Thursday, April 24, 2014

MISO and the Mesh

The New York Times of April 21, 2014 ran an article “US Promotes Network to Foil Digital Spying” (see:,)

The article describes a Mesh network in Sayada, Tunisa. A mesh network is composed of routers that have line of sight to each other. The aggregate of all the routers produces a local area network (LAN) that is not connected to the Internet. The wireless routers are set up on balconies, ledges, etc. so that they have line of sight to each other. Conceptually they could be set up at certain times and perhaps even inside windows (I don’t know for sure since I’ve never operated one of these networks.) for better concealment and OPSEC.

The software used to link the wireless routers is free and open source (see

For the sake of argument, lets assume that it would be possible to conceal the routers from detection other than a dedicated house-to-house, ledge to ledge, roof-to-roof search.

MISO at this point in the 21st Century clearly recognizes the importance of digital media as a means to influence behavior. This means that messaging techniques for digital media should already be a part of the MISO arsenal.

I’d like to step outside the normal MISO realm and raise a couple of questions. First: Should MISO should be involved in the establishment of mesh networks. This would include the hardware, software and set-up of those networks.

If so, doctrinally should these kinds of operations be handled by SF, Cyber Command and/or the General Purpose Force?

My personal position is that this could and should be a MISO mission. The nature of the set-up would likely be well within the capabilities of a MISO team and would likely require only one or two people versed in the fine points.

A more interesting question, one I won’t answer today is “How do mesh networks figure into MISO and what kinds of environments are they best suited for?

Photo Source:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

IO Given Cyber Boost?

This morning (17 April 2014) I attended a webinar hosted by the Association of Old Crows (AOC) on Army Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA). The speaker was COL Jim Ekvall, Chief, Electronic Warfare Division, HQDA DCS G-3/5/7.

For those of you unfamiliar with the AOC, you can check them out at: According to the organization “The name ''Old Crows'' emerged from the first large scale use of EW during World War II. The radio receivers and transmitters used to monitor enemy transmissions and to jam enemy radio and radar frequencies were assigned the codename ''Raven.'' Operators who manned the equipment for those missions were known as ''Raven Operators.'' Common jargon later changed the name ''Raven'' to ''Crow.''”.

According to the new FM 3-38 CEMA are orchestrated at high levels (Corps and above) and the “7” coordinates at lower levels. Under the latest Army Doctrine, Inform and Influence is a Commander’s activity. Recent conflicts have shown that IIA (Inform and Influence Activities) are high priority.

We in the MISO community feel we are a bit more equal than the other “information related activities”, also MISO extends into the civilian world and dovetails with much of what Department of State does.

My paranoia tells me that MISO will be under represented because the IO Officer or IIA Officer (G/S 7) is now the advocate for MISO as it relates to Cyber Operations. According to one of the participants (Christopher McConnell): “2015 MTOE at BDE reflects the IO as integrator by placing EW, MISO, CA under the IO in the Non lethal operations section”

I’m anxious to hear what y’all out there have to say.

Photo source is the Webinar slides.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Senior PSYOP

Over the years I’ve blogged about world events and many exotic locations. Today’s subject matter is much more close to home. In June of 2010 my wife and I moved into an “Over 55 Community”. I prefer to call it El Pueblo Para Los Viejos.

Since many of my fellow residents are fully retired, they often have nothing much to do besides play golf (which I don’t). This also means there is a crisis of some sort going on all the time.

They range from what do about the deer population (one jumped over a 3 foot fence to munch on my roses on our patio) to swimming hours for children, to whether or not we need a new gym.

The latest brouhaha is about changing the Community’s extensive set of by-laws. The substance is not important, but I thought some of leaflets being dropped in my mailbox were pretty good PSYOP/MISO examples and that it was worthwhile to share.

First of all the creators of this leaflet knew their audience and knew them well. They were intimately aware of past crises and things that people are passionate about.

Golf and Tennis are two key activities here, so focusing on them was a great idea. The cartoons are easy to understand and put the reader in the picture immediately.

The other two address recent controversies and are equally well done.

The text is minimal. It’s in larger type making it easier to read and showing familiarity with the audience.

The desired action stands out – BIGGER BOLDER LETTERS!

I should add that the campaigns (on both sides) have featured flyers, e-mails and letters to the editor of the Community Newspapers.

Bottom Line: Unlike many other skills you might learn in the service, your PSYOP/MISO background will be valuable to you throughout your life.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

All Atwitter About USAID’s Twitter for Cuba

The Associated Press report that “US Secretly Created ‘Cuban Twitter’ To Stir Unrest (see: which is also the photo source.) The mission of USAID is: “Our Mission: We partner to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity.” (Source:

The article describes a two year program purportedly set up to undermine the Cuban government by providing a communication media outside the Cuban government’s control. The article indicated that the program lasted about two years and vanished as suddenly as it appeared.

Some big questions pop-up here. First of all, assuming this is all true – does this mean that the Department of State (DoS) has expanded its influence role beyond public diplomacy? Where would USAID get the capabilities and resources both technologically and content-wise to set-up and run such an operation?

Another obvious one for the MISO Community (perhaps not answerable in this venue) is what sort of involvement, if any did the DoD have?

Rather than tread where I shouldn’t let me turn the conversation in a different direction. Now that the Army Cyber Command is entrenched at Fort Gordon – should the military version of this sort of operation be part of Cyber Command or part of MISO?

One could argue that the technology is pure cyber or one could argue that the technology is so mainstream that no special technical depth is required. A strong argument could be made for the fact that technical folks are not content savvy and that content needs to be developed by those with MISO skills.

It’s also possible that the force of the future (and not too distant future) will have cyber skills just as they have rifle and pistol skills today. We have seen that cyber skills are necessary with conventional forces as shown in the Ukraine and our experience in other conflicts shows the need for cyber in conventional and asymmetric settings.

I recognize that my readers are not totally neutral on the subject, and look forward to comments from the field.