Psychological Operations: Learning is Not a Defense Science Project
ARMY CIVIL AFFAIRS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS COMMAND FORT BRAGG NC
Pagination or Media Count:
Colonel Curtis Boyds paper on psychological operations PSYOP wades into the difficult realm of influence operations, strategic communications, and information operations. These areas of national security are much more difficult to deal with, and understand, than the traditional concept of conventional military operations. The difficulty of these issues is exactly why the United States has been less than effective over time trying to master and utilize PSYOP and is struggling with strategic communications in the Global War on Terrorism GWOT. As more and more security experts, the political leadership, and senior military leaders come to realize that success in the GWOT cannot come solely from traditional or kinetic military actions, the importance of the softer and indirect methods looms larger. Consequently, the discussion of PSYOPs role in the security quiver of the United States and its allies may never be timelier. COL Boyd unflinchingly discusses the interaction between the PSYOP, Public Affairs, and information operations communities and offers insight into a way forward to better utilize PSYOP, especially within the U.S. Army. Underpinning his assertion is the desire to reduce stovepiping between three agents-of-influence activities to ensure a unified, consistent message. Effecting these changes requires the integration of trained PSYOP personnel not only within various headquarters elements of the Army but also the combatant commands. Ultimately, COL Boyds paper asserts the need for a cultural shift within the traditional military away from a force on force mindset and more towards nonlethal, psychological, and informational aspects of warfare. His emphasis on the importance of changing the culture correctly assesses the ingrained preference for violence as a basis for military operations. However, this kinetic preference may very well be hindering our prosecution of the GWOT.
- Information Science
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare