I have often posted about Social Media as an important PSYOP medium. However, I haven’t addressed the down side of Social Media very much. An article in the June 4, 2014 Aviationist is quite to the point: A U.S. Air Force Intel team turned a comment on social media into an airstrike on ISIS building (See: http://theaviationist.com/2015/06/04/social-media-comment-turned-into-airstrike/ which is also the photo source. )According to the article: “According to Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, airmen belonging to the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, at Hurlburt Field, Florida, were able to geo-locate an ISIS headquarters building thanks to a comment posted on social media by a militant.
As Carlisle explained to Defense Tech:
“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL. And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.”
Many of us know that many senior CDR, especially Generals think they are experts at everything including PSYOP. Many of us have been in AOs where GOs have run their own influence campaigns and have engaged in operations with any regard to the psychological impact of those actions. Add this to the challenges of enforcing universal OPSEC up and down the chain of command and there is a real recipe for disaster.
Tactical teams in particular need to be sensitive to the influence activities of their supported commands and insure that the MISO chain of command is informed so that they in turn can work through the supported command’s higher HQ to provide the appropriate guidance.
Another View of the Influence Landscape
As many of you know, I have spent my civilian career in the high tech world. One of the journalists who I respect and have followed for years recently wrote a blog entry about Wag The Dog – one of my favorite post Bosnia PSYOP type movies. Check it out at: http://blog.strom.com/wp/?p=4861