Accession Number:

ADA434034

Title:

USAF Psychological Operations, 1990-2003

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE HISTORICAL RESEARCH AGENCY MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2003-05-23

Pagination or Media Count:

22.0

Abstract:

Psychological operations attempt to alter the behavior of people in enemy-controlled territory. Airplanes have served as psychological instruments in recent conflicts by dropping leaflets and broadcasting radio and television messages. In conjunction with air strikes, these methods have persuaded enemy troops to surrender, abandon their positions, and stop fighting. In association with humanitarian air missions, they also have convinced civilians to turn against enemy leadership and welcome friendly forces. This paper reports on the military operations that involved psychological missions from 1990 to 2003, the advantages and disadvantages of various psychological operations, and the lessons learned from them. Only recently did the Air Force and its sister services carve out a significant place for psychological operations in their doctrine. The fact that Air Force doctrine must include psychological operations is perhaps the most important of the lessons learned since 1990. As Air Force doctrine continues to evolve, it should devote increasing attention to psychological operations. The lessons learned over the past 13 years are as follows 1 Formulators of Air Force doctrine should continue to develop psychological operations theory 2 Psychological operations should be part of operation plans from the beginning 3 Psychological operations should be coordinated with other air operations 4 Media and messages should be tailored carefully for the target population 5 Psychological operations should complement each other 6 Certain aircraft are more appropriate for psychological operations than others 7 Vulnerability of psychological operations aircraft limits their use 8 Eliminating enemy media enhances alternative information and 9 Timing leaflet drops according to weather conditions enhances their effectiveness.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Psychology
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE