Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / / Articles
Goodbye, PSYOP! In the Wake of the success of the Arab spring, the Pentagon announced a complete overhaul of the areas of psychological operations
Material posted: -Publication date: 19-05-2012

Social protests have multiplied across the world: a different kind of movement with a meaning "conquer!" replicated dozens – from the poorest to the richest and most developed countries.

Certainly enough in all this sees a plan and its implementation is relatively clear that in military terms might be described as "strategic psychological operation" (or in other words "ideological sabotage"). However, in the background among the Russian specialists in the field of information warfare and information security date of 21 June 2010 does not cause any associations.

Meanwhile, it is quite interesting and significant date for the entire industry. On this day, Admiral Eric Olson, head of U.S. special operations Command, announced a decision to abandon the use of the term "psychological operations" (PSYOP), and replace it in the lexicon of the American army for the term "military information support" and psychological operations henceforth be described as "military information support operations" (MISO). He also stated that henceforth the term "psychological operations" is completely excluded from use in the U.S. military.

At the same time it was stated that the discontinuation of the use of such a known term, is not just a substitution of one notion by the other – this is the turning point in the whole development strategy of the directions of military science and military strategy. This implies a radical change in organization, practice and doctrine of action for the management of mass consciousness.

To understand the significance of the changes, it should be noted, however, that the term "psychological operations" in the American doctrinal documents adopted in the period of the Vietnam war. Prior to this, during the Second world war and in the war in Korea, used the term "psychological warfare". In other words, the term "psychological" is an integral part of the lexicon of spectrophoto almost 70 years.

What is the reason for such profound changes?

It is important to note that the rejection of the use of the term "PSYOPS" is a significant aspect of beginning a profound transformation in the understanding of the role and place of information influence in the new military doctrine of the USA.

That the term was derived from use in the summer of 2010, coincides with the fact that during this period it became evident that formed the groundwork in the field of psychological operations is very narrow and allows only the individual tasks within the overall plan of application of armed forces. Thus, the available capacity information weapons in mind control was much higher – this is clearly demonstrated by the events of the "Arab spring". On the other hand, in Afghanistan and Iraq specialists psychological operations suffered a serious defeat during the years of operation, they have failed to send the "collective consciousness" of the local population in ways that would have contributed to a loyal attitude towards the coalition troops (I must say that American soldiers have made great efforts to form their negative and sometimes sinister manner).

During this period strategic planning of psychological operations are being transferred from the Pentagon to the State Department of the United States. In December 2010 published its first "Quadrennial review of diplomacy and development" (quadrennial while Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR)), which is analogous to the "Quadrennial defense review" (quadrennial while Defense Review (QDR)) that showed continuity in the number of issues between the state Department and the Pentagon.

In November 2011, established new organizational structure "Bureau of conflict and stabilisation operations military-political situation in the country" (Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO)), and in January 2012 - "Bureau of counterterrorism" (Bureau of Counterterrorism). New structures are designed to take some of the activity that was previously conducted by the Pentagon.

The decision reflects the General direction of change conceptual approaches of the American administration to wars in the twenty-first century – information operations removed from the remit of the Pentagon and form their own resolution of conflicts. Classic same propaganda that has been the Foundation of American "psychological operations", there now remains just one of the many types of ensuring activity of the armed forces.

In General, it should be recognized that the American experts made a rather disappointing conclusions about the effectiveness of in Afghanistan and Iraq, psychological operations. However, it should not be assumed that this conclusion will affect the role and place of information operations in strategy to achieve the objectives of the national policy of the United States. Furthermore, you should expect that this place will only be enhanced, and the forces and means of psychological operations will be moved to the strategic level of making military-political decisions.

As a result of ongoing transformations, it can be assumed that the methods, known in previous years as the "velvet revolution" or "Arab spring" will become dominant. The main "driving force" of realizing them will become elite special forces units - this assumption is consistent with the information on the upcoming changes to U.S. special operations forces (which again will refocus the banal "sweeps" on the formation, training and coordination of the rebel movements in objectionable countries), whose role and significance will also be strengthened.

RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security