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Unweaving the Web Deception and Adaptation in Future Urban Operations

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Deception is widely appreciated as a powerful instrument of war, yet it is surprisingly understudied. There is much to be learned from the flexibility and innovation demonstrated at times by opposing forces. The authors believe that this holds as true in training exercises as in actual deployments. While there is no lack of ingenuity and guile among U.S. service members at any rank, there is little training in how to craft and employ ruses and relatively few resources tasked to support deception operations. The authors have also noted that there is little analysis or doctrinal guidance for combatants or commanders to mull over when making tradeoffs regarding deception, even for so simple a question as whether to employ camouflage or decoys. This research was conducted in an attempt to delve more deeply into the theory of deception and, in so doing, to reveal new avenues of experimentation. These pathways may lead to new technologies or new training techniques, and hopefully will provoke a new look at deception doctrine applicable at every level of war. After reviewing the military deception literature, the authors examined a wide range of research on deception in the animal kingdom, where ruses of virtually infinite variety are applied to offense, defense, and intelligence gathering. What fundamentally ties animal deception to military deception Since all entities seek accuracy in their perceptions, and accurate perceptions rely heavily upon the performance of an individuals sensors, improvements to sensors or sensory processing are significant contributors to survival this is as true for human combatants as it is for any animal in any environment. It should not be surprising, therefore, that the reverse holds true capabilities that engender inaccuracy in the perceptions of the foe be it attacker or defender tend to be highly advantageous.

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  • Psychology
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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