“Psychological operations (PSYOP),” per Wikipedia, “are operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups and individuals.”
Most definitions on-line talk about foreign audiences and governments and enemies. Curious, eh? Because the major market, audience, and target for PSYOP in 2022 is the American public. We who live here in the Fifty States.
Look at that with fresh eyes. WHO do those people in Foggy Bottom and Langley and the Pentagon – the ones controlling and coordinating FedGov PSYOP consider their enemies? Oh, certainly they claim that Islamists and Russians and Chinese are enemies. And maybe the Cartels in Mexico and Venezuela. But in reality, they ACT as though their major enemies are the American people who are not fully under their thumbs. Because they are enemies of liberty, they view US – people in general – as their enemy. Why? Because we want to enjoy life and liberty and pursue happiness.
We could argue all day whether PSYOP are (a) military (b) political or (c) something else. I am going to assume that PSYOP are first and foremost MILITARY operations: a form of combat. That means that they are most likely to succeed if they are carried out in accordance with the principles of war. It also means that the best ways to COUNTER PSYOP also should be analyzed and decided in accordance with those principles.
There are multiple PSYOP campaigns or operations being carried out right now – some ongoing on for years. Yes, of course, they are coordinated and integrated. Multiple battles are ongoing, but all (at least intended) to work together to accomplish military objectives.
And of course, the primary, overall objective is to defeat the enemy – if necessary by destroying them but certainly to gain control (total control) over them. AND to prevent her from taking (or keeping) control over you!
Let us look briefly at some of the principles of war and then (in a later commentary) see how they are being applied to PSYOP against US: the American people and especially those who are lovers of liberty. Finally we will talk about counteracting the PSYOP.
- Objective Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective.
- Offensive Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.
- Mass Concentrate the effects of combat power at the decisive place and time.
- Economy of force Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.
- Maneuver Place the enemy in a disadvantageous position through the flexible application of combat power.
- Unity of command For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander.
- Security Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.
- Surprise Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared.
- Security Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding.
Some people (like the Brits) add: Maintenance of Morale, Sustainability, Flexibility, and Cooperation. Others in recent years suggest including the principles of restraint, perseverance and legitimacy.
Obviously, some of these principles are incapable of being followed by governments and those who worship and serve government (voluntarily or not). Legitimacy comes to mind, as does unity of command and flexibility. Or do they? But they pretend that they do. So let us play like they do have legitimacy. Why? Because that creates another way for us to attack: another schwerepunkt.
Let us leave this first portion with these thoughts.
In order to defend ourselves against an enemy, we need to see as much as possible what he is trying to do. We need knowledge: what, how, where, when, and all that. Not just about the enemy but ourselves. In other words, we need to observe.
Then we need to try and see and understand her: her objectives, her strengths, her weaknesses. At the same time, we need to have a clear vision and understanding of OUR objectives, strengths, and weaknesses. What are we capable of doing? That is, we need to orient ourselves.
All the knowledge and understanding in the universe is useless until we decide WHAT we will do, and how, when, where, and who will do it.
Of course, the final step – or part of the loop – is to actually ACT.
So in the next commentary on this subject, let us gain knowledge about the enemies of freedom and liberty, and maybe a little about ourselves: the people who want life, liberty, and happiness.