evolving threat of foreign disinformation from our enemies:The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering THE foreign propaganda and disinformation being wages hostile to us and our allies by our enemies. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and Plates as well as non-state actors. The Center will be led by the State Department, but with the active senior level partaking of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations by our enemies and proactively advance fact-based narratives that help U.S. allies and interests.Second, the legislation seeks to control expertise from outside government to make more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, reckon tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. This fund will complement and help the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.Source: http://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=F973E46B-AA8C-4F3E-91B4-8EC0FC7F2F3EThere are two ways to look at this latest attempt at central coordination of shape. The clear view is that there is finally recognition that the US does not have a contemporary shape strategy and needs one very terribly. The new law and organization also concedes that the government does not have the internal capability to develop and do this strategy itself. By placing the Global Engagement Center within the Department of State, it can legitimately foster the President’s shape goals as the diplomatic arm of the cabinet.The other, more unenthusiastic view can found in The Event Report (see: http://www.theeventchronicle.com/fake-news-agenda/obamas-christmas-gift-america-countering-disinformation-propaganda-act/#), which is also the photo source and The Right Pundit (http://truepundit.com/obama-quietly-signs-the-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act-into-law/). The unenthusiastic view is deeply distrustful of government shape activity and compares the new Global Engagement Center to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984.As with many polarizing actions, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. The US clearly needs an overarching shape strategy and critics have legitimate cause for concern based on what many perceive as the dismal track confirmation of shape hard work in Afghanistan and Iraq and the media criticism of the use of contractors to further DOD shape goals abroad.Of course DOD’s actual role is unclear and the establishment of the Center within Department of State follows the civilian rule of government theory. Experience has shown that the practice will be far more hard than the conception.Reader input keenly sought.

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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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Case Studies & PSYOP

Case Studies & PSYOPThe beginning of a New Year is always a time to reckon in this area new perspectives. One of the staples of business education is the case study. Sometimes referred to (at least in the olden days when I went to school as the Harvard Case Method (see: https://hbr.org/store/case-studies?cm_mmc=cpc-_-google-_-domestic-_-cases&referral=02276&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=dom_cases&gclid=CPKZo4iokcoCFUhcfgodY4QCBQ) The students received a mini-booklet that described a company. By design it included financial statements, marketing information and panoply of other stuff. Your job as the student was to figure out what was incorrect with the company and offer your recommendations on how to fix the company.I had one entrepreneurial professor during my MBA program at Babson College who gave us an assignment on a case study with a different slant. Our job was not to solve the company’s problems, but to get the consulting contract wherein the company would pay us to solve their problems.This assignment required a whole different set of skills and, in retrospect, formed some of the basis for my starting and running my own successful consulting business.One of my sources directed me to a LinkedIn piece which in turn directed me to an article: “Russian Propaganda, Disinformation And Estonia’s Experience – Analysis (see: http://www.eurasiareview.com/04102015-russian-propaganda-disinformation-and-estonias-experience-analysis/, which is also the photo source).The content of the article is sweet excellent – but I am referencing it as a potential tool for PSYOP/MISO education. Given the range of contemporary and potential adversaries and AOs, it is incumbent on us to develop the processing of thinking for PSYOPers.I would point to regionally-oriented on-line sources as a way to do this. The site referenced above seems to be a excellent one and I’m sure that there are others as well. In particular I feel we should be leveraging this type of implementation to stimulate the student plotting process and to learn in this area other parts of the world notably Asia, Africa and Latin America.Reader input encourage and the best and brightest of New Year’s to all y’all!

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Combatting Radicalization Through Government Influence: Good, Bad or Ugly?

Combatting Radicalization Through Government Influence: Good, Bad or Ugly?The NY Times on October 19, 2015 published an article “Britain Unveils Plans to Fight Extremism in Young Muslims” (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/world/europe/david-cameron-britain-muslims-radicalization.html?_r=0)While this proposed program is only in it’s formative stages, the article has some key points that are worthy of consideration by the shape community writ large.Here are a couple of key points:1.     How aggressively can a government confront extremism lacking alienating their opposing moderates?2.     Will promoting a nation’s values (British, American, German, etc.) raise strong concerns of moderates in the target consultation?3.     Is it really possible to ‘clamp down on the broadcasting of extremist messages… by involving the “industry government and the public”’?The article itself is concerned with shape hard work inside Britain, yet the three points above are applicable to many contemporary and potential shape battlefields. The notion of domestic shape is one that has not been widely considered.Recent incidents conducted by non-affiliated terrorists (e.g. Boston Bombing) or by domestic terrorists (Oklahoma City) confirm that the threat exists in the US as well as Britain. The implication is that anyone inside a country may be radicalized. Does the government have a duty to try and prevent the radicalization by employing its resources to disrupt the radicalizer and minimize the effectiveness of their messages and if so, how likely is it that they will succeed?Taking each point in turn.Any shape effort needs to strike a balance. This implies careful research and perhaps pre-testing, focus groups and enlisting moderates to help craft the campaign and its messages.Secondly, promoting one’s values to another is IMHO not a excellent strategy. Others outside your sphere really don’t want your values – they have grown up with theirs and only multi-generational evolutions can alter that path.Lastly, given the porous and borderless nature of social media, this would seem like the digital equivalent of cleaning out the Augean Stables. Even so, is it worth the attempt?Reader input invited.

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Is Media “Support” A MISO Mission?

Is Media “Support” A MISO Mission?On September 22, 2105 the Altlanticist ran an article “Western Media Must Fight Russia’s Letha Propaganda More Aggressively” (see: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/western-media-must-fight-russia-s-lethal-propaganda-more-aggressivelywhich is also the photo source.)The thesis of the article is that Russia controls its media in a way that puts a pro-Russia spin on events that amounts to a “major global propaganda effort”.  Muzzling media is often a two edged sword. On one hand you can try to silence critics, but on the other you risk alienating freedom of the press advocates and incur their wrath on the global stage. A key point made by the article is: “It is possible that democratic tools and the standard requirements for balanced journalism are simply incapable of production with virulent state-generated propaganda.” Does it make sense for the US to harness its shape assets (importance State Department Public Skill and MISO) as a means to try and counter balance Russian hard work?One could argue that since most media is now digital, resources in the form of content or funding could be channeled to key digital media outlets that help US policy and goals and which could help in a counter  Russian propaganda campaign.Of course since this type of resourcing is not military in nature, but more in the diplomatic realm, State would have to be in the lead and MISO could be tasked on a project basis to help breed needed content and/or to provide monitoring and analysis of Russian propaganda as well as content recommendations.This would appear to be a win-win situation because:1.     MISO personnel could bring needed language skills.2.     The work would be valuable training for MISO personnel.3.     MISO personnel would be subcontractors to the Department of State who ruins in the lead.Such media help could be extended to other areas as well such as ISIS. The name of the game being to counter unenthusiastic propaganda, because unanswered propaganda becomes more believable over time lacking regard to its lack of truth.Reader input invited.

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Anatomy of An Election

Anatomy of An ElectionAnatomy of An ElectionYesterday, 2 June 2014 was a Gubernatorial Primary here in California. For reasons that I don’t quite remember, I chose to be an appointment volunteer. I was designed as a Substitute Clerk and was assigned to a small estate co-located in a church with another estate.The polls were open from 0600 to 2000. During that time we processed a grand total of 57 live voters. All used two page ballots each in this area 11” by 17” long. Not one person (even in Silicon Valley) used the voter machine. We also collected over 100 absentee ballots.The whole experience harkened me back to Sarajevo in 1997 when the Combined Joint Information Campaign Task Force (CJICTF) had to re-photograph ballots for Bosnian appointment because the local contract printer had in black and white the ballots just as the samples looked. Importance each line had a placeholder like “AAAAA” or “BBBBB” rather than the actual candidate names.In reflecting on the two elections and recent events in Afghanistan, I plotting it appropriate to offer some observations from an organizational perspective.First – a bit in this area my day yesterday.Starting at the bottom.Clerks and a Estate Inspector (PI) are the two levels of individuals at a polling house. The PI reports to a Field Inspector (FI) who manages between 8 and 12 precincts. All of these people are volunteers. Clerks are paid $95 for their service and inspectors receive stipends of $150 to $180. If you’re interested you can check out: http://www.sccgov.org/sites/rov/Volunteer/Pages/Officer.aspx)The polls are really manned by volunteers. Judging from my personal experience, there are no qualifications or test to be the PI. This is a huge mix, as you’ll see as I continue on. I was a Substitute Clerk. I took a 3 hour Appointment Training Class which was well done because it was mostly hands on. The Appointment Officer’s Manual (in my photo) is very much by the numbers and simple to follow. Assigned Clerks and PIs report to their polling places on Monday night at a designated time to set up the polls. Controlled items such as the ballots, official forms and voting machines are not set up at this point and are still secured until Appointment Day Morning. These teams report to their polling places at 0600 on appointment day.All substitutes report to the Registrar of Voters (ROV) personnel at 0600 on Appointment Day.  It took the ROV over 3 hours to get me an assignment and there had to be over 100 people still to be assigned when I left at in this area 0905.My estate had 1 PI who was in her first appointment. Her line of work was that she was a home health aide. She couldn’t even figure out how to work the official estate cell buzz. There were two other works with 5 years or more experience, one other new guy and me.The day went by slowly but we were able to process all 57 voters lacking incident. Close-up was a bit of a fire drill. All of the forms, machines and equipment came in either cases or bags or cases. Each container had a mark indicating what went where. Some had to be sealed, others did not.The two experienced workers counted the ballots and filled out the forms related to that paperwork. The other guy and I tallied and shut down the voter machine, which we then packed. We also dismantled the polling booths/tables. In all it took in this area an hour and 20 minutes to pack things up.The PI took a two-hour dine lacking explanation while the workers only got an hour. She was also overwhelmed by the sheer mass of materials and the multiple steps caught up in closing the polls. She essentially stood by bewildered while the rest of us did the work.I loaded the PI’s car with the ballots, cartridge from the voting machine and other controlled items that had to be returned. IAW protocol followed her car with the ballots to the drop off point where ROV people would unload the car.Here are my thoughts as far as MISO operations. These are some key things that MISO personnel need to bear in mind:1.     Impressions are all. Elections and the people running them have to come across as competent, transparent and trustworthy. 2.     Polling places must be run in a consistent and nonpartisan manner. Polling station managers must be able to work with other people of all kinds and have the management skills to orchestrate the logistical issues with trust and aplomb.3.     Polls are open and must be secure. 4.     Observers or poll watchers are allowed to observe and observe. In the case of the State of California there is a Roster Index which shows who has voted. The purpose would appear to be to allow poll watchers to call those who have not voted and encouraging them to vote for their candidate. 5.     There may also be Appointment Observers who are from nongovernmental or community based agencies who are there to observe that the appointment process is running IAW State and Centralized Laws. 6.     Observers and watchers are not allowed to interfere with the appointment process, permanently remove any posted Indexes, handle any ballots or act as replacements for the Appointment Officers (Clerks and PI).7.     Languages are key. Ballots and instructions need to be clear and that they need to take into account the languages of the population. We had ballots in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese and Vietnamese. Next year California will add Hindi, Khmer, Korean and Japanese.8.     Processing can be cumbersome as long as it is simple to follow, transparent and embodies multiple checks and balances.9.     Ballots must be in black and white in plenty of time before the appointment so that any issues can be dealt with prior to Appointment Day.10. Chain of custody and security of ballots as well as the sanctity of the appointment process must be maintained at all times.11. The counting and reporting gathering must also be similarly transparent, trusted and reliable as well.Hopefully this will provide some useful perspective and since nothing ever goes away on the Internet – it will always be there if you need it.Reader input invited as always.

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Never Take Media Perception For Granted – Even Allied Media

Never Take Media Perception For Granted – Even Allied MediaOne of the fantastic benefits of travel is that you get to see other people’s point of view. Ordinarily I turn to my weekly edition of the London based Economist for a non-US perspective. While it’s not really a European view either, and for the most part the UK is our closest ally, the Economist views things differently and can often say things that American publications simply can’t. I  also used to read the Far East Economic Assess, but alas it was shuttered after 63 years ! (see: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/22/dowjones-feer-idUSHKG23852320090922)What has this got to do with PSYOP? Really quite a bit.I’m in London for a week as the final phase of a trip to Ireland (see www.cosac.net)and a weekend in Edinburgh. While I’m not a bit TV fan, my wife watches sufficient TV for the both of us and so it was no surprise that she the tube on virtually all the time we were awake on the road.One evening the BBC had a bit on the US government shutdown and to illustrate the feeling of the average American they interviewed random people at the Texas State Honest. (see: http://www.bigtex.com/sft/) Photo Source: RYOT.orgThe preface to the interviews showed predictable Texas Honest cuisine, which of course, means anything that can be fried. The interviews captured the thoughts of three ‘average Americans’ who felt: Obama care was nuts; government was too huge and/or if shutting the government was the only way to curtail runaway government spending then – so be it.Of course had the same ‘average Americans’ been in Berkeley, CA or Seattle, WA or Miami, FL it is more than likely that their views would have been different.The moral of the report: you need to do your media research every day to develop a baseline of what the local media is adage so that you can gauge your own messages accordingly.Input and other sources invited.

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Borderless Cyber PSYOP Raises Legal Issues

Borderless Cyber PSYOP Raises Legal Issues Unless you have been income under a rock, you know that the world is all atwitter over documents released by former NSA Contractor, Edward Snowden. You should also know that these disclosures have raised significant concerns in this area domestic surveillance. It is not a fantastic leap of faith to see how attention could be focused on other forms of government proceedings, especially defense or law enforcement activities that may encroach upon the rights of US Citizens.From a PSYOP/MISO perspective, the Washington Post in its 7 July 13 edition ran an article “Somali American caught up in a dark Pentagon counterpropaganda campaign” (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/somali-american-caught-up-in-a-dark-pentagon-counterpropaganda-campaign/2013/07/07/b3aca190-d2c5-11e2-bc43-c404c3269c73_story_1.htmlwhich is also the photo source).The article clarification that the DOD cannot conduct PSYOP in the US nor “target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances.” (Source of the quote not referenced in the article.) The article describes actions taken by Navanti, a contractor (http://navantigroup.com/) in Somalia. The article quotes public records as stating “Navanti was working as a subcontractor for the Unique Operations Mandate to help conduct “information operations to engage local populations and counter nefarious influences” in Africa and Europe. “ The article also raises issues with respect to the impact of those actions towards a Somali American resident in Minneapolis.Warsarme, had posted extensively on line and it appeared that he was a likely supporter of al-Shabab, an Islamist militia which has been declared a terrorist organization.  Navanti claims that as soon as it realized he was based in the US they turned his information over to the government. Warsarme for his part was quoted: “I’m an American citizen,” Warsame said in an interview at a cafe in Minneapolis, home to the largest concentration of Somali refugees in the country. “I don’t help al-Qaeda. I don’t help al-Shabab. I don’t send them money. I’m not supporting killing anyone.” For the MISO community this is a giant red flag. We need to engage aggressively in our mission and we need to be able to defend our actions legally as well. Sorry to say, it is not clear if there is any US agency that has the domestic responsibility for countering shape activities that are contrary to US interests.The 1st Amendment is one of the ways we are set away from each other from other nations. The text of the Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religious conviction, or prohibiting the free implementation thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Source: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/print_friendly.html?page=bill_of_rights_transcript_content.html&title=The%20Bill%20of%20Rights%3A%20A%20Transcription) The text says nothing in this area government’s right to observe the speech nor does it say anything in this area trying to counter that speech. Cyber Shape is growing in importance and unlike kinetic trajectories, it is often impossible to predict where cyber campaigns will impact.That being said, we all know perception is reality and that one thing MISO/PSYOP doesn’t really need is more Congressional analysis.As always, reader input solicited.

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