Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street As A PSYOP Laboratory

I find the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to be a fascinating sociological phenomenon. For one thing it spans multiple geographic areas simultaneously. For another, it doesn’t seem to have a hierarchy nor a stated specific purpose. OWS is unlike the classic protests of the 1960s and 70s which were formed to protest the war in Viet Nam or even the popular movements called the Arab Spring which were focused protesting government rule and in my view may be indicative of future activities.

(Photo Source: CDC, Atlanta, GA

The noted former Presidential Advisor, Richard Clarke once said “The future will not be like the past.” To me the Arab Spring and the OWS are perhaps a window into the future and as such are worthy of detailed study by PSYOP/MISO professionals. Both are mass movements involving significant amounts of people. Both have provoked kinetic and non-kinetic government responses and both have managed to put a spotlight on how governments react.

In previous postings I addressed the combination of physical and cyber action and used the San Francisco based protests of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) actions as examples. Recently there were some reports indicating that Anonymous was going to add another dimension to their activities by attacking the broadcast media. See:

Going back to the laboratory concept for a moment, overseas PSYOP/MISO could find itself in a precarious position – having to not only defend the government’s actions, but to counter PSYOP of organized protest groups and disaffected individuals.

This kind of counter-campaign will require incredible creativity and resiliency at the Team level. It will require NCOs in particular who have diplomatic and cultural skills as well as the pre-requisite multi-media and face to face influence skills.

Given the tenor and the tone of many of the comments I have received over the past several weeks, I don’t doubt that we have the individuals up to the task. The question I raise is do we have the doctrine, TTP and resources to back them up? Furthermore, have we really solidified the link-up between DOD and the Department of State so that MISO is reinforcing the messages promulgated by the Ambassador and the Country team?


Voodoo said...

I too am fascinated with the OWS movement as a PO professional. I have no doubt that with a team, a modicum of resources, and a little time, I could gather enough tactical PO relevant information to begin countering their blatant and unapologetic propaganda.

Outside of that, I don't think as a regiment we have the wherewithal, the support, or the legal savvy, to begin addressing it.

Have you read 'The Starfish and the Spider'? If not, put down whatever you're reading and pick this up. It provides critical insight into the structural analysis of the post-modern world and organizational systems.

Until we being addressing this gaping vulnerability in our capabilities, our nation's enemies will continue to exploit us along the information and psychological fronts (they are not one and the same), and eventually they'll win, rendering the kinetic fight irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Voodoo, Agreed. Starfish and the Spider is a good book. An additional point would be the CMF37 community needs to completely re-look how we look at influence. We are still locked in antiquated Cold War paradigms and communication theory. Instead, our professionals need to become versed in concepts like Social Movement Theory (SMT), the fledgling field of Media Psychology, Social Network Analysis, etc. Until we decide to actually move forward in rebuilding our foundational understanding of how to conduct influence, we will continually get outpaced by non-state actors like Hezbollah as well as nation-state actors like China. It is time for us to evolve or fade into obscurity.

Anonymous said...

"One group of about ten Hispanic protesters marched behind a Caucasian individual from the DC Tenants Advocacy Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting rent control in Washington, DC. Asked why they were there, some Hispanic protesters holding up English protest signs could not articulate what their signs said...DC asked that organizer whether he was paying the group to attend the protest, and he conceded that some protesters aren't volunteers.

---Daily Caller 6 Oct 2011

Frances Piven indoctrinating college students. idiots.
^^Ivan Marovic of OTPOR, funded by CIA. check out history of OTPOR

Soldier-Cynic said...

If you can overlook the political message within the work, Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals is a must read for any influence professional.