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Do Psychological Operations Benefit from the Use of Host Nation Media?

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Master's thesis

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The U.S. has been continuously engaged in two enormous military endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. The campaign in Iraq has been deeply plagued by a seemingly difficult quagmire against a stubborn insurgency, rising sectarianism, an increasingly hostile and disenchanted population that has begun to lose faith in the Coalition, as well the enormously difficult task of winning the battle of ideas. An enormous amount of time and resources have been spent by the Bush administration, State Department, Department of Defense, and other government agencies on how best to reach target audiences that have a profound effect on U.S. national security and objectives. From a military perspective, the onus for swaying target audiences has fallen on psychological operations PSYOP. Organizing and conducting effective PSYOP in support of strategic, operational, and tactical objectives is a complex endeavor fraught with many challenges a general negative attitude towards PSYOPdeception operations an emphasis on kinetic platforms as the solution set for all crises, including unconventional warfare the sheer lack of PSYOP personnel and equipment and a recent upsurge of negativity from the world media regarding the U.S. militarys use of host nation media. In this thesis, host nation media include radio, newspapers, leaflets, posters, magazines, comic books, radio stations, and satellite and terrestrial television. The thesis attempts to draw out past lessons of when the use of host nation media enhanced the achievement of mission objectives by analyzing the PSYOP strategies used by opposing forces from World War II to the present. There is no general way to evaluate PSYOP results as the benchmarks for success for each PSYOP mission are unique. In this paper, success will be evaluated through the use of measurable actions by the target audience that correlate to the objectives and related Measures of Effectiveness MOEs that are specific to each PSYOP campaign.

Subject Categories:

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

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