The following are psychological operations (PSYOP) leaflets dropped over Afghanistan and Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The leaflets are taken from a booklet released commercially by Giovanni Carmine and Christoph Büchel in 2006. The leaflets are written…
The mission of Psychological Operations is to influence the behavior of foreign target audiences (TAs) to support United States (U.S.) national objectives. Psychological Operations(PSYOP) are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals (JP 3-53, Joint Doctrine for Joint Psychological Operations). Behavioral change is at the root of the PSYOP mission. Although concerned with the mental process of foreign TAs, it is the observable modification of foreign TA behavior that determines the mission success of PSYOP. It is this link between influence and behavior that distinguished PSYOP from other capabilities and activities of information operations (IO) and related components such as public affairs.
This Soldier training publication (STP) is for Skill Levels 1 through 4 Soldiers holding the military occupational specialty (MOS) 37F, Psychological Operations Specialist. It contains standardized training objectives in the form of task summaries to train critical tasks that support unit missions. All Soldiers holding MOS 37F should have access to this publication. This publication applies to the Active Army, the Army National Guard (ARNG)/Army National Guard of the United States (ARNGUS), and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) unless otherwise stated.
In accordance with (IAW) reference a, MISO replaces the term psychological operations (PSYOP). This instruction provides strategic direction for inclusion of MISO to support the full range of military operations including military engagement, security cooperation and deterrence; crisis response and limited contingency operations; major operations and campaigns; and as an integrated information activity within the DOD’s overall contribution to United States Government (USG) communication strategies.
A collection of documents recently obtained and published by Public Intelligence provides a complete guide to NATO’s training process for “strategic communications” activities, including public diplomacy, public affairs, information operations and psychological operations. The documents, compiled for participants in a NATO training summit, describe the doctrine behind strategic communications and provide practical examples of their use in a number of recent conflicts from Libya to Afghanistan. These activities are designed to contribute “positively and directly in achieving the successful implementation of NATO operations, missions, and activities” as well as “influence the perceptions, attitudes and behaviour of target audiences . . . with the goal of achieving political or military objectives”.
NATO Technical Report: Measuring the Effectiveness of Activities that Influence Attitudes and Behaviors
The emphasis of military operations is shifting more and more towards non-kinetic activities, such as Psychological Operations and Information Operations, which are geared towards influencing attitudes and behaviors of specific target audiences. Though many such activities are undertaken, there is little systematic evaluation of the effects they bring about and their effectiveness. As a result, it is not well known what these operations contribute to the overall operation and to what degree they are achieving their goals. The purpose of the Task Group HFM-160 was to develop a systematic approach to the Measurement Of Effectiveness (MOE) of influence operations.
The role of Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) is to induce or reinforce the perceptions. attitudes and behaviour of North Atlantic Council (NAC) approved audiences in support of Alliance political and military objectives. Additionally, PSYOPS can mitigate the effective use of hostile propaganda against friendly forces, local civilian audiences and other audiences of importance to NATO.
The purpose of Allied Joint Publication (AJP)-3.10.1 Allied Joint Doctrine for Psychological Operations is to address the planning and conduct of military PSYOPS in support of NATO activities. PSYOPS, as one of the key contributors to most information operations (INFO OPS) activities, will achieve their greatest effect when coordinated within the larger INFO OPS plan and supporting a much broader information strategy. The new construct of INFO OPS is focused on affecting will, understanding, and capability through the three activities of influence, counter-command, and information protection. It must be noted that PSYOPS has influence activity as its mission; and by influencing target audiences (TA) directly, PSYOPS, in turn, has indirect effects on understanding and capability.
Military information support operations (MISO) play an important role in DOD communications efforts through the planned use of directed programs specifically designed to support USG and DOD activities and policies. MISO are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals in a manner favorable to the originator’s objectives. Military information support (MIS) professionals follow a deliberate process that aligns commander’s objectives with an analysis of the environment; select relevant TAs; develop focused, culturally, and environmentally attuned messages and actions; employ sophisticated media delivery means; and produce observable, measurable behavioral responses.
Psychological operations (PSYOP) have long been used by militaries around the world to coerce populations into acting in a manner favorable to their mission objective. The product of these operations, which is commonly called propaganda when distributed by enemy forces, is a mixture of complex social research, art direction and psychological theory designed to manipulate its unsuspecting recipient into modifying their behavior in a way favorable to those conducting the PSYOP. The message conveyed through a PSYOP can often stray into deeply emotional and personal territory that is intended to trigger a profound psychological response. For example, U.S. and British troops fighting in Italy and France during World War II were subjected to a barrage of leaflets dropped by German aircraft describing the futility of their mission, encouraging them to take the “POW life insurance policy” and instructing them that their girlfriends back home were being taken advantage of by Jewish businessmen. The methodology behind these persuasive psychological tactics is described in detail in U.S. Army FM 3-05.301 Psychological Operations Process Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, which provides fascinating insight into the methods used by PSYOP soldiers to modify the behavior of targeted populations.
Field Manual (FM) 3-05.301 describes the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) for the implementation of United States (U.S.) Army Psychological Operations (PSYOP) doctrine presented in the higher-level publication, FM 3-05.30, Psychological Operations. FM 3-05.301 provides general guidance for commanders, staffs, and Soldiers who plan and conduct PSYOP across the range of military operations. The TTP in this manual are presented within the framework of the seven-phase PSYOP process, a mainstay for effective PSYOP executed at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
The following leaflets are part of a collection (9.1 MB PDF) held at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Library at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The leaflets were distributed to Allied troops in France and Italy from 1944-1945.
The effective employment of IO to influence primary target audiences, including the population, local leaders, host nation security forces, government officials, and insurgents, is a key component of counterinsurgency (COIN) operations.
The intent of U.S. UW efforts is to exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities by developing and sustaining resistance forces to accomplish U.S. strategic objectives. Historically, the military concept for the employment of UW was primarily in support of resistance movements during general-war scenarios. While this concept remains valid, the operational environment since the end of World War II has increasingly required U.S. forces to conduct UW in scenarios short of general war (limited war). Enabling a resistance movement or insurgency entails the development of an underground and guerrilla forces, as well as supporting auxiliaries for each of these elements. Resistance movements or insurgencies always have an underground element. The armed component of these groups is the guerrilla force and is only present if the resistance transitions to conflict. The combined effects of two interrelated lines of effort largely generate the end result of a UW campaign. The efforts are armed conflict and subversion. Forces conduct armed conflict, normally in the form of guerrilla warfare, against the security apparatus of the host nation (HN) or occupying military. Conflict also includes operations that attack and degrade enemy morale, organizational cohesion, and operational effectiveness and separate the enemy from the population. Over time, these attacks degrade the ability of the HN or occupying military to project military power and exert control over the population. Subversion undermines the power of the government or occupying element by portraying it as incapable of effective governance to the population.
With the release of their November 2010 Special Issue of Inspire magazine, a group claiming to be Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has again succeeded in getting the entire global news media to uncritically relate their message. Every few months since the first release of the magazine in July 2010, the public is now subjected to a mass of uncritical stories that propagate predefined talking-points which are taken almost verbatim from one of two “monitoring groups” which actually profit from the sale of terrorist propaganda materials. One of those groups, the SITE Intelligence Group, was founded by the daughter of an executed Israeli spy. Joel Meares of The Columbia Journalism Review writes that when “Reading the latest terror reports it seems that any questions about the validity of Inspire have disappeared. The magazine once greeted with skepticism and perspective—to what extent one publication can speak for as disparate and fractured a community as the jihadists is always a question—is now being treated as the unquestioned and official spokes-journal of Al-Qaeda. And some close watchers of Al-Qaeda caution against the approach.”
Recently reports of an English-language “al-Qaeda magazine” were dealt with in mostly uncritical terms by the majority of news outlets. Wired’s Danger Room blog described how the new magazine was an attempt “to move politically frustrated Muslim youth in the West down the road of violent extremism” by filling that “inexplicably vacant media space between O: The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics and the al-Qaida book Knights Under The Prophet’s Banner”. FOXNews quotes Brookings Institution fellow Bruce Reidel as saying that the magazine is “clearly intended for the aspiring jihadist in the U.S. or U.K. who may be the next Fort Hood murderer or Times Square bomber”. The Daily Beast quotes U.S. government officials as saying that the “U.S. government is aware of this new propaganda vehicle by al Qaeda in Yemen and Anwar Awlaki” and that “AQAP and Awlaki are clearly trying to incite terrorist activity overseas, and to recruit new extremists. The packaging of this magazine may be slick, but the contents are as vile as the authors.”
IDF Brief: Battle for the Narrative in Low Intensity Conflicts, March 2005.
Information Operations (BOTTOM LINE)
•IT IS NOT:
–All about technology
–Focused on individual capabilities, i.e., PYSOP, EW, CNO, etc
–All about influencing key decision makers and populations through operations within and affecting the information environment
–The art of integrating lethal and non-lethal capabilities to affect the information environment (supports combat operations)
–Employed across the spectrum of conflict and throughout every phase (0-5) of operations
–Consistent with strategic communication goals and synchronized with public affairs
Targets of Psychological Operations
PSYOP can assist counterinsurgency by reaching the following targets:
-Civilian Populace (US & HN)
-External Hostile Powers
Below are some suggestions on why to release information as early as possible:
1. The American public, Congress and the media are entitled to “timely and accurate” information about the military, per the DoD Principles of Information (See Appendix).
2. Early release of information sets the pace and tone for resolution of a problem.
3. If you wait, the story will often leak anyway. If it does, you jeopardize trust and credibility.
This report describes the emerging areas of information operations, electronic warfare, and cyberwar in the context of U.S. national security. It also suggests related policy issues of potential interest to Congress. For military planners, the control of information is critical to military success, and communications networks and computers are of vital operational importance. The use of technology to both control and disrupt the flow of information has been generally referred to by several names: information warfare, electronic warfare, cyberwar, netwar, and Information Operations (IO). Currently, IO activities are grouped by the Department of Defense (DOD) into five core capabilities: (1) Psychological Operations, (2) Military Deception, (3) Operational Security, (4) Computer Network Operations, and (5) Electronic Warfare. Current U.S. military doctrine for IO now places increased emphasis on Psychological Operations, Computer Network Operations, and Electronic Warfare, which includes use of non-kinetic electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, and nonlethal weapons for crowd control. However, as high technology is increasingly incorporated into military functions, the boundaries between all five IO core capabilities are becoming blurred.