Psychological Operations or
PSYOP are planned operations to convey selected information
and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions,
motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of
organizations, groups, and individuals. Used in all aspects of
war, it is a weapon whose effectiveness is limited only by the
ingenuity of the commander using it.
A proven winner in combat and
peacetime, PSYOP is one of the oldest weapons in the arsenal
of man. It is an important force protector/combat multiplier
and a non-lethal weapons system.
(PSYOP) or Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) is simply learning
everything about your target enemy, their beliefs, likes,
dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Once you
know what motivates your target, you are ready to begin
Psychological operations may be
defined broadly as the planned use of communications to
influence human attitudes and behavior ... to create in target
groups behavior, emotions, and attitudes that support the
attainment of national objectives. The form of communication
can be as simple as spreading information covertly by word of
mouth or through any means of multimedia.
A psychological warfare
campaign is a war of the mind. Your primary weapons are sight
and sound. PSYOP can be disseminated by face-to-face
communication, audio visual means (television), audio media
(radio or loudspeaker), visual media (leaflets, newspapers,
books, magazines and/or posters). The weapon is not how its
sent, but the message it carries and how that message affects
For instance, our American
flag, when it goes by in a parade do you feel a sense of
pride? How about when you hear our national anthem played? How
about "God Bless the USA", Lee Greenwood's song
which became popular during Desert Storm? Music or sound can
be a major factor in motivating emotion if it is associated
with the right message. How many of you think about the
pottery wheel scene with Patrick Swaytze and Demi Moore in the
movie "Ghost" when you hear the theme song
It has long been
said that: "The pen is mightier than the sword".
That is because, if used properly, words can be an inspiration
to motivate others. Some examples:
"Give me liberty or give me death"
"I regret I have but one life to give for my
"Ask not what your country can do for you? Ask what you
can do for your country"
psychological operations to be effective, you must carefully
plan your propaganda. You must make sure that you know
everything about your enemy and that you are targeting his
beliefs and not using your own. For example, at the very
beginning of Desert Shield, just after Iraq invaded Kuwait,
President Bush referred to Saddam Hussein as being
"just like Adolph Hitler"
For Americans and most
of Europe that was an insulting comparison. However, looking
at it through the eyes of an Iraqi soldier Adolph Hitler tried
to exterminate all the Jews. Iraq has long hated Israel.
Hitler drove out the British and French forces that had long
occupied the middle east. So with the right propaganda, the
comparison could be interpreted that Saddam, like Hitler,
hates Israel and wants to keep the western infidel influence
from contaminating the middle east. This would be a compliment
not an insult.
On the reverse side, knowing
your enemy's beliefs can work for you. For example, remember
when Saddam Hussein broadcasted live images of his "Human
Shields, the woman and children of westerners that were in
Iraq when the war broke out? The Koran, the Moslem bible,
states that you can do what you with with your enemy, but that
you must not harm his family,(wife and children). Saddam's
actions allowed us to show that he was a coward, hiding behind
innocent people and ignoring the Moslem laws he was so quick
to say he was defending.
How do you get to know your
enemy? Intelligence reports, Area studies, in country
research, defectors, native help, and even the enemy prisoners
of war all are sources of information. As leaflets were
developed during Desert Storm, they were tested on cooperative
EPWs (enemy prisoners of war. Some of the recommendations for
changes to the leaflet's illustrations made by these EPWs
were: remove any trace of the color red (a danger signal to
Iraqis), show Allied soldiers with chin beards rather than
clean-shaven faces (beards convey trust and brotherhood in
Iraqi culture), and add bananas to a bowl of fruit shown being
offered to surrendering Iraqis (bananas are a great delicacy
in Iraq). Also, an illustration depicting a surrendering Iraqi
thinking of his family back home confused the EPWs.
"Thought bubbles" are well-known in Western culture,
but virtually unknown to Iraqis. The illustration was dropped.
In a memo written to
then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles on 24 October 1953,
former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower defined
psychological warfare as anything "from the singing of
a beautiful anthem up to the most extraordinary kind of
Used during peacetime,
contingencies and declared war, these activities are not a
form of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent
means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than
compelling physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire or
other mental factors to promote specific emotions, attitudes
or behaviors. The ultimate objective of U.S. military
psychological operations is the dissemination of truthful
information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and
national objectives to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly
nations and forces to take action favorable to the United
States and its allies.
Now please note that I stated
above that Psychological Operations as conducted by the US
Military is the dissemination of "truthful"
information, not propaganda which is categorized as
"white, gray, or black". Now what is the difference
between PSYOP and propaganda? A memorandum prepared by the
Chief of Army Field Forces at Fort Monroe, Virginia in
September of 1953 briefly explained the difference between
"gray" propaganda, messages broadcast with the goal
of "avoiding identification," and "black"
propaganda, which involves "attribution to a source other
than the true one."
A more recent set of
definitions, reportedly used by former CIA chief William Colby
and cited in at least one commercial publication, calls
truthfully-attributed and non- attributed messages
"white" propaganda, whereas messages falsely
attributed to a third party are considered "gray."
The term "black propaganda" is reserved for those
materials "planted by the United States but in such as
way that it seems to be the product or even an internal
document of the target group." In other words,
"black propaganda" is nothing less than a form of
intellectual and political subversion.
Historically, the application
of psychological operations in one form or another has proven
to be almost as essential to the successful waging of war as
the use of manpower and weaponry. However, in spite of its
long history of successful employment, the potential for using
the power of persuasion through psychological operations as a
force multiplier to achieve national objectives with a minimum
of destruction, has been recognized by only the most
perceptive of military leaders and statesmen. Furthermore, it
has been since World War II that PSYOP has come into its own
as an effective weapon system.
The giant strides made in the
area of behavioral sciences, which can now enable us to know
and understand why people behave as they do, combined with the
development and perfection of mass media communications, have
greatly multiplied the capability and value of PSYOP as a
means of achieving our own national objectives without
An analysis of recent conflicts
has demonstrated the value of psychological operations/warfare
on and off the battlefield. As a result, military authorities
are now beginning to accept the fact that psychological
operations is a very special combat weapon…one that every
military commander must consider employing, and defending
against, if he is to accomplish his mission with minimum
losses. This recognition of the important role of PSYOP has
resulted in its integration into many training programs and
tactical exercises, as well as the consideration of PSYOP
employment in all future military operations.
United States psychological
operations consist of three distinct types: Tactical PSYOP,
Strategic PSYOP and Consolidation PSYOP.
Tactical PSYOP is addressed to
a specific enemy combat group, to induce them to perform a
specific action that will affect the current or short-range
Aimed at a larger audience,
Strategic PSYOP is put into effect by a carefully planned
campaign against a larger target audience than that toward
which Tactical PSYOP is directed.
Consolidation PSYOP’s mission
is to assist the civil and military authorities in
consolidating their gains, by establishing and maintaining law
and order, and by re-establishing civil government in an
occupied or liberated area.
All three types of
psychological operations - - Tactical, Strategic and
Consolidation--- can be employed to produce the following
- Reduce moral and combat
efficiency within the enemy’s ranks.
- Promote mass dissension
within and defections from enemy combat units and/or
- Support our own and allied
forces cover and deception operations.
- Promote cooperation, unity
and morale within one’s own and allied units, as well
as within resistance forces behind enemy lines.
Now Psychological Operations (PSYOP)is
not a new military tactic by any means. There are numerous
examples of the use of psychological warfare throughout
history. The following are some historical examples which
illustrate the attainment of each of these four objectives.
Perhaps one of the earliest
examples of Psychological Warfare was attributed to
"Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Alexander had
conquered most of the known world during his reign. With each
region he conquered he left behind soldiers to keep control of
the newly conquered area. Eventually, there came a point when
Alexander realized that he had stretched his army too thin and
was now in danger of losing to a large opposing force.
Alexander's only option was to retreat and regroup forces with
the armies he left behind. However, to do so would certainly
incite the opposing force to pursue him and very possibly
capture or defeat his now smaller army.
Alexander knew that if he could
intimidate the opposing force they would be scared to follow
his army. Alexander instructed his armorers to make several
oversized armor breastplates and helmets that would fit
"giants", men 7 to 8 feet tall. As Alexander and his
forces withdrew during the night they left behind the
oversized armor. The oversized armor was of course found by
the opposing force who then believed that they had come close
to engaging in a battle with giants. A battle that they surely
would have lost. The oversized armor coupled with the stories
they had heard from travelers of the savagery of Alexander's
army caused enough doubt and fear that they elected not to
pursue Alexander's army.
Tsu, recognized as one of the greatest military tacticians
of all times, strongly advocated the use of psychological
warfare as a force multiplier. Sun Tsu wrote that:
"To capture the enemy's
entire army is better than to destroy it; to take intact a
regiment, a company, or a squad is better than to destroy
them. For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles
is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting
is the supreme excellence. Thus, what is of supreme importance
in war is to attack the enemy's strategy. Next best is to
disrupt his alliances by diplomacy. The next best is to attack
his army. And the worst policy is to attack cities.
Sun Tzu understood that given
the opportunity, an adversary will surrender to a superior
commander prior to conflict. In order to have a chance to be
that superior leader, PSYOP must be coordinated and included
in initial planning and implemented prior to conflict. If
hostilities begin, proper PSYOP implementation can end the
conflict earlier than otherwise expected. PSYOP is a force
multiplier and resource saver.
Mongol leader Genghis Khan was
widely known for leading hordes of savage horsemen across
Russia and into Europe. While not totally unfounded, the
Mongols' image of total, barbaric domination was greatly
enhanced by Khan's use of PSYOP, deception, operational
security (OPSEC), and targeting his adversaries'
decision-making process. "Agents of influence" were
sent in advance of his armies to do face-to-face PSYOP,
telling of brutality and large numbers in the Mongol army.
Khan also used deception to create the illusion of invincible
numbers by using rapid troop maneuver, making his army look
larger than it really was. He had a network of horsemen called
"arrow riders" to communicate quickly with his
commanders, and he targeted enemy messengers to prevent enemy
commanders from communicating with each other. All these
actions caused a weakness in their enemy's psyche, and the
Mongols were feared wherever they went.
World War II
Psychological operations were
used extensively by all sides during World War II. Adolf
Hitler rose to power by exploiting the dissatisfaction of
supporters of the traditional left and right wing parties, by
dwelling on the failure of these parties to solve the problems
created by the conditions imposed on Germany under the Treaty
of Versailles. He then presented National Socialism as the one
movement capable of uniting conservative nationalists with
international socialists, the professional classes with the
working classes in the service of the nation. The speeches he
delivered urged national pride and unity and placed the blame
for all of Germany's problems on others. His oratory
techniques and use of propaganda gave him a truly hypnotic
grip over the German masses. After taking over as dictator,
the Germans continued to use propaganda both to unite Germany
and to intimidate their enemies.
Radio broadcasts became a major
means of passing propaganda to the enemy. Japan used the
notorious "Tokyo Rose" to broadcast music,
propaganda, and words of discouragement to our allied forces.
The German's used Mildred Gillar, better remembered as
"Axis Sally". The American's used deception and
psychological operations to convince the German high command
that the D-Day invasion was not going to be launched at
Normandy but at Calais.
However the best and most
innovative use of psychological warfare must be attributed to
a radio broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC). During the period May through September 1940, when the
German invasion of England seemed imminent, a regular BBC
radio program, easily heard and often listened to by the
Germans, began a series of English language lessons for the
would-be invaders. These broadcasts of course were presented
in flawless German. The British announcer stated the purpose
of these broadcasts like this:
"…..and so it
will be best if you learn a few useful phrases in English
before visiting us. For your first lesson, we take ‘DIE
KANAUEBERFAHRT’. The channel crossing."
"Now, just repeat
after me: ‘DAS BOOT SINKT.’ The boat is sinking. The
boat is sinking"
"DAS WASSER IST
KALT. The water is cold. SER KALT. Very cold"
"Now I will give
you a verb that should be very useful. Again, please
repeat after me. ICH BRENNE. I am burning. Du Brennst. You
are burning. ER BRENNT. He is burning. WIR BRENNEN. We
burn. IHR BRENNT. You are burning. SIR BRENNEN. They are
This was rather crude material:
but it proved effective. The phrases about burning in the
English Channel seemed to confirm the intensive rumors already
being spread by British agents on the continent that the
British had perfected an apparatus with which they were going
to set fires in the Channel and on the English beaches
whenever Hitler launched his invasion. Although not true, the
rumors were so well planned and cleverly spread that to this
day, many Germans believe them. Documents found after the war
confirmed that the German High Command believed that the
British had a workable plan to set fire to the English
Cover and deception operations
are complex and intricate affairs, invariably involving many
talents, techniques and resources. Perhaps the most ambitious
and spectacular cover and deception operation of modern times
was the effort of the Allies to convince the German high
command that the upcoming Allied invasion of Europe would
occur across the beaches near the Pas de Calais, rather than
the narrow sand strips and cliffs of Normandy nearly 100
hundred miles away.
Through imaginative employment
of psychological operations the Allies created the fictitious
"Army Group Patton," which was poised to strike
across the English Channel at the Germans 15th
Panzer Army defending the Pas de Calais. This ruse convinced
the German strategists and planners that the Allied assault
would be spearheaded at the Pas de Calais by an army under the
command of Lieutenant General George S. Patton, whom many
considered our best combat command. As a result, the heaviest
concentration of German combat power in France was positioned
at the Pas de Calais, waiting for Patton.
Even after the Allied invasion
came at Normandy, Hitler would not allow for the deployment of
the 15th Panzer Army from the Pas de Calais. Hitler
was still convinced that the Normandy invasion was only a
prelude to the real invasion. The 15th Panzer Army
waited in vain at the Pas de Calais for nearly seven weeks for
Army Group Patton, an invasion that was never to come. General
of the Army Omar Bradley later referred to this operation as
"the biggest hoax of the war". As for the German
Army, they never fully recovered from the reversals set in
motion by their delay in releasing the 15th Panzer
The next example concerns the
fourth objective of psychological operations, that is, its use
to promote cooperation, unity and morale within friendly units
and people as well as within resistance forces behind enemy
During World War II, the very
survival of the Soviet Union was due in large part to Stalin;s
ability to appeal to and mobilize the emotional patriotism of
the Russian people. With his regime reeling under the blows of
the German blitz in 1941, Stalin sensed that the ideological
abstractions and Communist platitudes, which the Party had
driven into the minds of its captive domestic audience since
its take over in 1918, were relatively barren and did not have
the emotional and spiritual impact necessary to fortify the
Russian people for their struggle against Hitler’s armies.
Therefore, in one of the most dramatic policy turn-abouts in
modern history, Stalin systematically set about identifying
his Communist regime with "Holy Russia" (and
"Mother Russia") its ancient heritage and its
The two Russian institutions
with the deepest roots in the past, the Army and the Church,
were cultivated by Stalin’s propagandists as never before in
Soviet history. The historic accomplishments of Russian armies
were glorified. The church hierarchy and class distinctions
were returned to pre-revolution standards. Even the official
newspaper, "PRAVDA," dropped its Marxist motto,
"WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE," and substituted the
openly nationalistic slogan, "DEATH TO THE GERMAN
INVADER." The ensuing struggle became and is still
officially known in Soviet history as "The Great
Thus we see how even Josef
Stalin, one of the most hard-headed dictators of the 20th
Century, realized that his conventional military weapons
alone, were not enough to meet the challenge of the German
armies. In retrospect, we can see that his choice of utilizing
psychological operations to augment his conventional military
forces, would prove to play a major role in maintaining the
survival of his communist regime for so many years.
Having learned the
effectiveness of radio broadcasts and leaflets during World
War II, the U.S. Army Far East Command's small Special
Projects Branch of the Headquarters G-2 (Intelligence)
Division, began radio broadcasts and leaflet drops over the
Republic of South Korea immediately after North Korea's
invasion across the 38th Parallel in June 1950. Later during
the fall of that year, the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company
arrived in South Korea. This unit would serve as the 8th
Army's tactical psychological warfare unit to the end of the
war in 1952.
The 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet
Company used both vehicle and aircraft mounted loudspeakers to
get their verbal messages across. However, as in previous U.S.
wars, leaflets were still the major medium. Korean War
leaflets themes center around the "happy POW."
"good soldier-bad leaders," "surrender and you
will be well-treated," "we can crush you," and
nostalgia for home, family and women.
Psychological Operations were
used by both sides. Many G.I.'s may remember the notorious
"Hanoi Hannah", who like "Tokyo Rose" of
WW II broadcasted a daily radio program where she played
music, coupled with the North's view of the news and messages
of discouragement to our troops.
The Americans countered with
their own radio broadcasts, and leaflet programs.
In Vietnam, the United States
conducted air attacks against military and military-related
strategic targets partly for psychological effect. The
principal psychological objective of these attacks was to
persuade enemy leaders to negotiate an early end to the
conflicts on terms acceptable to the United States.
These air attacks failed to
deter the communists from protracting the fighting for over
eight years in Vietnam. In addition to the humanitarian and
other constraints the United States imposed on its air
operations, various conditions and attitudes in the enemy camp
diluted the coercive effects of the U.S. strategic attacks.
These included the enemy government's:
- access to support and
sanctuary from external powers, which allowed the enemy
to continue fighting even when its indigenous
war-related production facilities had been destroyed.
- strong commitment to the
objectives or cause that gave rise to the conflict with
the United States.
- readiness to absorb
enormous human and materiel losses.
- ability to maintain
domestic support for the war effort and/or sufficient
internal security to suppress any potential opposition.
- perception that the likely
benefits from continued conflict would exceed the costs
resulting from the U.S. bombing.
After having already made what
it considered to be its maximum feasible concessions in the
Vietnam peace talks, the United States resorted to escalation
or threatened escalation to bring the negotiations to closure.
Severe U.S. escalation or
threatened escalation was required to extract comparatively
modest concessions from both enemies. In Vietnam, Washington
had to employ massive B-52 and fighter-bomber strikes on Hanoi
and Haiphong to force the communists to complete a peace
agreement, the key provisions of which they had already
The communists agreed to terms
only after their military forces on the battlefield had been
stalemated. Prior to the settlements, the communist forces in
Vietnam had mounted major offensives, the defeat of which left
them no prospects for immediate further military gains.
Cause - Panama
At H-Hour, 1-508th Abn had the
mission of securing Ft. Amador, an installation shared by the
U.S. and Panama Defense Force (PDF). Because of the need for
OPSEC, American dependents could not be evacuated in advance
of the attack. This complication, and the requirement to
minimize enemy casualties and physical damage, made PSYOP
loudspeaker teams, from the 1st Bn, 4th PSYOP Gp, a key asset.
The battalion sealed off the PDF portion of Ft. Amador and
ensured that all noncombatants were safe. After daylight, the
task force set about systematically securing the area. When
initial appeals failed to persuade the PDF to surrender, the
commander modified the broadcasts. The holdouts were warned
that resistance was hopeless in the face of overwhelming
firepower and a series of demonstrations took place,
escalating from small arms to 105mm howitzer rounds.
Subsequent broadcasts convinced the PDF to give up. The entire
process allowed Ft. Amador to be secured with few casualties
and minimal damage.
The Gulf War
The Gulf War brought a whole
new meaning to the use of multimedia in psychological
operations. Radio and TV broadcasts, leaflets, and
loudspeakers used the themes of Arab brotherhood, allied air
power, and Iraqi isolation to induce large numbers of enemy
soldiers to desert. One of the most effective tactics involved
the dropping of leaflets on a particular unit, informing it
that it would be bombed within twenty-four hours and had to
surrender to avoid destruction. Over a seven-week period, 29
million leaflets in at least 14 varieties were dropped behind
Iraqi lines, reaching approximately 98% of the 300,000 troops.
Click here for some examples
of Gulf War leaflets.
The 4th PSYOP Group began
broadcasting the "VOICE OF THE GULF" radio network
on 19 January 1991. It operated continuously through 1 April
1991 with more than 210 hours of live broadcasting and 330
hours of prerecorded programs. A total of 2072 news items were
aired along with 189 PSYOP messages. The VOICE OF THE GULF
network consisted of a 50 KW AM transmitter located at Abu
Ali, Saudi Arabia broadcasting on AM 1134; a 10KW AM
transmitter located at Qaisumah, Saudi Arabia broadcasting on
AM 1179; a 1KW FM transmitter located at Qaisumah, Saudi
Arabia broadcasting on FM 87.5 and two Volant
Solo EC-130 aircraft of the 193rd
Special Operations Group broadcasting on AM 690 and FM
88.5 and 87.9.
Of course like some of the
other big wars, Iraq chose to use a woman, "Baghdad
Betty", to conduct propaganda broadcasts to deter and
disillusion their enemy. Unfortunately for Iraq, they forgot
that a truly effective psychological warfare program must have
the input of highly-qualified clinical psychologists "who
specialize in the unconscious dynamics of human behavior and
motivation'' and who are knowledgeable about the "values
and customs of different cultures.'' Such expertise is
essential to the "selection of a culturally appropriate
and effectively persuasive concept and value-based theme"
that is the heart of any PSYOP. In one of her first broadcast
Baghdad Betty warned the American soldiers listening that
while they were in the desert of Saudi Arabia, their wives and
girlfriends were sleeping with Tom Cruise, Tom Selleck and
Bart Simpson. Now it was ridiculous enough to infer that our
wives and girlfriends would be seduced by two movie stars but
by their failure to do thorough research on the American
culture, Betty lost any chance of credibility by telling our
servicemen that a cartoon character was seducing our women
During Desert Storm the 4th
PSYOP Group fielded 71 Tactical loudspeaker teams. These teams
provided support to USARCENT (both XVIII Airborne Corps and
VII Corps), USMARCENT and USSOCCENT. Loudspeaker teams
broadcast surrender appeals, harassment and deception tapes.
Most loudspeaker teams had Saudi Arabian, Egyptian or Kuwaiti
linguists attached to execute live broadcasts as the situation
dictated. Loudspeaker teams were also innovatively employed
for prisoner control at the EPW camps with broadcasts designed
to accomplish prisoner pacification and underscore Military
One of the best examples of the
successful use of loudspeakers occurred during the Gulf War.
The allied coalition effectively isolated, both physically and
psychologically, a large element of Iraqi forces on Faylaka
Island. Rather then reduce the island by direct assault, a
tactical PSYOP team from the 9th PSYOP Battalion, aboard a
UH-1N helicopter, flew aerial loudspeaker missions around the
island with cobra gunships providing escort. The message told
the adversary below to surrender the next day in formation at
the radio tower. The next day 1,405 Iraqis, including a
general officer, waited in formation at the radio tower to
surrender to the Marine forces without a single shot having
How successful was the US PSYOP
campaign in Desert Storm? The International Red Cross reported
that nearly 87,000 Iraqi soldiers turned themselves over to
coalition forces, most of them clutching the leaflets or
hiding them in their clothing. All incidents of surrender were
bloodless. Perhaps the best testimony to the effectiveness of
PSYOP was given by an Iraqi General when he stated that:
"PSYOP...was a great
threat to troop morale, second only to the coalition bombing
Thus, psychological operations
are coming of age. We saw from historical examples, how
Tactical, Strategic and Consolidation PSYOP can cover the
short-range, long-range and recuperative phases of warfare, to
reduce enemy morale and combat effectiveness; to promote
dissension within and defections from enemy ranks; to support
cover and deception operations; and to promote unity,
cooperation and morale within our own military and those of
our allies, and to provide meaningful domestic assistance to
less fortunate groups and communities.
Why then , you may ask, has the
value of psychological operations taken so long to receive
general recognition, and why is it full potential yet to be
Part of the answer to this
question was covered earlier in our presentation, when it was
discussed that although psychological operations has been
utilized by various military leaders over the centuries, it
has only been recently with the major advances in behavioral
sciences and mass communications that PSYOP has come into its
own as an effective weapon system of great potential.
Another part of the answer to
this question lies in the attitude of people towards
psychological operations. To some, it produces images of
government controlled communications/mass media, telling the
people only what the government wants them to hear. To others,
it raises the horrid specter of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s
Propaganda Minister, practicing the technique of the "big
lie" which has incorrectly become synonymous with
"propaganda". Still to others, the mere mention of
"psychological" operations or warfare invokes
visions of "mind control" through some mysterious
means of brainwashing.
It should be clear that modern
psychological operations, or PSYOP, is none of those things.
On the contrary PSYOP is not unlike the public advertising
that we are all exposed to wherever we go, every day, through
all kinds of mass media. However the negative connotation that
some people attach to the word psychological" prevents
many people from recognizing the simple truth. Everyone knows
that if you do not have a good product to sell, people will
not continue buying it, no matter how much you advertise. The
same applies to the points of view advertised through the use
of psychological operations. Thus we have no reason to fear
PSYOP, but we do have ample reason to respect it for what it
By the application of sound
PSYOP techniques, through face-to-face communication and mass
media communications, we have demonstrated , time and time
again, that we can appeal to the intelligence, reason, and
emotions of our target audience to get them to think and act
as we desire. If these people are shooting at us, we can
persuade them to lay down their arms. If they fear us, we can
convince them that they have nothing to fear. If they are
belligerent and uncooperative, we can show them the value of
unity and cooperation. Lastly and most important, the
utilization of PSYOP can prevent needless bloodshed,
destruction and misery. That is why we say, with conviction,
that psychological operations, or PSYOP, is truly a humane
Today, Psychological Operations
are a vital part of the broad range of U.S. political,
military, economic and ideological activities used by the U.S.
government to secure national objectives. The mission of
providing Psychological Operations for the U.S. Military today
rests with the U.S. Army's Civil Affairs and Psychological
Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.