Friday, May 24, 2013

Report raps military propaganda efforts as ineffective

I think it is somewhat ironic that we expended all the effort to change the name from Psychological Operations (PSYOP) to Military Information Support Operations (MISO) to try to eliminate the perception that these operations are considered propaganda and yet this entire article calls these MISO operations "propaganda efforts."  Of course Tom Vanden Brook has targeted anything dealing with information operations. PSYOP, MISO, influence, etc, etc as propaganda.  But old Vanden Brook is just like the other journalists who cannot tell the difference among Special Operations Forces as illustrated in these excerpts:

The report also outlines how propaganda works. In war zones such as Afghanistan, the military deploys three- and four-soldier MISO teams to drop leaflets telling insurgents how to surrender, air radio broadcasts "to explain U.S. military operations in a favorable light," collect local propaganda and devise counterpropaganda, according to the report.
In safer countries, teams of two to 10 special forces soldiers are deployed at the request of combatant commanders and ambassadors. They lead programs that include helping "instill confidence by local populations in their law enforcement" and offering rewards for information.

Report raps military propaganda efforts as ineffective

Tom Vanden Brook, USATODAY
4:57 p.m. EDT May 23, 2013

(Photo: NONE ISAF)
  • Series of Pentagon-run websites not coordinated with other efforts
  • Pentagon runs propaganda operations in 22 countries
  • The GAO did not release the report publicly
WASHINGTON — Pentagon propaganda programs are inadequately tracked, their impact is unclear, and the military doesn't know if it is targeting the right foreign audiences, according to a government report obtained by USA TODAY.

Since 2005, the Pentagon has spent hundreds of million of dollars on Military Information Support Operations (MISO). These propaganda efforts include websites, leaflets and broadcasts intended to change foreigners' "attitudes and behaviors in support of U.S. Government" objectives, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office. Some of them disclose the U.S. military as the source; others don't.

The Pentagon's response noted that it partly concurred with the GAO criticism. Lt. Col. James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday the military is revising its tracking requirements for propaganda programs, has a pilot program to assess their effectiveness and will soon publish revised guidelines that emphasize better planning of its operations.

The report offers a rare glimpse inside the cloaked world of military propaganda, much of which is held secret by the Pentagon. It shows the effort extends from Southeast Asia to South America, with special operations troops deployed to embassies to "erode support for violent extremist ideologies."
The stakes are high. Used effectively, the programs can dampen extremism and increase support for U.S. military operations. However, "if used ineffectively, MISO activities have the potential to undermine the credibility of the United States and threaten (Pentagon) and other agencies' efforts to accomplish key foreign policy goals," the report says.

While the report says some of the military's propaganda teams have succeeded in the 22 countries, "it is unclear whether MISO activities are effective overall."

"Once again we are seeing a misguided spending approach by the government," said Scott Amey, general counsel of the non-partisan watchdog the Project on Government Oversight. "It is horrifying to think that millions are spent on propaganda with little administration of those funds and without some metric of the campaigns' success."

Military propaganda and marketing efforts have been the focus of a series of USA TODAY stories. In 2012, the paper found that the Pentagon had spent as much as $580 million per year on propaganda programs at the height of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan but had trouble gauging their effectiveness. It spent $54 million last year, according to the GAO. The GAO refused USA TODAY's request for the report, which was obtained from another government source.

The GAO found three "weaknesses" in the Pentagon's tracking of its propaganda programs:

• The Pentagon and Congress "do not have a complete picture" of the efforts and the funding used to pay for the programs.

• The Pentagon can't measure the effects of propaganda programs well enough to know where to allocate funding.

• Lacking goals, the Pentagon does not have "reasonable assurance" that it is putting resources into countries that need it.

Gregory noted that the Pentagon already provides Congress with substantial data on its MISO programs every three months.
(Continued at the link below)


  1. I am a former PSYOPer and our products helped take down Khadaffi Janjalani in 2006, who was the second most wanted man in the world behind Osama Bin Laden at the time. The biggest obstacle for PSYOP in the Middle East is that we have no clear objectives. Establishing a democracy isn't going to work in countries that are extremely corrupt.

  2. And PSYOP significantly contributed to Abu Sulaiman's death in January 2007 as well.


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