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:
(Note a DefenseNews article citing Agence France-Press 2 Feb 2011 cited that “US Military Chief Has Confidence in Egypt’s Army, see
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.


Anonymous said...

I don't think that is what US Cyber Command is not really in the "Srategic Communication Realm".

Additionally, attempting to gain traction through cyberspace, in a country that literally pulled the plug on the internet, would be a lost cause from inception.

The best course of action from an influence perspective is to diplomatically support the Egyptian people call for reform.

We should support peaceful transition/transformation of power and support the call for burgeoning democracy.

This level of hypothesis is too theoretical and way out the league of MISO elements...

J Pirog said...

USCYBERCOM's mission is to plan, coordinate, integrate, synchronize, and conduct activities to: direct the operations and defense of DoD networks and conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.

Scanning the mission statement one might miss the subtleties. USCYBERCOM is charged to "enable actions in ALL domains" e.g. land, sea, air, space, cyber space and cognitive. So I see this as well within what USCYBERCOM should do.

Notwithstanding there are probably policy issues and technical issues (i.e. "pulled the plug on the internet", that prevent this from occurring today, but I don’t see that as the point of the original post. It’s that cyber possesses the inherit capability to do EXACTLY what was conceptualized.

MISO elements need to begin to think out of the box, because, the day is coming when this won't be hypothetical anymore – and it will be sooner than you think.

Anonymous said...

I think in the context of the original post, the author was suggesting a hypothetical scenario that is not achievable by MISO elements (at any level) and not currently plausible with current construct of USCYBERCOM.

Suggesting a course of action such as this one, with respec to the ongoing regional challenges in Middle East North Africa, with the current restrictions and limitations on PSYOP Dissemination via internet is strictly a bridge too far.

Additionally, it is reactive - which every MISO Soldier hates. We would rather be proactive and actually shape the battlefield to prevent the employment of tactical assets.

MISO units and Soldiers constantly think out of the box, and those of us in the fight, everyday, recognize that tomorrow is already here.

True, USCYBERCOM might have the medium, MISO might be able to create a message. Until we actually resolve the issues that are cemented in bureaucracy and fueled by technocrats, such suggestions as mentioned here ate inherently dangerous and might create false expectations.