Accession Number:



Deception through Perception

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Deception is a means to create distinct advantage on the battlefield for the commander who employs it. A commander that utilizes deception operations can hide the disposition and size of forces at the tactical level of war. Deception also allows the deceiver to mask military and political intent at the strategic and operational levels of war. Executing deception properly requires understanding of the enemys perceptions and the channels from which they receive information. This basis allows the operational artist to attempt to manipulate enemy through what he sees, his perception and the basis for his actions. In an age of information proliferation, deception is a powerful tool at the operational artists disposal. History demonstrates that military deception is most effectively employed when the deception plan targets a theater-level decision maker or political decision-maker at the highest level of governance. Decision-makers at the politicalstrategic or theater level have the authorities to make the decisions that achieve the goals of a deception plan. Two case studies provide evidence of this. Utilizing the criteria of see, think, do Operation FORTITUDE conducted by the Allies in World War II and Operation SPARK conducted by the Egyptians during the Yom Kippur War illustrate the relevance of the hypothesis. The evidence of Operation FORTITUDE demonstrates that Adolf Hitler was the appropriate deception target. The evidence also demonstrates that his perception of the Pas de Calais as an Allied deception landing site aided in the creation of the conditions that allowed the success of Operation FORTITUDE. Similarly, evidence of the Egyptian deception in Operation SPARK illustrated that the Egyptians targeted the correct decision-maker, Prime Minister Golda Meir.


Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]