Thursday, May 21, 2015

Research: Vital to PSYOP Success

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a listing of materials captured along with Osama Bin Laden (OBL) (see:, which is also the photo source)

It was apparent the OBL was intent on learning about his enemy. The Al Qaeda leader also recognized the need to appeal to emotions and to understand ‘how’ his enemy felt, which is not the same as knowing about the events and experience that influences the enemy.

I’ve taken a few of the titles and listed them below:

·      America’s Strategic Blunders by Willard Matthias
·      America’s “War on Terrorism” by Michel Chossudovsky
·      Al-Qaeda’s Online Media Strategies: From Abu Reuter to Irhabi 007 by Hanna Rogan
·      The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast
·      Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
·      Military Intelligence Blunders by John Hughes-Wilson
·      New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin
·      Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward

Life long learning is part of the PSYOPers stock in trade. We need to keep abreast and perhaps a bit ahead of world events, social media trends, communications trends and of course cultural, economic and political issues.

Many CDR provide a reading list for their junior leaders. Now that summer is around the corner – it’s a good time to update yours.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Captive Audiences Are Good Targets

What’s a government to do? Let’s say your economy is in the crapper, your bank interest rates are around 22% and your air is so polluted that people spend most of their time on the road rubbing their eyes and stuck in traffic.

You takeover all of the City’s (Tehran, Iran) 1,500 billboards and whatever was on them – like advertisements for western products that most people cannot afford and replace them with art work.

Iraq has a long and proud culture so it’s no surprise that the splattering of art work all over the city has had it’s intended positive effects even though, according to “The Arts Get a Parton, and 1,500 Billboards” in the May 7, 2015 edition of the NY Times (see:, which is also the photo source) “more than 30% are foreign including works by John Singer Sargent”

While it’s fair to say that not every citizen of Tehran is an art critic or has even visited a museum, it’s clear that the classic visual imagery is taking their minds off most government challenges for the moment. But not everyone has forgotten and as Manijeh Makbari put it “but the city shouldn’t forget the sidewalks need to be cleaned as well.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tradition: The Military Foundation

On 2 May 2015 I was pleased to attend the Change of Command for the Naval Operations Support Center San Jose (NOSC San Jose) and on 3 May 5, 2015 I attended the Relinquishment of Command Ceremony for the 7th POG.


In my opinion, the Navy is the most ceremonial of the services. (For more info, see: Perhaps it’s because of the adaption of Royal Navy traditions from centuries ago. This ceremony took place in the parking lot of the NOSC, a complex of military looking buildings that appears to have been dropped in the middle of an economically challenged neighborhood. The recently saved trees were festooned with flags and yellow ribbons.

In addition to the stage, a simulated quarterdeck was set up complete with “side boys”, a ships bell and a boatswain’s mate. Navy Commanders and Captains each rate 4 bells.

The Officers and sailors were decked out in the dress whites complete with white gloves. The formal change of command takes place after the outgoing and incoming unit commanders read their orders. They then exchange the history phrase -

The exchange of words between the incoming Commander, “I relieve you.” With the outgoing Command, “I stand relieved.” Have found their way into space because Starships are ‘ships’ and the Navy’s tradition and rank structure apply.


On Sunday it was my personal pleasure to attend the Relinquishment of Command Ceremony for the 7th POG, my former unit. For those of you who don’t know, “Relinquishment” occurs when the older Commander needs to leave and the new Commander is not able to take Command. The incoming 7th POG Commander is currently mobilized and unable to take command.

Any Army change of command is a big deal. The subordinate units are assembled on a parade field. The outgoing and incoming Commanders along with their mutual boss and the unit’s senior NCO move to the Center of the field. The senior NCO, typically the Command Sargent Major (CSM) brings the unit’s flag or guidon. He hands the guidon to the outgoing CDR who hands it back to his boss, who, in turn passes it to the new CDR who then returns it to the CSM.

There are of course other elements of the ceremony to include awards, review of the troops, etc.

These ceremonies are very reassuring for all concerned. It gives the leadership a chance to thank those responsible for the unit in the past and those about to lead the unit to set the tone for their Command.

While these ceremonies take an inordinate amount of time to plan and execute. It can effectively torpedo a drill weekend, nevertheless, the traditions are the foundation of service. All of us, whether serving, active, reserve or retired need to do what we can to support these and other appropriate traditions.

Photos: The Author