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Thread: Improving PSYOP (and CA as a tangent)

  1. #21
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    I think the War of Ideas is going to take more than just some ideas at this point, its going to take a national level coordination office, something we had during times of conflict during the 20th c., but has been loudly rejected and lambasted in the 21st (by the media and turf warring bureaucrats)

  2. #22
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    What is the turn around time for idea to implementation? We all know we are losing the information war here, so how do we streamline the process? Sorry two questions.
    Q1: From good idea to products in hand of the indig should only take the design and production time, in my mind - if and only if the messages are known and the answer to #2 is true.
    Q2: Trusting your subordinates to do the right thing for the overall mission.

    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    I think the War of Ideas is going to take more than just some ideas at this point, its going to take a national level coordination office, something we had during times of conflict during the 20th c., but has been loudly rejected and lambasted in the 21st (by the media and turf warring bureaucrats)
    I agree there needs to be a national message, but not necessarily another bureaucratic organization that "coordinates" and, thus, anchors progress.

    What if the local message needs to counter the national level message for progress in the local area? How many loopholes would you have to jump through then?

    If commander's intent is understood, why can it not be vetted locally (BDE/BN and below)? Wouldn't COL Maxwell or COL Gentile like the opportunity to design their IO messages as they see fit?
    Example is better than precept.

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    RTK, tactical PSYOP supports the battlefield commander, and its useful, but its not going to win the War of Ideas. In the 20th c. we created no less than 6 national level central Strategic PSYOP offices, and dismantled them when the time came, the last one met in 1987. Its been proven this works - the Cold War was a War of Ideas as well, and it was through the aggressive use of Influence Operations, mostly outside of the military, that put the first chinks in the Soviet armor, via Poland. Every War College assessment I've read of our failure in the War of Ideas has concluded that we need a strategic centralized office, as well as ever academic discussion I've come across.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    RTK, tactical PSYOP supports the battlefield commander, and its useful, but its not going to win the War of Ideas. In the 20th c. we created no less than 6 national level central Strategic PSYOP offices, and dismantled them when the time came, the last one met in 1987. Its been proven this works - the Cold War was a War of Ideas as well, and it was through the aggressive use of Influence Operations, mostly outside of the military, that put the first chinks in the Soviet armor, via Poland. Every War College assessment I've read of our failure in the War of Ideas has concluded that we need a strategic centralized office, as well as ever academic discussion I've come across.
    IO is larger than you. It's larger than PSYOP. My point is what the 98% of the force that doesn't have a TPD connected to it.

    The young specialist rifleman does more PSYOP/CA/IO on a day to day basis than most PSYOP or CA teams do in a week. While the bureaucratic powers that be try to figure out the perfect way, the Soldiers and Marines on the ground are figuring out their own way that works in their AO regardless of a centralized strategy.

    That's reality, regardless of studies, papers, or discussion.
    Example is better than precept.

  5. #25
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    Voodoun: Also, read here, here, and here. A lot of this has been talked about.

    The search button is your friend.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Of course IO is larger than me and larger than PSYOP, no one ever said it wasnt, its also larger than the entire DoD, and frankly, larger than America.

    The notion that the average hard power rifleman does more to win the War of Ideas than anyone else is unsupported, and not contended in the links you provided. We are in an ideological struggle with Islamist militantism, and riflemen are not going to solve that conflict. Everyone from Bush, to Rice, to Petraeus has acknowledged this. We're talking about the War of Ideas here, not the ground operations that rely on IO, Influence Ops (more than Info Ops) to achieve their military goals.

    The fact is that a national level organization worked in the past, and current experts unanimously support the notion, but have been unable ot generate the political will to create it. The OSI was shut down not because it was useless, but because it created too much popular opposition to be effective.

    What is discussed on the SWJ bboard hardly trumps the ongoing and dedicated efforts at RAND, USAWC, and academic instutitons all across the Western world.


    Cragin, Kim and Gerwehr, Scott. Dissuading Terror: Strategic Influence and the Struggle Against Terrorism. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2005

    Gough, Susan L. “The Evolution of Strategic Influence” USAWC Strategy Research Project, 2003

    Schleifer, Ron. Psychological Warfare in the Intifada: Israeli and Palestinian Media Politics and Military Strategies. Portland, Ore.: Sussex Academic, 2006.

    Ward, Brad M. “Strategic Influence Operations – the Information Connection” USAWC Strategy Research Project, 2003

    Phares, Walid. The War of Ideas: Jihad Against Democracy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

    Radvanyi, Janos. Psychological Operations and Political Warfare in Long Term Strategic Planning. New York: Praeger, 1990

    Rosnau, William. “Waging the 'War of Ideas'” RAND Reprint, 2006

    You can read the RAND stuff here:

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/reprints/2006/RAND_RP1218.pdf (accessed December 2nd, 2008)

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG184.pdf

    As you can see, the issue that you took exception to (a centralized organization), is universally accepted. Now if you can provide examples of social science research contradicting this conclusion, I would be very interested in reading them. I'm always open to being proven wrong.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    Of course IO is larger than me and larger than PSYOP, no one ever said it wasnt, its also larger than the entire DoD, and frankly, larger than America.

    The notion that the average hard power rifleman does more to win the War of Ideas than anyone else is unsupported, and not contended in the links you provided. We are in an ideological struggle with Islamist militantism, and riflemen are not going to solve that conflict. Everyone from Bush, to Rice, to Petraeus has acknowledged this. We're talking about the War of Ideas here, not the ground operations that rely on IO, Influence Ops (more than Info Ops) to achieve their military goals.

    The fact is that a national level organization worked in the past, and current experts unanimously support the notion, but have been unable ot generate the political will to create it. The OSI was shut down not because it was useless, but because it created too much popular opposition to be effective.

    What is discussed on the SWJ bboard hardly trumps the ongoing and dedicated efforts at RAND, USAWC, and academic instutitons all across the Western world.


    Cragin, Kim and Gerwehr, Scott. Dissuading Terror: Strategic Influence and the Struggle Against Terrorism. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2005

    Gough, Susan L. “The Evolution of Strategic Influence” USAWC Strategy Research Project, 2003

    Schleifer, Ron. Psychological Warfare in the Intifada: Israeli and Palestinian Media Politics and Military Strategies. Portland, Ore.: Sussex Academic, 2006.

    Ward, Brad M. “Strategic Influence Operations – the Information Connection” USAWC Strategy Research Project, 2003

    Phares, Walid. The War of Ideas: Jihad Against Democracy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

    Radvanyi, Janos. Psychological Operations and Political Warfare in Long Term Strategic Planning. New York: Praeger, 1990

    Rosnau, William. “Waging the 'War of Ideas'” RAND Reprint, 2006

    You can read the RAND stuff here:

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/reprints/2006/RAND_RP1218.pdf (accessed December 2nd, 2008)

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG184.pdf

    As you can see, the issue that you took exception to (a centralized organization), is universally accepted. Now if you can provide examples of social science research contradicting this conclusion, I would be very interested in reading them. I'm always open to being proven wrong.
    Talk to me again after you deploy and do it yourself. Be safe.

    By the way, in the Army IO is Information Operations, not influence operations (FM 1-02, Operational Terms and Graphics).
    Last edited by RTK; 01-23-2009 at 03:58 PM.
    Example is better than precept.

  8. #28
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    From the Naval War College



    Abstract: American and NATO forces are now engaged in what can be described as Influence Operations in Afghanistan. This paper demonstrates that in order to be effective, these Influence Operations must be tailored for each individual province and uniquely focused to account for how ethnic composition, geography, economic and agricultural factors affect the thoughts, actions, and behaviors of the population in each province.
    Example is better than precept.

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    That abstract doesnt contradict the conclusion that there needs to be a national level office.

    Intelligence needs to be tailored for each individual province too, doesnt mean we shouldnt have a CIA.

    Kinetic operations in Tikrit have to be tailored to Tikrit, but we still need a CENTCOM, don't we?

    I'm not sure that my deployment on a TPT and getting experience tactically has any bearing on the strategic issue brought up when dealing with the War of Ideas.

    Some of the best strategic thinkers in history were never tactically experienced.

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    From GEN Krulak on the Strategic Corporal and his/her influence at the tactical level.

    Another, from this very site.
    Example is better than precept.

  11. #31
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    Default Looks like RTK beat me to the punch, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    Of course IO is larger than me and larger than PSYOP, no one ever said it wasnt, its also larger than the entire DoD, and frankly, larger than America.
    If that's true, then as RTK pointed out, the an American rifleman's actions on the ground are all the more critical.

    The notion that the average hard power rifleman does more to win the War of Ideas than anyone else is unsupported, and not contended in the links you provided.
    I think RTK is suggesting something very obvious (and very true) to you. IT IS the American rifleman that is the direct link between all the great IO efforts and the people we are trying to influence. The great folks at RAND and other similiar institutions aren't the ones executing an IO theme. They are sitting in an office. The fellas with their boots on the ground are America's representation to the target audience. Their actions (good or bad) will be significant to our effort.

    We are in an ideological struggle with Islamist militantism, and riflemen are not going to solve that conflict.
    Not all by themselves, but it doesn't decrease the significance of their performance. Read up on the Anbar Awakening for an example.

    Everyone from Bush, to Rice, to Petraeus has acknowledged this. We're talking about the War of Ideas here, not the ground operations that rely on IO, Influence Ops (more than Info Ops) to achieve their military goals.
    I think that GEN Petraeus in particular recognizes the importance of the actions of American Soldiers on the ground. Their performance (in terms of ability to provide security and support HNF) has done much to influence our target audience. Granted, this would be specific to just Iraq and Afghanistan, but don't think the rest of the ME hasn't noticed the turn around in Iraq, which much of can be attributed to the work of American Soldiers.

    The fact is that a national level organization worked in the past, and current experts unanimously support the notion, but have been unable ot generate the political will to create it. The OSI was shut down not because it was useless, but because it created too much popular opposition to be effective.
    I don't know enough about OSI to speak intelligently. I do know that like many, I'm apprehensive about putting my faith into yet another government organization to head this effort.

    What is discussed on the SWJ bboard hardly trumps the ongoing and dedicated efforts at RAND, USAWC, and academic instutitons all across the Western world.
    The longer you read and post here, the more you will find the aforementioned statement to be false. I'll bet you that folks in RAND and the like, and particularly USAWC, lurk and post here. I will also bet they regard this place as pretty credible. I hope that some of them read this and chime in to support what I just said.
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

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    Clearly we're talking around eachother, because in no sense does the notion of the strategic corporal contradict my position.

    Sure, the average soldier needs to gain a sense of sophistication, sure. No doubt. Doesnt mean that we don't need national level Strategic PSYOP campaigns focused on long term conversion efforts organized and executed at the national level.

    Strategic Corporals can run around all day long and have zero affect on the War of Ideas. There is no military solution to this idealogical struggle - or do you disagree with Gen Petraeus?

    You seem to be framing the argument in terms of what will benefit the military, what will allow the military to succeed in its mission.

    The War of Ideas, to paraphrase you, is bigger than the military.

    There is nothing that the strategic corporal can do to co-opt and redirect the message of al Manar, to bring the cultural power of MTV, Levis Jeans, and McDonald's to bear, to affect the curriculm of the madrassa in Saudi Arabia or the jamiat in Iraq, nor is that claim being made in the sources you're providing.
    Last edited by Voodoun; 01-23-2009 at 04:42 PM.

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    jkm, sorry, I come from an academic debate background, and frankly, straw men are being overly relied on in this exchange to make a point.

    I *never* denied that the rifleman will affect perceptions and color the image of the US in the Arab world. Unfortunately, the War of Ideas is much bigger than that. Every Iraqi could love every American soldier, and we still wouldnt be winning the War of Ideas.

    Arab kids LOVE American pop culture, and a huge proportion of Arabs highly value American ideals, but hate American policy. That can only be changed rapidly at the strategic level via an organized and concerted effort.

    Islamists spent 30 years engaged in a disparate unorganized campaign to shape the curriculum at American universities, we don't have that kind of time.

    William Donovan made a very astute observation 65 years ago:

    The “inability to respond effectively in the modern war of words” and the need to “rely exclusively, or even primarily, on orthodox methods of warfare” was “appallingly costly in blood and treasure.”

    And so he spearheaded a national level Influence Operations organization.

    Now, maybe I'm wrong along with the vast majority - its possible, but a convincing argument has yet to be presented by either RTK or yourself.

    I'll ask again - should CIA not exist, because its a centralized national level organization?

    What about CENTCOM?

    Every conflict of the modern era had an organization similiar to the one I've mentioned - it only dissapeared in the late 1980's.
    Last edited by Voodoun; 01-23-2009 at 04:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    That abstract doesnt contradict the conclusion that there needs to be a national level office.

    Intelligence needs to be tailored for each individual province too, doesnt mean we shouldnt have a CIA.

    Kinetic operations in Tikrit have to be tailored to Tikrit, but we still need a CENTCOM, don't we?

    I'm not sure that my deployment on a TPT and getting experience tactically has any bearing on the strategic issue brought up when dealing with the War of Ideas.

    Some of the best strategic thinkers in history were never tactically experienced.
    We have the National Security Strategy. Another will be published soon. That document lays out the overall themes from the President. It's the duty of the JCS and State Department to ensure they are fulfilled down to MACOMs. It is then the responsibilities of joint staffs to get it to the tactical level.

    What is strategy if not for the implementation at the tactical level? Will any MACOM win the war?

    As for experience being brought up:

    I don't think you're focused in the right direction. I also think you're going to piss off whoever you're going to work for with your contrarian approach to what's been presented to you. Studies say one thing. My experiences in over 24 months in theater as a combat leader indicate otherwise. To be honest, I think they wasted a tremendous amount of time and resources to give a utopian view of operations that contradict reality.

    You're a relatively inexperienced E4(P) getting ready for your first deployment. I'd be far more concerned, at this stage of the game, of what YOU can effect at your level for the command you are assigned to than redesigning the operational and strategic infrastucture of American foreign policy and military planning. What are you going to do to shape the battlefield to make your commander and his unit successful? What information will you gather to provide the intelligence and situational awareness to leave you AO in better shape than you found it? That, above all else, is what you should focus on right now.

    Read Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson, to see the power of individual action over a large area. I've seen Soldiers do the same thing.
    Example is better than precept.

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    RTK,

    I appreciate your advice, but I'd like to point out that the contrarianism didn't start with me. I made a point, one that has been made repeatedly and is well accepted both professionally and academically, and has been since 2001, and was our standard procedure during the 20th c., and you told me I was wrong.

    What I do as a tactical asset is absolutely unrelated to my ability (or the requirement to do just this as a grad student) to scrutinze and assess policy.

    We are losing the War of Ideas. If you think a disparate and disorganized approach is the best way to recover ground on this front that was lost long before 9/11, I'd like to see that position defended. Again, I'm talking about the strategic level - you keep making reference to the tactical. You could be right. I think a lot of people would be interested in seeing a defense of that contention.

    Who is going to coordinate Influence Ops between State and DoD?

    DoD decided that a unified organization was important enough that after the OSI was shut down it created a Joint PSYOP support element to coordinate DoD efforts.

    What about the Justice Dept?

    How will the strategic corporal replicate the activities of the USIA? What can the strategic corporal do in Lebanon, or Syria, where he's not operating? How can he make al Hurra and Radio Sawa effective?

    I am not *just* an E4 getting ready for deployment, I am also an academic specifically working on policy in this arena.
    Last edited by Voodoun; 01-23-2009 at 04:59 PM.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoun View Post
    Again, I'm talking about the strategic level - you keep making reference to the tactical. You could be right. I think a lot of people would be interested in seeing a defense of that contention.
    I talk tactical because that the only common ground you and I have right now. I'm a tactical level combat leader. You're a member of a TPT/D. OUr job is to fight and win. Strategy be damned, we're the ones that have to do it. How do WE make it better. You have yet to even address (or ask) what it is you need to do to be successful. You're shooting at the 500 meter target when you're getting tattooed by the 10 meter pop-up. Let me re-vector you to your inital question:

    Here's a thought I've had for a long time - doctrinally when a TPT goes out on a PSYOP mission, the 3-4 man team is effectively relegated to one or two men while the other two are left behind with the Humvee. Some discussion on that matter from people who have been down range a few times is that TPTs will often recruit a couple soldiers from their security element (say, the Infantry element they are supporting) to hold down that job, while the PSYOP trained soldiers are freed up to throw more PSYOP at the situation.

    Is this a regular practice? Does it work? Should it work? If it does work, and there are no downsides, should it become doctrine?
    Whether you see it or not, I'm trying to get you to think of the things you're going to need to answer to before you meet the first commander you'll be supporting. He isn't going to care about your theories of strategy. If you come in with that he'll probably kick you out of his TOC.

    You're out of acadamia and theory. You're in the realm of execution now. Get used to it. Embrace it. And don't forget that your action or inaction will impact the Soldiers around you.


    Edited to add after you addition of your last line:

    Regardless of what you're doing in your research, which is admirable and vital, you probably need to focus down. I have never referenced any Soldier as "just" and E4 or any other demeaning descriptor such as "just" or "only." My track record with the Soldiers I have worked with and lead indicate the same. Do NOT infer that I did it here.
    Last edited by RTK; 01-23-2009 at 05:09 PM.
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  17. #37
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    Yup, we were clearly talking around eachother.

    Tactically I'm not disagreeing with anything you're saying. I most certainly did ask what I needed to be successful tactically, as you pointed out, in my original question.

    As you have said, I can affect my AO, I can assist my supported unit in accomplishing its mission, and certainly those are things I'm focusing on in getting ready for deployment. Well, I'm focusing on helping my unit get ready for that. Clearly we need to improve the sophistication of our ground soldiers, and as kville79, who is in my unit, can attest, I try to facilitate that every chance I get. Nothing chaps me more than hearing a PSYOPer talk about ragheads and about how we've been fighting them for thousands of years. I get it.

    What I still don't get it how my comment, which is *widely* accepted, and drew fire from you, made me contrarian. Patronize me all you want about tactical concerns, I'm hear to learn about that stuff from you guys, and I only know what I've been taught.

    But when we're discussing the War of Ideas, which is way bigger than my supported unit or my rank, and a matter largely outside of the Army's realm of responsiblity, I don't see my defense of a position unrelated to either your experience as a commander or mine as Jr. Enlisted as contrarian.

    When I'm in uniform I'm perfectly capable of shutting up and being wrong, in that military way that has nothing to do with correct or incorrect, so I don't intend to be pissing off any commanders.

  18. #38
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    Default Yes we can

    Something about this and the SOF support thread has bugged me for a few days now. When the subject of CA and PSYOP soldiers was first raised by Voodoun, the immediate response was "those dirty undisciplined SF wannabe's". Yet when we learned that they are trained to use the equipment and methods that were listed as the reasons for them being "dirty undisciplined SF wannabe's" not one senior member of this council went "ah-ha, perhaps my perceptions were flawed and I need to make an effort to understand these assets better". Not a single one. I'll admit my initial perceptions of CA and PSYOPS mirrored yours, but hearing that some of what we thought was rather silly was trained, and done by the individual, makes me think "why do the soldiers trust the training even if it gets them negative attention from us ground pounder types?" Combined with some of the black and white tactical advice "Never ever ever cuff your sleeves because there is a slight chance of getting a really bad burn from hot brass" this shows a real narrow view on operational concepts (operational is the wrong word, just can't think of the right one at the moment), and we, as the front line on both thinking and discussion of fighting concepts and as professional soldiers can do better. We need to do better. This is were fallacious arguments like HIC vs COIN come from. The world is not black and white, it is grey. Voodoun, the members are very knowledgeable and always give there advice serious consideration, but you don't need to take it as gospel, trust your training and your own gut too.
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    Default Listening halts are necessary...

    You have to listen closely with much more than just your intellect in order to understand what some of the wise people are saying both here at SWJ and downrange. You will need to apply that ability to listen in Iraq for yourself, your team, and your supported unit.

    Wilmington has a beach at Ft. Fischer which has helped me, in the past, to still the whir of my intellectual gears and to really listen to what's around me. That beach helped me to prepare for and later to integrate my downrange experience with my civilian and academic experience.

    Failing that there is always beer and women to help you with developing your listening skills...
    Sapere Aude

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    <I have never referenced any Soldier as "just" and E4 or any other demeaning descriptor such as "just" or "only." My track record with the Soldiers I have worked with and lead indicate the same. Do NOT infer that I did it here.>

    RTK, sorry, didn't mean to imply that you were doing that - *I* am calling myself just an E4 - I don't make any pretension to soldiering expertise. hell, E4 implies a level of competence I can certainly display, but is far beyond my comfort zone. I know that when I deploy I'm going to be growing INTO my rank, not out of it.

    No need to pull any punches or anything, we're all grown ups. I know where my weaknesses are.

    But RTK, I'd still like to know how I came across as contrarian, when I was just defending a point I made. I felt you were being contrarian, actually. Either way, I'm still interested in your opinion that is contrary to Bill Donovan's ;-)

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