PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS (PSYOP)
PSYOP Soldiers use persuasion to influence perceptions and encourage desired behavior. The cornerstone of MILITARY INFORMATION SUPPORT OPERATIONS (MISO) is truth, credibly presented to convince a foreign audience to cease resistance or take actions favorable to friendly forces. During Desert Storm, the effective use of MISO was a combat multiplier that directly contributed to the surrender of thousands of Iraqi Soldiers. It is clear its effectiveness saved countless coalition and Iraqi lives. PSYOP units also have Soldiers with unique skills. These Soldiers are communicators who provide the commander with the ability to communicate information to large audiences via radio, television, leaflets and loudspeakers. The PSYOP Soldier's language skills, regional orientation and knowledge of communications media provide a means of delivering critical information to host-nation audiences. MISO is a vital part of the broad range of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic (DIME) activities used by the U.S. Government.
PSYOP Soldiers use information to influence the behavior of foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives. Used during peacetime, contingencies, and declared war, these activities are non-lethal. They are force multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than compelling physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire or other psychological factors to promote specific behaviors. The ultimate objective of PSYOP is to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly governments, forces and populations to take actions favorable to the United States and its allies. PSYOP conducts MISO to support national objectives at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of operations. Strategic MISO advance broad or long-term objectives; global in nature, they may be directed toward large audiences or at key communicators. Operational MISO is conducted on a smaller scale. They are employed by theater commanders to target groups within the theater of operations. Their purpose can range from gaining support for U.S. operations to preparing the battlefield for combat. Tactical MISO is more limited, used by commanders to secure immediate and near-term goals. In this environment, these force-enhancing activities serve as a means to lower the morale and efficiency of enemy forces. Both tactical and operational level MISO may be used to enhance peacetime military activities of conventional and Special Operations Forces operating in foreign countries.
Cultural awareness prepares PSYOP Soldiers to effectively communicate the positive aspects of combined military exercises and deployments. In addition to supporting military units, MISO provides interagency support. In operations ranging from humanitarian assistance to drug interdiction, MISO supports the missions of those agencies. Their activities can be used to disseminate information about ongoing programs and to gain support from the local populace. PSYOP units of the U.S. Army are culturally oriented, linguistically capable.