DOD aims psy-ops at Iraqi officers

DOD continues its electronic psychological operations directed at the upper echelons of the Iraqi military

193rd Special Operations Wing

Related Links

"Intercepts"

The Defense Department is continuing, and perhaps has stepped up, its electronic psychological operations campaign directed at the upper echelons of the Iraqi military now that hostilities have begun.

In a press conference March 20, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that DOD officials are "in communication with still more people who are officials of the [Iraqi] military at various levels," warning them of the outcome of their actions should they take up arms against U.S. or allied forces.

Defense officials confirmed in January that they had been sending e-mail messages to Iraqi military officials as part of a psychological operations campaign. For decades, military forces have dropped leaflets on enemy soldiers in an attempt to persuade them to surrender before engaging in combat. The new e-mail campaign, according to experts, is a technological extension of that.

DOD in January began sending thousands of e-mail messages to commanders, promising protection for those who comply with the order to not use weapons of mass destruction against allied forces. Responding to reports from CNN and Reuters that quote anonymous military officials, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command told Federal Computer Week that the e-mail program does exist, but he would not divulge any other details.

Robert Martinage, a senior defense analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the psychological operations campaigns have moved beyond just e-mail, but that remains the most directed effort of which he is aware.

E-mail messages can address an individual personally, rather than relying on blanketing a geographic area, as was required with dropping leaflets.

"The ability to reach into the country and communicate is really a part of an overall, comprehensive psychological operations plan that has gotten more sophisticated," Martinage said. "We have also taken control of the major airwaves and are sending U.S. broadcasts out."

Martinage said the message DOD is trying to get across to the Iraqi people in general, and military in particular, is threefold: first, do not resist or take up arms against the allies; second, do not use weapons of mass destruction, or they will be held accountable as war criminals; and third, this is not a force of occupation, but one of liberation.

Getting the right messages to the right people is a key part of the operation, proving that the United States has the knowledge of who is in charge and how to reach them, said retired Navy Rear Adm. Stephen Baker, a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information, a nonprofit, independent research organization.

Baker said the effectiveness of the psychological operations will probably be known in the first few days of the conflict, as allied ground forces move further into Iraq.

"The e-mail campaign will probably be proven to be a successful part of an overall psychological warfare plan to hit them in every direction using all of the conduits available to [the military]," he said.

The takeover of the radio airwaves will allow U.S. and allied forces to reach the Iraqi citizenry and soldiers in the field, and the e-mail campaign is directed at the higher-grade officers. Next, he said, could come the takeover of TV airwaves, giving allied forces a virtual lock on all forms of electronic media within the country.

"We have the technology and the capability to do just that, and it would probably prove to be very effective," Baker said.

Baker has said he thinks that the 193rd Special Operations Wing, which is part of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, and the CIA were "certainly" involved in the e-mail campaign, as were Iraqi defectors.

The 193rd is equipped with an airborne electronic broadcasting system and its mission is to support psychological operations by broadcasting programs in standard AM/FM radio, television, short wave and military communication bands, which they did during the Gulf War.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.