Thursday, December 15, 2016

Does FaceBook Read The PSYOP Regiment Blog?

I posted on Fake news yesterday, 14 December 16. Today I received a summary from Wired Magazine which featured: Facebook Finally Gets Real About Fighting Fake News (see:; which is also the photo source).

Highlights of the article are:
·      A Flood of Fact Checking
·      Eyeballs and Ad Dollars (they are re-evaluating which publishers may violate their Audience Network ad policies and (along with Google) punish fake news sites.

While I’m pretty sure FB is not one of my loyal readers, I did find the timing a bit more than coincidental. I guess this comes with being long time military, competitive and legal analyst.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Does The Fake News Phenomenon Ruin PSYOP/MISO?

There has been a barrage of media efforts to explain and analyze the Fake News Phenomenon.  One such article was “How to report fake news to social media” (see: ) which is also the photo source. Another is “The Cynical Gambit to Make ‘Fake News’ Meaningless (see:

Social Media such as FaceBook is considered the major home for fake news. Perhaps the most recent notorious example of fake news was the stories claiming that a pizzeria was a child slavery hideout (see:

What does this all mean?

Well, first of all, anyone that takes on the Internet at face value is probably in for a rude awakening sooner or later. The ubiquitous availability of social media makes anyone into a journalist. While some ersatz reporters are earnest in their efforts, others are not so scrupulous nor do they consider the unintended impact of their work.

PSYOP has been classified as white, gray and black depending on its source. (You can see Appendix A in FM-3-05.30, 15 April 2005:; which is an older, Army Field Manual, but necessarily the latest one). While it may not be the latest manual the definitions are still relevant.
·      A-2 White products are over products. DOD forces use overt products in support of their operations.
·      A-6 Products that conceal and/or do not identify a source are known as gray products. Gray products are best used to support operational plans.
·      A-9 Products that purport to emanate from a source other than the true one are known as black products. Black products are best used to support strategic plans.

One can argue that these definitions don’t apply to Fake News or that it is impossible to neatly classify social media postings in 2016. As the definitions imply, each of the classes have their advantages and uses.

Fake news on the other hand, cannot be used to inform, because it’s fake! Fake news can be employed in MISO to influence or to cast doubts on the credibility of other news and/or other sources.

In any event, today’s PSYOP/MISO practitioner needs to add an understand and appreciation of fake news to their skill set.

Let me take this opportunity to wish my readers the Best for the Holidays.

I have good intentions of trying to take two weeks off from Blogging. So, don’t be disappointed if you don’t see any new postings until the New Year. Of course, with the approaching inauguration of the Tweeter-n-Chief, this could change.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Can hacking be the ultimate Cyber-PSYOP?

The latest outcry about hackers comes from a country long suspected of using cyber means for a variety of nefarious reasons – Russia. On December 2, 2016 CNN published a story: Russia: “Foreign hackers are trying to take down our banks” (see: In October 2016 Sputnik news proclaimed “Russian Foreign Ministry Confirms site Hacked, US ‘Jester Claims Responsibility” (see:; which is also the photo source).

Whether or not either or both of these articles are correct may not be as important as the possibilities the two articles raise.

On one hand, these alleged acts could be the work of US or allied hackers seeking to give Russia a taste of its own cyber medicine. It could also mean that yesterday’s loudspeaker is today’s internet hack so that tactical PSYOP/MISO organizations need to be able to perform some level of cyber PSYOP through Computer Network Attack (CNA).

This would also seem to signal that new forms of Special Operations training for UW should include giving insurgents some cyber capabilities just as SOF trainers have taught UW techniques in the past.

While this is certainly feasible since the nature of internet based attacks is to lower the skill level of the attacker, is it a good idea to spread cyber attack knowledge around? The unintended consequences of sharing knowledge and broadening the skill set of insurgents should be obvious. There is no guarantee that the new cyber warrior wouldn’t turn his or her newly acquired cyber ‘gun’ at you.

We’ve seen how SIGINT made its way out from behind the ‘green door’ and into the planning of tactical units. It’s only a matter of time until some variation of this evolutionary path is taken by cyber as well.