Monday, September 11, 2017

MISO Malpractice: The Latest Leaflet Debacle



Apparently it was amateur hour in the leaflet production campaign in Afghanistan. The http://bit.ly/2gYdTkw) was dropped in Afghanistan in early September 2017 broke some of the most basic rules by quoting the Quran. (see: http://nyti.ms/2eSdknQ, which is also a photo source). 
leaflet

IN addition to the suicide bomber noted above, additional reaction is shown in the picture at left (photo source: http://nyti.ms/2eSdknQ). At issue was the use of words from the Quran in a leaflet. Frankly, you would have to be living in a cave for the last 16 years if you didn’t realize that the Islamic faith takes their Holy Book and their Prophet far more seriously than other religions.

The Charlie Hebdo killings in 2015 (see for example: http://nbcnews.to/2xgTmxG) and the 2012 incident where US troops burned the Koran (see: http://bit.ly/2wlsGb4) are only two of the incidents that serve as very good bad examples and should have put everyone on notice of what to expect.

Know your audience is the first rule of PSYOP/MISO and of course any influence operation. The blatant ignorance displayed by the leaflet creators and those in the approval chain should be considered MISO malpractice.

The FindLaw Legal dictionary defines malpractice as: “negligence, misconduct, lack of ordinary skill, or a breach of duty in the performance of a professional service (as in medicine) resulting in injury or loss” (See: http://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/malpractice.html)

If these leaflets were created by an outside contractor, this type of malpractice should be considered a material breach of their contract.  The contract should be terminated immediately and consideration should be given to litigation for damages to the Coalition campaign and reputation.

As for the notion of yet more cultural training – it strikes me as playing training whack a mole. When military personnel deploy they go through a pre-deployment training and certification. Current deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan must have training on Islamic traditions and protocol to include role-playing situations designed to illustrate the right and wrong ways to work in theater.

There is simply no excuse for this type of ineptitude, especially in our longest running AO!


Thursday, September 7, 2017

FaceBook – the Not So Secret Influence Tool

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I admit I’m somewhat of a FB junkie. I’m on the site at least a couple of times a day.

And, like most of us, I have read about how the Russians purportedly influenced the US election by amplifying the views of  the ‘right’. An example I read today was a September 6, 2017 article in the NY Times “Fake Russian Facebook Accounts Bought $100,000 in Political Ads” (see: http://nyti.ms/2eJpGyw) addresses one facet of the Russian campaign.

I frankly didn’t get the importance of FB as an influence medium until August 30, 2017 when I was asked to be the Red Cross spokes person (I’ve been a Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer for years) at the San Francisco ABC Affiliate’s Day of Giving in support of people effected by Hurricane Harvey.

In addition to taking donations and pledges over the phone, my job would be to be a Red Cross voice if needed on camera. Since the last time I had been in a TV studio was in 1997 in Pale, Bosnia, I was rather looking forward to it.

The actual ‘shooting’ schedule for the news was somewhat of a moving target, but I was told that we would be doing a segment on FaceBook Live.

Imagine my surprise when I was escorted to the FaceBook Live control room at the station. During the telethon I was fortunate enough and delighted to be on FBLive with Spencer Christian, one of the station’s key weather people.  (Photo source this week: FaceBook shots take by the Author)

Unlike ‘real’ TV interviews that require heavy cameras, FB Live needs only a phone. Of course, having a quality microphone dramatically improves the overall quality of the experience by raising the caliber of the sound.

For those of us in the PSYOP/MISO world, this underscores the importance of the Internet as an influence medium. It also means that we need to always be on the lookout for people that can be effective and credible spokespeople.

An unfortunate downside is that tactical CDR at all levels may assume that they are PSYOP experts and take to the airwaves themselves. History has shown that this is generally not a good idea, but as we have discussed on the POVA page on FaceBook and elsewhere, there is not too much you can do other than damage control.

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Now, more than ever, we need to pay more attention to Social Media and its role in our respective influence campaigns. As always, reader input invited!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

PSYOP is Sensory – Ask Iran!


I have been teaching on-line for American Military University since 2008. During that time I have had to take many professional development courses about how people learn.

There are those who learn by sight (visual learners), some by touch (kinesthetic) and those who learn by sound (audio). The best way to impart education is by a combination of senses to appeal to the widest group of learners and reinforce the message.

Apparently this concept is not lost on Iran as noted in a NY Times article from August 27, 2017, “Iran Retools Its Propaganda With Rap Videos”(See: http://nyti.ms/2iHiBDF; which is also the photo source).

Iran now also seems to believe that chanting is not nearly as powerful as rapping and the You Tube is mightier than the sword seem to be corollaries as well.

The article notes that the raps don’t appeal to everyone, but there doesn’t seem to be any question that they are effective for the target group. Terrorists typically target young people between 18 and 26. (see Huffington Post at: http://bit.ly/2wT5xkP).

Appealing to multiple senses and personifying the message are proven techniques for education and marketing. Our adversaries are very capable of adapting. As technology advances, removing yet more barriers to mass communication, MISO/PSYOP will have to continue to adapt as well.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cuban Sonic Weapon Aimed at US Embassy?


On Monday, June 5, 2017 I posted “Is it time to retire Loud Speakers in Favor of LRAD?” More recently there have been a number of articles concerning hearing and other medical problems being experienced by employees of the US Embassy in Cuba. You can find one such article from Task & Purpose at: http://bit.ly/2ivTmEh.

I am in no way saying that a Long Range Acoustical Device (LRAD) was or could have been used to create these medical issues. One expert quoted in the article was quoted as saying that there are no devices that could possibly create the systems of hearing loss, mild traumatic brain injury, nausea, etc. from an acoustic device. The expert felt that since there are no such devices that can cause acoustical damage without being herd, this was a non-story.

Another article in the UK based Guardian says “16 people were affected by unexplained problems at Havana embassy” (See: http://bit.ly/2gcQwDy, which is also the photo source)

Sources say that the ‘incidents’ started in September 2016 and ended this April.

Thus far there is no firm resolve as to what caused the medical issues or even if there was a common cause. However, wouldn’t be interesting to ‘infect’ foreign citizens in your country as a means of discouraging their presence? Could you also employ stories about such incidents as propaganda encouraging foreign citizens to stay home?

All of this would be great fodder for Social Media whether true or not and of course from a PSYOP or counter propaganda perspective, we don’t care if it’s true, only the impact.

Monday, August 14, 2017

We Need MISO For Every Line Unit – Including The Nation Guard

I had the honor and pleasure of spending time with the members of the 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard and their employers while serving as an Outreach Advocate for the DOD Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve program.

The Division will be sending a contingent to Kandahar province in Afghanistan to bolster Operation Resolute Support and the training mission there. (see: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_52060.htm?selectedLocale=en; which is a photo source).

The Divisions G3 who will function as the CJ3 once deployed gave an unclassified briefing about the Division’s mission. Essentially they are supporting the training efforts for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP).

Of necessity division personnel will be going ‘out of the wire’ to help facilitate and conduct training. I have no personal knowledge of the Force make-up over there, however, I do know that there is no organic MISO in the National Guard and I’m pretty sure that USAR and active MISO do not train with them on a regular basis.

This is a mistake. MISO Tactical Teams are specially trained to work with the local population and help form positive opinions in support of deployed forces. They are also able to work with local media (if there are any) to help them understand the nature of the local population.

While MISO and Civil Affairs personnel are not intelligence collectors, they are knowledgeable observers who can provide meaningful and insightful information to intelligence and operations personnel.

As the OpTempo continues to ramp up, consideration should be given to augmenting units who go out of the wire with MISO personnel. Perhaps the best way to start is by joint training opportunities in CONUS and overseas.

(Other photos are from the author.)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Counterespionage – An Indicator of Effective Influence?


The July 19, 2007 edition of the UK publication Telegraph (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/19/eu-employing-counter-espionage-tools-brexit-talks-amid-fears/, which is also the photo source) ran an article “EU employees espionage tools at Brexit talks amid fears of British spying”. The article talks about the security concerns of the EU BREXIT negotiating team.

The implication is that the EU is concerned that Britain would employ unfair means to learn about the plans and intentions of the EU team. Is it possible to interpret this in another way?

Increased security efforts reflect a fear that the ‘enemy’ is gaining an advantage in the ‘battle’. In this case the battle is over the terms of the British exit from the EU.

In other situations, Venezuela for instance, increased actions against opponents are often cloaked in security terms when the real motivation is that the enemy force is winning the influence battle in the mind of public opinion.

Reader comments invited.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Are "Moose & Squirell" in TV Business?


Everyone knows that Rocky and Bullwinkle were the good guys and that Boris and Natasha were Russian spies, but did you know they also battle for global TV ratings? (Photo Source: http://beliefmakers.blogspot.com/2013/02/say-moose-and-squirrel.html)

The June 17, 2017 Economist ran a small article “Current Time” (see: http://econ.st/2tdxf6t; which is also the photo source.) The article profiles what they term “America’s answer to Russian propaganda”. In the olden days of the first Cold War the cross border propaganda battles were the stuff of legends.

America’s government sponsored broadcasters of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty were the US’ way of providing the truth to citizens of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Block to counter the powerful effect of Communist propaganda.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) (see: https://www.bbg.gov/) is hoping to counter recent Russian propaganda momentum with a 24-hour Russian-language TV channel called Current Time.

You can find out about Current Time at their rather drab website: https://www.currenttime.tv/p/6018.html.

It was reported that Current Time videos were viewed 40M times on line during May 2017. Current Time like its sister networks, as government sponsored entities are governed by US law which says they must “provide objective journalistic coverage, on topics consistent with American polices and values”.

In general I am not a proponent of government run communications. For one thing viewers (or listeners) realize the station’s source and regard it with a grain of salt. In addition it seems pretty clear to me that the kind of programming fare offered by government run organizations cannot compete with entertainment from the private sector.

Yet millions of dollars are budgeted for these efforts. If any of my readers have any feedback on their effectiveness, I’d appreciate a comment or two.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Blog Entry 500: The Rumors of the Demise of the “Caliphate” May Be Greatly Exaggerated



This entry marks the 500th entry into the PSYOP Regimental Blog. In December 2007 I took electrons in hand in a way that I hoped would help to advance the state of Psychological Operations (PSYOP). As the then Honorary Colonel of the PSYOP Regiment of the US Army I thought it was my duty to use my writing talents to highlight develops in PSYOP now referred to in US doctrine as Military Information Support Operations (MISO).

At first I thought this auspicious 500th post should wax eloquently about the last ten years and offer some Gandalf like insight into the future as expressed by the past. Then I realized that while I write the Blog party because I like to, I write what I want because, someone has to.

One of my favorite authoritative publications is the Economist. On July 7 they published an article “the Islamic State nears its end” (see: http://econ.st/2ufdHlZ, which is also a photo source). The article addresses Mosul, Iraq of today and how the failure to heed lessons learned from previous failures in Iraq (and elsewhere) may lead to yet other variations of jihadist or radicalism. The Economist has no illusions that a military victory is not an end, rather it is a beginning. Just because an enemy force does not have a of ground to call its own, doesn’t mean that it is defeated.

Task and Purpose, another one of my favorite sources, printed an article covering the interview that SecDef Mattis had with an enterprising High School student (see: http://taskandpurpose.com/high-school-interview-james-mattis/; another photo source). One of the key points he made during that interview was “I don’t care for ideological people. It’s like those people just want to stop thinking,” Mattis said. “I think ideologies can be countered by showing people a better education and hope for the future by learning how to get along with one another. And for all of our problems in our country, we’re probably still the best example of that in the world.”

The SecDef knows that ideologies are not defeated with guns, rather these evil ideas only fall by the wayside when they are no longer relevant and abandoned by their former believers.

Helping audiences recognize that democracy and the freedoms of speech and religion that come with it provide a lifestyle in which individuals, families and communities can thrive is a major step forward to eliminating terrorism. Helping convince people is what we in the PSYOP community do. I hope that the Regimental Blog, in it’s almost 10 year and 500 posting history has had a small part in furthering that goal.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Lego Propaganda: Children Are The Target of Long Term Influence Efforts




Over the years  I have made a number of posts dealing with long term influence campaigns aimed at children. Most of these have been centered on the Middle East and feature cartoons and other TV programs designed to picture ‘an enemy’ in such a way as to condition children to hate at any early age.

Thanks to several sources, I was turned on to an effort to provide counterfeit Legos as a way to picture ISIS as the good guys. (see: http://bit.ly/2sGeMDn; which is also the photo source). This three-dimensional propaganda is being sold in Malaysia and Australia.

Let’s look at some the targeting for a moment. Malaysia is a country of   over 30 million people (see: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/malaysia-population/) , over 60% of whom are Moslem.

Australia’s Moslem population is quite small. The country has a population of slightly less than 25 million (same source as Malaysia), but the Moslem population is estimated at about 600,000 (2.4%) However, this reflects a 77% jump over the past ten years according to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4641728/Number-Muslims-Australia-soars-Census-2016.html.

My younger grand daughter and one of her cousins were Lego enthusiasts prior to their High School days. The phase started about 9 and continued through middle school. While I’m not an expert, this would seem to be the perfect target age to start planting the seeds of Homegrown Violent Extremism (HVE). If you want more info on HVE, check out interviews and materials by my esteemed colleague Dr. Erroll Southers (http://talglobal.com/erroll-southers/)

Unfortunately Western Thought and Doctrine does not favor long term investments, perhaps helping children around the world understand more about freedom and democracy should be an exception to this rule.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Blowing up a symbol – act of defiance or desperation?


There are two articles about the destruction of the Al Nuri Mosque in Mosul. The NY Times calls it “Another Loss for Mosul” (see: http://nyti.ms/2sVnSL8, which is a photo source) and Task & Purpose, one of my favorite military sources, calls it “ISIS Just Rage – Quit The Siege of Mosul ….” (see: http://bit.ly/2rGIrI3, which is also a photo source.)

Both articles agree that the Mosque was a center of gravity the center of the purported Daesh Caliphate.The Times provides a lot of information about the history and influence of the Mosque over time.

Task & Purpose goes into more detail from a tactical perspective and addresses the ISIS claim that the mosque was destroyed by an allied airstrike.

From my perspective, Symbolism and PSYOP are not lost on ISIS. Time and again they have proven that they understand the influence game. By blowing up the Mosque they deny the probable victors endless influence opportunities.

The Mosque has been prominent in Mosul for centuries and it is a revered and recognizable symbol. While in ISIS hands it served them well as a showcase while it was in their hands.

The destruction of the Mosque is another example of how ISIS routinely ignores rules of any kind, whether religious or secular or humanity, to further their own cause. Their track record of destroying religious artifacts is well known with the Mosque being only the latest example.

Even when people see through the shallow ISIS claim that the Mosque was destroyed by an air strike is proven false; the victors will not be able to use the ancient Mosque as a platform to proclaim their victory and the righteousness of their cause.

While I’m an Influence Operations kind of guy, there is another perspective and that is “To Counter ISIS, You Must Embrace Violence” (see: http://bit.ly/2sZoAry, also a photo source.) I’ll save violence as a PSYAct for another day

Monday, June 12, 2017

Turning Propaganda Into News

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Recently I’ve focused on Twitter and how it can be used to ‘game’ the media. On June 8, 2007 the NY Times ran an article “How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parrody Website to Fox News (see: http://nyti.ms/2sSkEFM, which is also the photo source). The block diagram below depicts the steps this fake news story followed from its inception to its legitimization by Fox News.

As a practical matter, there could have also been an another feeder stop along with the FaceBook box and that of course would be fake Twitter feeds as a means to jump start Tweets and re-tweets by legitimate and illegitimate sources. The combined velocity of social media ‘consciousness’ would add credence and value to the story. The article also references an earlier article from January 25, 2017, In Race Against Fake News, Google and FaceBook stroll to the starting line (see: http://nyti.ms/2taOwwA).

The deluge of criticism pushed FaceBook into increasing its efforts to block fake news. You can check out an earlier story from May 17, 2017 on this effort by USA Today, “Facebook takes a new crack at halting fake news and clickbait” (see: https://usat.ly/2rli0GI)

While one must applaud FaceBook for its efforts, the cynics among us (including me) believe that,  propaganda (fake news by another name) creators will employ other, more creative means to accomplish their tasks. The will be aided and abetted by a vast array of clueless people on social media as well as their own people and nefarious automated tools.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Twitter Is A Game With Real Consequences


I’m not much of games player, but I decided to play one today. I decided to follow @POTUS. I mean after all, how often is it that you can get statements right from the Horse’s Mouth.

The President has often been criticized for this Tweet from the Hip style. I dare say that it was that style that helped get him the White House in the first place. Does President Trump know how to play the Twitter game? It would seem so. (Photo Source: https://twitter.com/POTUS)

Others, like the media, perhaps, not nearly as good as understand the Twitter Game.

On May 23, 2017 the NY Times published an article entitled “How Twitter is Being Gamed to Feed Misinformation” (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/31/technology/how-twitter-is-being-gamed-to-feed-misinformation.html?_r=0; which is also a photo source). 

 
My own career has been intertwined with the media as well. I wrote articles for a variety of publications, published a couple of newsletters, and continue to write this Blog after almost 10 years.

I’ve also been someone who has worked with the international media in government, commercial and non-profit roles.

I’m learning that Twitter is not a purveyor of truth, but more of a conduit for thoughts emotions and messages. Tweeting is an accepted form of journalism and Tweets themselves are sources for journalists.

As the article notes the 140 character format is a godsend for journalists and others looking for short, pithy quotes that make their job easier. Unfortunately it doesn’t make the journalist more accurate, it just rewards laziness.

Twitter can also be the voice of the herd. Public interest and concern about national disasters can be gleaned from the type and velocity of Tweets about it. Traffic peaks and ebbs, reflecting the cumulative perspective of the herd.

Twitter is a notoriously unreliable source whose constituency includes  unreal people and groups and whose platform allows small groups to act and influence as big ones.

People and robotic re-Tweeting can add gasoline to the fire as noted in the article.

Given its importance perhaps those charged with implementing MISO should have a proficiency test as they do with their personal weapons.
Reader input invited.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Is it time to retire Loud Speakers in Favor of LRAD?


Frankly I didn’t know what a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) was until I saw an article in the June 1, 2017 printed edition of the NY Times which you can find on-line at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/nyregion/sound-cannon-protest-lawsuit-long-range-acoustic-device.html?_r=0, (which is also a photo source).

The article addressed a law suit filed as a result of LRAD use on December 5, 2014 at a protest in Midtown Manhattan against a grand jury’s failure to indict a police officer whose choke hold killed Eric Garner. Among other capabilities, the LRAD can inflict permanent hearing damage although the article notes that the LRAD was designed to repel boarders after the attack on the USS Cole.

Compared to a noise flame thrower, the LRAD offers a number of other capabilities as explained on the vendor website: https://www.lradx.com/, which is another photo source.

The vendor shows variants of the LRAD that can provide Mass Notification or Public Address capabilities as well as integrate with existing communication systems. There is also the capability of employing the devices remotely.
 
If one burrows down a bit in LRAD Corp’s website, under the Investor tab, you will find a Corporate Presentation. Slide 12 which appears here gives the company’s position with in the defense industry. It would seem that the HA & DR application would be a MISO/PSYOP mission while Large Crowd Communications might be a Military Police or MISO/PSYOP mission.

As with many of today’s defense systems, the LRAD is complex, yet modular. Thus far the LRAD appears to be vehicle mounted and does not seem to be available in a Man Pack configuration at this time.

Given the range of capabilities, operators will need to undergo some very solid training on ROE and the legal aspects of LRAD use. While permanent hearing damage has been noted as a potential outcome, the lethality of this weapon has not been tested.

For example, if the LRAD is ‘fired’ at a moving vehicle disrupting the operation and causing a death – does his move LRAD into the lethal force domain or not.  

Reader input appreciated.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Your BFF is a Cossack!


Magazine via an article passed to me by a colleague, the Russians are employing electronic http://time.com/4783932/inside-russia-social-media-war-america/; which is also the photo source.

surrogates across Social Media as a means of waging war. (See:

One of the interesting aspects of the campaign described in the article is the combined use of people and automation to accelerate the pace of the social media battle. The deft use of algorithms to determine targets and key targeting hot buttons helps to add focus and impetus to the efforts.

Custom tailored messages can be sent by a combination of people and bots in a cleverly orchestrated campaign to alter behavior and opinions. The old saying ‘no none knows you’re a dog on the internet’ should be taken a step further. No one knows who you really are or who you can be on Social Media would be more accurate.

Just as an individual can take on fictional characteristics in a virtual reality game, it has become quite easy to develop a fake Social Media persona and exploit that persona as needed.

Each piece of propaganda in Social Media is a seed. The seeds are fed and nurtured until, much like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors – they are not only out on their own, but possibly more powerful than those who helped create them in the first place (Photo source for Audrey 2: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/villains/images/d/de/Audrey2.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20091118000047)

Monday, May 22, 2017

SOCOM Deployments: A Predictor Of Future Combat


I spent more time than usual in front of my computer today and as a reward left my more enjoyable and interesting e-mail for the end of the day. I was struck by the juxtaposition of two articles. The first was from the May 17, 2017 Task & Purpose, “5 Maps that Show The Military Hotspots The US Military is Deployed Right Now” (see: http://bit.ly/2raCZjY; which is also a photo source. As an analyst I tend to look for things that are unusual.

Top of the ‘unusual’ list is the deployment of 300 Marines to Norway. The Army’s list showed a deployment of 3,500 in Poland. These two deployments are clearly meant to counter a perceived Russian threat and/or to make a statement about one. Given the headlines of actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – these two stood out.

On the Navy list I was somewhat surprised to see that the USS Carney Ross is deployed to South Sudan. I thought South Sudan was land locked which would make it a bit difficult to deploy an Arliegh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer inland.

As it turns out, this potential anomaly tied into the second article from Task & Purpose on May 18, 2017 “Report: SOCOM Has More Troops in Africa Than Anywhere Except the Middle East” (see: http://bit.ly/2qOKJaf; which is also a photo source.)

One could view the non-SOCOM Deployments as actions that are in play. Meaning that these conflict areas have enough going-on that it is necessary to station conventional forces. The Marines and the Navy, generally viewed as more mobile can be shifted to other locations more quickly.

However, the biggest takeaway is that SOCOM forces are a ‘preview to coming attractions’ and portend where the next major deployments can be expected to take place. BG Donald Bolduc, head of SOCAFRICA’s thoughts were summarized as ““Africa’s challenges could create a threat that surpasses the threat that the United States currently faces from conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria,” Bolduc warned. He went on to cite a laundry list of challenges with which he and his personnel must contend: ever-expanding illicit networks, terrorist safe havens, attempts to subvert government authority, a steady stream of new recruits and resources.”

Reader comments, as always are encouraged and I’m especially curious as to feedback on the Carney Ross.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

On-Line Education For Terrorists & Wannabes


I have been an on-line instructor for American Military University since 2009. My students are not easy to categorize except they are mostly either serving or former military or individuals seeking to break into the intelligence community as a career.

AMU and its parent, APUS, offer asymmetrical courses. This means the students and the instructors are not on-line at the same time. The materials started out like traditional, brick and mortar schools meaning they were a combination of documents and books.

Video is generally considered a way to make the ‘classroom’ more inviting. I fact, when I developed a course for AMU entitled “Cyber & The Intelligence Cycle”, my supervising Faculty Director told me I had to provide 20 minutes of ‘entertainment’ for the students. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you a like to one of the PPT lectures that I recorded with my voiceover.

Apparently the use of videos in on-line education is an international trend. While researching for this week’s Blog post I saw some information about Wilaya Ninwa, the propaganda arm of ISIS. In rummaging around the Internet I came across a new source (see: http://bit.ly/2qt4rIv, which is also the photo source).  The reference to the trigonometric formula that the tangent = the opposite/the adjacent was not lost on me and indicates a unique analytical perspective.

They featured a 35 minute video among others. The referenced link offers some analysis of the video as well as some clips.

I was struck, not by the fact that they were using videos, but the length. Given the probable target demographic I was quite surprised that the video is over 10 minutes long. Perhaps this because the video is meant to be a recruiting tool or a subliminal persuader and not a being a training vehicle.

As I learn more about video, it appears that 10 minutes is the sweet spot. I’d be very interested in learning what readers have to say on the subject.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

“The Truth” – You Can Make Fun of the Truth!


With apologies to Jack Nicholson, AKA COL Jessup, USMC (see: http://bit.ly/2pyEKCd), sometimes you help people handle the truth through fiction and even satire.

Duffleblog.com is in my opinion, one of the more acerbic and generally accurate satirical military sources. However, I’m often reluctant to repost or ‘Like’ their posts because candidly I think some people who are not familiar with the military will take the posting as ‘real’ rather than the satire it is.

They outdid themselves with “Pentagon Creates New Meme Warfare Center to Counter Online Propaganda” (see: http://bit.ly/2qUGxXb, which is also the photo source).

First of all the dateline is Fayetteville, NC the home of Fort Bragg which houses the Army Special Operations Command, parent of active duty MISO and the US Army Civil Affairs and PSYOP Command, parent of USAR PSYOP (not called MISO yet).

Fittingly the lead quote contains a misnomer. It says ‘make them go virus’ instead of ‘viral’ implying that the writer doesn’t know anything about the subject matter. They proclaimed that the boss of this organization would be a 65-year-old two star (Major General). I did a bit of research and it appears that for the mandatory retirement age for General Officers is 62 (see: http://tfumux.wikia.com/wiki/Average_ages_per_rank_in_US_Military).

MG Farmer has two strikes: he’s over the mandatory age and given the rest of the article – doesn’t really know very much about the Internet or popular culture. The implication may be that while DOD, and the Army in particular, may recognize that something is important and requires attention, the response isn’t always well thought out or appropriate.

The point for MISO/PSYOP professionals is that you can often use fiction to do what non-fiction cannot. A prominent former White House Staffer under several Presidents once told me ‘you can say more with fiction than you can with non-fiction’.

Enjoy the Food for thought.