Military Review

Improving the methods and means of conducting psychological operations of the US armed forces


In the American expert community related to power structures, the causes and consequences of renaming one of the most unique structures of the Pentagon - the divisions of psychological operations (PSO) - are actively discussed. The name "psychological operations" (Psychological Operations, or PSYOP) in June 2010, assigned by him during the Vietnam War, was changed to a more neutral directive by the US Secretary of Defense - "information support", or MISO (Military Information Support Support Operation).

Veterans of the US Special Operations Command (CSR) (namely, PSO units are included in the organization) on Internet forums and blogs have expressed concern about this renaming. At the same time, the most critically new term was accepted by the current military personnel of the units of psychological operations. The main reasons for dissatisfaction are a too vague interpretation, which can be given to a new term, as well as a possible association of the abbreviation MISO with traditional Japanese soup.

Meanwhile, the meaning of the renaming of units of psychological operations of the US Armed Forces was explained by CSR representative K. McGraw: "This is associated with some suspiciousness, often manifested both abroad and within the country, to the term psychological operations, which often leads to a misinterpretation of the problems solved service. " In other words, the introduction of a new term reflects the concerns of American specialists in the field of information-psychological confrontation in the misunderstanding of the commanders on the ground of the essence and content of their activities.

According to American military experts, fundamental reforms are required in the field of psychological operations of the US Armed Forces. This is primarily due to the increased demand for the use of asymmetric methods of modern combat operations. Analysts are considering three options for solving this problem.

According to the first, it is necessary to leave the structure unchanged and continue to use it, as before, at the tactical level. The second suggests the integration of parts of psychological operations into EW units. In accordance with the third perspective, it is possible to reach the strategic level of PSO. There is also an opinion that informational and psychological operations should be “embedded” in the network-centric warfare system. This will allow us to promptly respond to the changing situation and link PSOs with hostilities, during which the physical destruction of the enemy is accompanied by the suppression of his morale, with the result that victory is achieved faster and with less expenditure of forces and means.
Currently, no state is able to provide its military security and protection against aggression, using only armed forces. Ensuring security is increasingly becoming a complex task, the solution of which requires the use of military, political, diplomatic, economic, informational and other means.

The armed forces of almost all developed countries have in their composition special structures responsible for the informational and psychological impact (IRP) on military personnel and the population of the enemy. In Germany, such a structure is represented by intelligence agencies, in the UK and Italy - psychological operations, in China - propaganda among the troops and the enemy population.

The United States has the most powerful apparatus for conducting PSOs. Their high efficiency is largely associated with the attention paid to this issue by the military-political leadership and command of the country, as well as a flexible organizational structure and the most modern technical equipment.

In the US Armed Forces, the Joint Special Operations Command (OXO, McDill Air Base, North Carolina) is directly responsible for organizing and maintaining information support (IO). Its main component is the command of special operations of the ground forces (CSR NE, Fort-Bragg, North Carolina), administratively closed also on the headquarters of the Army. In the subordination of the CSR NE are parts of the information support of the regular armed forces of more than 2 thousand people. As part of the reserve, the US Armed Forces have command of relations with the civil administration and psychological operations, to which reserve units of the information support of the ground forces and bodies (parts) for relations with the civil administration are subordinate. The command has about 9 thousand military and civilian personnel.

Each type of the country's Armed Forces (Air Force, Navy, Ground Forces) has its own forces and means of operational intelligence, but the ground forces have the greatest potential in this area, which in peacetime include regular units and information support units, as well as highly mobilized readiness.

The main regular formations of the psychological operations of the ground forces and at the same time the core of the entire structure of the UI of the US Armed Forces are the 4-I and 8-I groups of the IO (formerly GprPo, airborne, Fort-Bragg). Both have a similar structure and include a headquarters, a staff company and three regional battalions of the IO. In addition, the organizational unit of the 4 group of the IO includes the battalion of the preparation and distribution of IPV materials, and the 8 group has a battalion of tactical IO. In 2010, the fifth company (company "E") was added to it, which has combat experience in conducting psychological operations in Afghanistan. Thus, the tactical IO battalion became the most numerous subdivision of the IO in the Ground Forces of the USA, which indicates the increasing role of the tactical level in organizing and conducting psychological actions and events in support of military operations. The size of each group is about 1 thousand people.

The high efficiency of the units of the US Armed Forces IO is the result of combat experience gained during wars, armed conflicts and counter-terrorist operations (Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, the Balkans, Colombia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.). Almost no operation involving the US Armed Forces did not take place without the use of these formations.

The Joint Command of the Special Operations Forces of the US Armed Forces is constantly working to improve the forms and methods of psychological influence that meet the specific situation and conditions of the use of troops (forces). Faced with the low effectiveness of conventional military operations (at the tactical level) to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, the American command decided to achieve its goals not with "fire and sword", but by "winning hearts & minds" (hearts & minds) of Afghans. For this, mobile groups of civilian specialists were organized, which, under the protection of military units, were engaged in the restoration of communications and infrastructure, provided assistance to the local population and helped to stabilize the situation in the country. These units are known as Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs).

At various stages of the military operation, each FAC comprised military personnel from 50 to 100, as well as about a hundred civilian experts and advisers. The tasks of these teams were: ensuring security in the regions, restoring and strengthening the influence of the central Afghan government in the provinces, monitoring the situation and assisting the local authorities in solving outreach and socio-economic tasks. They were created in the provinces of Kunduz, Bamyan and Gardez, also in the cities of Jalalabad and Kandahar. This program was joined by the United Kingdom, which created the FPC in Mazar-i-Sharif, as well as New Zealand and Germany, which took under its wing the former American FSC in the cities of Bamyan and Kunduz. The success of the operation proved that, at a tactical level, the use of PSO units can be quite effective.

At the strategic level, the units of the Oncological Institute successfully acted from the very beginning of Operation Freedom to Iraq. In order to achieve its support by the world community, the Pentagon focused on focused work with media representatives.

Exclusive rights to coverage of the hostilities were granted to powerful information resources - agencies CNN and BBC. In addition, journalists "attached" to the units involved in the fighting (embedded journalists). The best American reporters were sent to their area of ​​reference.

The effectiveness of this decision was confirmed in the first days of the operation, when on the Internet it was possible in real time to observe footage of the offensive of the coalition forces from television cameras installed on American tanks... The calculation was made on the fact that "feather sharks", overcoming the hardships and deprivations of combat operations together with the soldiers, would not be able to criticize their "colleagues". In total, 662 journalists were "attached" to the combat units and subdivisions of the American army, another 95 were in British subdivisions.

According to Western experts, the new form of participation of journalists in the information and psychological support has made it possible to achieve substantial support for the hostilities from the public in the coalition countries.

In the second decade of the 21st century, psychological operations conducted by the US Armed Forces reached a qualitatively new level. Along with such traditional methods as print propaganda, oral agitation, television and radio broadcasting, American PSO experts began to actively use modern technologies of social media networks (Egypt, Libya, Syria). This made it possible to significantly increase the degree of effectiveness of IPV at a strategic level.

Legislative base PSO. Over the past few years, dozens of documents have been put into effect in the US armed forces, including the new edition of the US Psychological Assistance Manual JP 3-13.2 “Psychological Operations” from January 7 2010. This document reflects the views of the American military leadership on the preparation and conduct of AI in the course of joint military operations with the participation of state and non-state structures both in peacetime and in wartime.

The manual is a general guide for the commanders of large groups of troops (forces) of the Oncological Institute, as well as commanders of formations and units in the field of organization and conduct of psychological operations.

According to the document, the Pentagon finally moves to the preferential use of modern technologies for the distribution of IPV materials, including the Internet. Along with this, close interaction with civilian organizations involved in organizing public relations is provided. The government departments that coordinate and interact with are: the CIA, the US Department of State's International Information Programs Bureau, the International Broadcasting Bureau, the Broadcast Management Board, the Department of Commerce, Homeland Security, Transport, Energy and Justice, the Anti-Drug Administration and coast guard.

New technical means force PSO. The structures of the Oncological Institute of the U.S. Armed Forces are provided with everything necessary to create new technical means of information and psychological influence, including samples of non-lethal weapons. One of the well-known developments is the LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) acoustic gun, called the Jericho trumpet. The volume of the "pipe" is 150 db (a jet plane during take-off gives 120 db, and 130 - the threshold at which deafness occurs). LRADs were actively used in Iraq in the dispersal of the aggressive masses of civilians.

Along with unconventional technical means, conventional ones are widely used. Thus, in the interests of conducting PSO, it is planned to use the S-100 “Camcopter” unmanned aerial vehicle. This UAV, developed by the Austrian company Shibel, can be used to distribute leaflets, retransmit television and radio signals, and conduct broadcasting sessions. S-100 dimensions: length 3,11 m, height 1 m and width 1,2 m. The fuselage of the device is made of carbon fiber with titanium elements. In the standard configuration, the S-100 is able to be in the air with a payload of 35 kg for 6 h. The flight range without refueling is 200 km. The UAV can perform tasks according to the program laid down in advance, as well as with the operator’s commands.

In addition to new models of special equipment, the US military is effectively using old, proven weapons. For example, in all major conflicts, the Americans used the EU-130E "Commando Solo" psychological operations planes that are part of the 193-th wing of the United States National Guard MTR (Harrisburg Air Force Base, Pennsylvania). With their help, the task of demoralizing enemy troops and the civilian population, as practice has shown, is solved much faster.

Since its inception, the 193-E wing has managed to manifest itself in most of the famous "hot spots". So, in 1994, the Commando Solo planes were used during the operation in Haiti, where they were broadcast to military personnel and civilians. PSO with the participation of the EU-130E were also held in Grenada, Panama, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan. The modern modification of this aircraft - EC-130J - was actively involved during the operation "United Defender" in Libya.

As the experience of the use of the "Commando Solo" has shown, they have practically no weapons (in the conventional sense) in their combat effectiveness they are superior to strategic bombers. If during the bombings of B-1B, B-52H and even the most up-to-date and expensive B-2A "Spirit" servicemen, which they quickly get used to in the war, simply die, the programs "Commando Solo" crushed the most important thing - faith in the goals of the struggle and the future a victory without which any army loses the will to resist.

During the 20th century, the informational and psychological impact on the population and personnel of the armed forces of the enemy was included in the plans of the military-political leadership of the leading states of the world. At the beginning of the 21st century, IPV began to receive greater attention, which was largely due to the rapid pace of development, dissemination and implementation of information and telecommunication technologies in all spheres of life, especially on the basis of the global information network Internet. Significantly increased the volume and speed of information transfer. In addition, the role of “ordinary citizens” in the formation of such an information space has changed dramatically.

In such conditions, the effectiveness of the actions of information support divisions has become more than ever. This is due to the close attention paid by the CDF to the development of the forces and means of psychological operations. In the near future, we should expect the expansion of the scale of the Oncological Institute, their deeper integration into the global information processes, the numerical growth of the subdivisions of the Oncological Institute, and the improvement of the technical means of the IPR.

The editorial board of Voenniy Obozreniye urgently needs a proofreader. Requirements: impeccable knowledge of the Russian language, diligence, discipline. Contact: [email protected]

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  1. Kolya
    Kolya April 27 2013 08: 47 New
    Dictated by the USA to the world, the fashion for consumption is what makes humanity psychologically dependent ..
    1. Aryan
      Aryan April 29 2013 03: 25 New
      it used to be easier
      pour molten wax through the funnel of the enemy into the pipe
      and you’ll find out the whole truth
      and now what perversions have gone ... what
  2. tttttt
    tttttt April 27 2013 09: 34 New
    + This is true, and this is their main weapon. The worldview of the consumer is the worldview of livestock, to which everything can be instilled, so that the livestock is given the opportunity to consume.

    In contrast, we can offer the worldview principles of the horde, proposed by the officer of the GRU General Staff Andrei Petrovich Devyatov and officers of the VIIYAK, the so-called ethics of "five above":
    - power is higher than property,
    - service above possession,
    - justice is above the law,
    -general above private,
    -spiritual above material.
  3. Metlik
    Metlik April 27 2013 11: 18 New
    Man is an intelligent animal. Instincts rule them. Private property is an instinct. In the traditions of Russian values, selflessness and heroism are always high. But expecting this from everyone is always wrong.
    The American way of life is attractive enough and well advertised. It was the lifestyle of the ancient Romans that was once a powerful weapon, forcing other nations to join the empire. He gave man the opportunity to realize himself. If we want the best minds to remain with us, we need to create our own way of life better than in the West.
  4. Rossamaha
    Rossamaha April 27 2013 14: 54 New
    Comrades, each of you is right in his own way! Everyone has their own truth, one truth. laughing
  5. 1goose3
    1goose3 April 27 2013 15: 04 New
    the effectiveness of the operations of information support units has become more than ever.

    An example of this is the action of similar units in the collapse of the USSR, in fanning ethnic hatred, enmity in the vast expanses of the former USSR and as a result of military conflicts on this basis. NGOs, swamp hysteria, Magnitsky hysteria, radicalization of Islam in the Caucasus, dragging such sentiments into the Russian outback, etc. all this is not without the participation and organization of such units. Structures for counteracting, neutralizing and preventing the influence of such units must be created in our special services in order to identify their agents of influence in power, commercial, information, etc. at an early stage. layers of our society.
    By the way, even today on this site, as an example, you can cite the discussion of the article "Indignant Tajikistan". There, Mr. Alexander Romanov, by the way from the cohort of moderators, fanned such hysteria ... To explain this by saying that he would be just a doctor, but he is not at all a doctor. And the question arises, why? Here's an agent of influence, on the site, in action. Whose, that's another question.
    1. smile
      smile April 27 2013 18: 27 New
      Criticizing Alexander Romanov, you very tolerably omitted some details, in particular the fact that most of his rather harsh remarks are a response to the comments of his opponents that are quite worthy of repentance ... how did you write him famously into American swords ...
      By the way, do you agree with the righteous indignation of the Tajik leadership, which, with its "far-sighted policy", has brought the country to its brink, and is now actively adjusting its population, whose literacy level has dropped below the floor (again through its fault) against Russia and the Russians? Or do you like Comrade Rahmon's duplicity? Moreover, no one except Russia can save Tajikistan against the expansion of the militant Islamists ...
  6. tforik
    tforik April 27 2013 15: 33 New
    well done of course. He has something to be proud of for his achievements.
    1. smile
      smile April 27 2013 18: 33 New
      Yes - a successful thief and a murderer can be proud of a successful robbery, a rapist who deftly caught a defenseless girl in a secluded place, Hitler - that. that no one in such a short period could kill so many people, for Americans - how professionally they can capture someone else's and masterfully destroy civilians, together with incomparable armed groups that tried to protect this population .... you can be proud rare cynicism ... congratulations ...
  7. Sirocco
    Sirocco April 27 2013 16: 43 New
    Commando Solo --- As reported by the IARU Bulletin, many radio amateurs were very surprised to hear USB telephony in English and Arabic at 10125 kHz for several days. The impudent Yankees from the US Air Force - participants in the NATO operation "Commando Solo", coordinate their actions in the mission of forcing Libya to end the civil war, using the frequencies of the radio amateur bands for this. The Libyan military also does not hesitate to use these frequencies to resolve troop control issues, using simultaneously modes of jamming enemy frequencies. And the main method of psychological struggle is, as always, the media, and the Internet occupies a special place. That is to say the leader. In this domain.
  8. black
    black April 28 2013 03: 00 New
    In fact, very necessary units. So study, study, study with a potential adversary. Because how to fight, fight and fight is much harder.
  9. Mikhail3
    Mikhail3 April 28 2013 20: 41 New
    "The high efficiency of the US Armed Forces IO is the result of combat experience." High ?! Who measured? From what point? Maybe today Americans can go to the market in Kabul without disguise and without protection? Well, well ... It is very suitable as a debiting subject. Go check ... our Ministry of Internal Affairs annually writes off such amounts for crime prevention, in comparison with which the damage from all robberies in the country, along with burglaries, is simply nothing. And also - check how the realties ... Regarding the real benefits ...
    Keep correspondents out of the database zone and select information for them - for this, a couple of majors from the intelligence and the military police are enough. And the effectiveness of psychological warfare, and real ... most of all, it looks like a suitcase without a handle, with the only difference being that this one falls exactly on the head each time. Because in this case the worst thing is when a certain specialist really gets a real working result. Not frenzied, primitive, total lies that led to color revolutions (by the level of methods somewhere around the third year of the faculty of psychiatry), but really working methods of influence. What's the matter? Is this a mystery?
    In a consumer society, led by a corrupt financial oligarchy, in a society that carefully ensures that a true professional does his best, works, tears his veins ... while getting barely bread (this is the main principle. Because financiers - scammers. Their way of life is fraud. Therefore, the pros should never get access to funds, they are potentially capable of causing great troubles to scammers) and did not enjoy any respect ... in this society, a person receives real power in his hands. Why would he put new opportunities at the service of someone ?!
    Such techniques are instantly secret by the author, who begins to apply them personally for himself, which means ... against the command! Against the authorities, capturing the minds of not the enemies of the SGA, but of their personal enemies. Thus gaining personal power. Of course, after much effort, such a person is destroyed. In no other way can a real, effective "psychological war" develop.
    So renaming is logical and the only way. Paid trolls are Internet warriors following the pattern of Israel. Accumulation of information, carefully cut off from its analysis. Other similar simple movements. More these subdivisions should not achieve in principle! I think there were more than one or two cases, after which some people instantly write from one uttering of the words "psychological war" ...
  10. pinecone
    pinecone April 28 2013 22: 26 New
    Samples of such visual agitation in the form of color pictures depicting gallant American soldiers with their very effective weapons are also posted on the Military Review forum.
    As for war correspondents, they appeared a long time ago. It is believed that the British were the first to promote this business during the Crimean War.