Friday, January 25, 2008

If There Is Embedded Intelligence – Why Not Embedded PSYOP?

Recent articles about the Marine Corps moving intelligence capabilities down to the Rifle Company level from the Bn, should raise the issue: what about PSYOP?

Once upon a time when I was spending two semesters abroad in Southeast Asia in the late 1960s intelligence was regarded as somewhat of a black art by my brothers in the infantry. While only a LT, I felt a bit like Gandalf as I carried my large black book with me and was granted access to the Bde CDR often denied to MAJ.

Over time intelligence capabilities have migrated downwards and even the mystical world of SIGINT has moved into the mainstream. This evolution was stimulated because the chain of command recognized that lower echelons needed some of the same capabilities found only at higher levels.

It would appear that today’s conflicts beg the question, but this time it’s for PSYOP. If the force is improving intelligence capabilities at the lowest level (Company) is it time to put PSYOP soldiers at these levels or to train infantry, cavalry and armor soldiers to a level where they can provide a modicum of PSYOP support?

In an urban environment it is especially critical to win the influence battle apartment to apartment – to do this the maneuver element needs to have an array of weapons to include influence capability. This could be as simple as special training in sales, language and culture to as wide spread as expanding the 37F world to include positions at the company level.

If 9 million people could learn how to play World of Warcraft, it would seem that the ability to influence people could be entrusted to lower echelons in an orchestrated matter. It’s time to realize that the influence battlefield is a real life Massive Multiplayer Effort.

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