Wednesday, February 2, 2011
MISO in Egypt? – Just Supposn’
Suppose Lt. Gen. Sami Enan, the Egyptian equivalent of the Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, placed a phone call to Adm Mike Mullen, his US counterpart and said “Mike, we need some help over here. Can you spare some of those PSYOP guys to come over and help us work with our police force to keep order?”
Photo Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12349365
(Note a DefenseNews article citing Agence France-Press 2 Feb 2011 cited that “US Military Chief Has Confidence in Egypt’s Army, see http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=5603226&c=MID)
If you were “Mike”, what would you do? Of course the first thing is you would call your boss (Secretary Gates and his boss, President Obama) to relate the news and seek their guidance. They of course would ask you first “what do you think”?
My gut reaction would be “Sir, I don’t think this is a good idea.”. I’d base that on a number of things, first of all Las Vegas would likely rule that the Mubarak government is an odds on favorite to lose power sooner rather than later. Secondly US popularity in Egypt is quite low so that the sight of US troops and Egyptian troops and/or police is likely to be akin to throwing gasoline on a fire.
Consequently the tactical perspective is not favorable. Having said that, I would offer up: how about asking General Alexander if the Cyber Command or one of its component commands could spare some horsepower? A Combined Joint Egyptian Influence Task Force (CJEITF) could be stood up.
The CDR of the CJEITF would be a US Flag officer and the deputy would be an Egyptian Flag Officer, one rank down. Together they could orchestrate an influence strategy that would range from strategic communications to messages for tactical forces and law enforcement engaged in keeping the pace.
The Cyber Command personnel would orchestrate the Internet activities such as monitoring and perhaps controlling traffic to and from social networks and employing computer network exploitation (CNE) to harvest intelligence information from the Internet. MISO personnel working with their Egyptian colleagues would develop the content for social networking sites, Blogs and others.
The CJEITF PAO would be working with local and regional media to insure an effective two way conduit of information.
Conceptually this behind the scenes approach would reinforce Egyptian governmental capabilities in furtherance of US interests in the region without showcasing US involvement and minimizing US tactical exposure.