Thursday, April 14, 2011

NATO PSYOP: A camel is a horse designed by a committee.

Common sense dictates that America should never go to war, or anything resembling war alone. The recent action in Libya is a case in point. President Obama held off committing US resources until there was some sort of ‘international push’ and ultimately took the position that the US would not be the lead – perhaps for the first time.

Of course the President came in for criticism from both sides of the aisle for acting or not acting and theorectically the French are ‘in charge’. However, is this a NATO kumbaya moment? Not really. Here are a couple of today’s headlines:

April 14, 2011: U.S. Ignores Plea for More Libya Strikes: France ( (Source of Photo)

April 14, 2011: NATO Struggles to Secure More Planes for Libya (

April 14, 2011: French, British leaders meet about West’s role in Libyan uprising (

I find these headlines troubling, but not surprising. Having served at a 4* NATO Task Force HQ where there were more Generals than Lieutenants, I’m familiar with the darker side of the Alliance – national politics and personalities.

The President was, in my humble opinion, on the money when he made sure that the US would not be the lead, however, this may turn out to be more wishful thinking than practicality. The Libya mission is at the moment at least, a relatively straight forward kinetic operation. Military targets are identified, aircraft and missiles are launched.

Given this simplicity and the need to control airspace, not to mention control fires to avoid fratricide, the Alliance, at least in theory, should be able to enlist and coordinate efforts of its members. This apparently does not seem to be the case as evidenced in the headlines.

My previous posts showed that I believe our enemies will exploit these attacks in propaganda against us, especially in the Muslim world. This effort continues unabated. While I’m not involved in any active operations, I would be quite surprised if there is even a dedicated and streamlined US information engagement effort touching SOCOM, EUCOM and AFRICOM while integrating active and reserve PSYOP forces to implement a comprehensive information engagement strategy including traditional PSYOP and CNO for its own sake and for psychological effect.

National needs and priorities are always at work inside the Alliance. Often the friction among these often conflicting priorities is exacerbated by senior officers who put national needs (after all their national GOs write the OERs) ahead of the good of the alliance.

Of course, I’m also not sure that the Alliance has an adequate capability to develop an overarching information engagement strategy, never mind implement the operations to support it.

I welcome input from those of you out there who can set me straight.

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