Our enemies are more than aware of current events. Often the will create events and capitalize on the media coverage as a critical element in their overall IO strategy. The horrific Bhutto assassination is a good case in point. While the assassins may not be sophisticated PSYOP or IO warriors, other enemies of the US certainly will be and we can expect some exploitation of this event by our enemies to discredit us and to damage our diplomatic, military and economic efforts.
Consequently we must consider the PSYOP aspects of current events in an offensive and defensive perspective. What messages and campaigns can we expect our enemies to engage in as a result of the event? What counters do we need to have on the shelf, or launch preemptively so as to minimize the negative effect of our enemies’ efforts?
It makes logical sense for PSYOP planners to ‘war game’ various possible current event scenarios and develop contingency plans for them. Granted today’s optempo may make this a difficult task, but it would appear that some up front planning could pay off in optimized timely responses. It strikes me that political leaders are especially vulnerable because they are seeking to reach out and touch their body politic. Often this will mean exposure to hostile elements and potential death or injury.
PSYOP teams in particular should regularly analyze the leading figures in their AO and assess how to deal with events that impact those leaders positively or negatively. Similarly echelons in the PSYOP chain of command should consider event contingency planning as a regular activity.
In the commercial sector it is often said that a key to dealing with a business disaster is having the right press release ready to go. This is a word to the wise in PSYOP as well.
A Happy and Health 2008 to You All!