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<nettime> Defense Science Board on Psychological Warfare


                         Report of the
                Defense Science Board Task Force

               The Creation and Dissemination of
               All Forms of Information in Support
               of Psychological Operations (PSYOP)
               in Time of Military Conflict

                    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
                   UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

                            May 2000

             Office of the Under Secretary of Defense
            For Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
                   Washington, D.C. 20301-3140

                     DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A
                    Approved for Public Release
                      Distribution Unlimited
    This report is a product of the Defense Science Board (DSB). The DSB is a
  Federal Advisory Committee established to provide independent advice to the
  Secretary of Defense. Statements, opinions, conclusions, and recommendations 
   in this report do not necessarily represent the official position of the
                        Department of Defense.
                         This report is UNCLASSIFIED
  "While the United Sates is years ahead of its competitors in terms of
  military technology, in terms of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) there are
  already competitors on par with or even arguably more sophisticated than
  the U.S. The weakness of U.S. military PSYOP is ironic because the United
  States leads the world in commercial media technology and development.
  However, foreign rivals are often more flexible, less restricted by
  outdated equipment and policy, and better able to take advantage of changes
  in the manner in which people communicate.
  In the Information Age there is an increasing reliance on sophisticated,
  near-real time media dissemination. Information, and its denial, is power.
  The state or entity most able to effectively control or manage information,
  especially managing the perceptions of particular target audiences, will be
  the most influential. Future adversaries will be more likely to attempt to
  rely upon their ability to subvert U.S. foreign policy goals through the
  use of sophisticated propaganda -- on both its own populace and on
  international audiences -- than to confront the United States and its
  coalition partners through traditional military means. They will try to
  manipulate U.S. policy through selected, discriminate propaganda via both
  legitimate news media and non-traditional means. For military PSYOP to be
  effective, they must be continuous and integrated with the other elements
  of Information Operations.
  If PSYOP is to be a useful tool in the future, it must be a nimble asset
  capable of delivering the right information quickly, and in a manner that
  is as technologically sophisticated as any possible competitor within the
  region. In the future, the value of PSYOP will clearly be seen as best
  utilized before and after the conflict. PSYOP used before will help shape
  the military context in a favorable fashion for the U.S. forces. In the
  best case scenario, PSYOP actions will be coupled with other flexible
  deterrent options and actually prevent conflict. PSYOP after a conflict
  will shape the way U.S. military actions are perceived by people in the
  region and help to achieve the end state desired by the Theater CINC and
  the National Command Authorities. In the future, bombs and missiles will
  still determine who militarily wins or loses a conflict at tactical level.
  PSYOP, though, will help determine how long a conflict lasts and the impact
  of a military struggle on long term U.S. strategic interests.
  Three sources of intelligence contribute to a capable PSYOP program. These
  are perhaps best described as proprietary information, classified
  intelligence, and information from the public domain.
  Proprietary or privately held information requires considerable diplomatic
  expertise to acquire. It is best acquired through organizational
  interchanges, either among governments or non-government entities, or
  through contacts, meetings, international or transnational coalitions, and
  the like.
  Classified intelligence supports PSYOP in largely traditional ways, except
  that the ratio between technical collection and clandestine collection is
  reversed -- that is, the raw information of most value to the conduct of
  PSYOP is often acquired by clandestine collection. To the extent that the
  necessary information comes from public and private sources, it should be
  reinforced through clandestine means as a quality check. A cooperative
  effort involving intelligence agencies and country teams (coalition,
  perhaps) is vital.
  The Task Force observes that the PSYOP community must better specify the
  intelligence support it requires, especially for classified collection and
  tailored production. Currently, the PSYOP community seems to expect that
  the provision of tailored intelligence and other necessary information will
  be serendipitous. This is decidedly not the case, and raises a risk that
  the planning, execution, and assessment of PSYOP effectiveness will be
  based upon faulty information.
  The Task Force believes that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) should
  be tasked by the Secretary of Defense through his Assistant for C3I to
  establish a psychological warfare intelligence element. This element, in
  cooperation with the PSYOP community, should develop intelligence
  requirements, task the appropriate collectors (overt, technical, or
  clandestine), and analyze and produce finished intelligence products
  specifically meeting PSYOP needs. The PSYOP community should have
  representation within this DIA element, and DIA must be able to access the
  4th PSYOP Group's research and analysis group. The DIA element should be
  authorized to coordinate fully with the other U.S.  intelligence agencies,
  certain law-enforcement agencies, and U.S. and other allied information
  In addition to proprietary information and classified intelligence, a
  considerable amount of information needed for the development and
  employment of PSYOP products is available via open source acquisition and
  an increasing amount of that information is available on the public
  Internet. The Task Force distinguishes between two kinds of open source
  acquisition activities. The first is simply the use of commercial
  contractors to provide suitable open source products to fit PSYOP needs.
  This would largely be geared to derivative products and non-Internet
  sources. In many cases, there are contractors who already supply a market
  with such information and the costs are merely subscription and licensing
  costs. In other cases, general products could be tailored to special PSYOP
  needs at minor cost. Even in cases where the contractor would be required
  to start from scratch to collect, organize, and synthesize such materials
  for the PSYOP community, the Task Force anticipates that one can negotiate
  favorable terms insofar as the contractor is permitted to re-purpose the
  materials for commercial customers. The second category of open source
  acquisition involves direct online access. A considerable and increasing
  amount of the information needed for the development and dissemination of
  PSYOP products is available on the public Internet. Harvesting that
  information -- often translating it, organizing it, and providing quality
  assurance -- is manpower intensive. And while it can be accessed by any
  individual analyst or tool developer, there are major economies of scale in
  doing it once, centrally and making it available for the community.
  Because the Intelligence Community has declined the opportunity to
  aggressively organize the open source effort, it falls to individual
  organizations, such as the 4th PSYOP Group, to shoulder the burden
  themselves. The Task Force is unanimous in recommending that harvesting
  this information be done just once and well for the PSYOP community and,
  moreover, that it be made broadly available within the Department of
  The Task Force believes that ASD C3I should be charged to either: (a)
  provide resources to the PSYOP community to implement a robust organic
  program of open source acquisition, or (b) task the Intelligence Community
  to fulfill the need for on-the-shelf, worldwide basic information,
  including the media and cultural background information that is necessary
  to adequately inform PSYOP products in a given country.
  The Task Force notes that preliminary forays into the use of the Internet
  as a dissemination medium have been fraught with impediments, which the
  Task Force attributes to immature policy in dealing with the use of a
  medium that knows no national boundaries.
  The Task Force believes, therefore, that OSD should work with the
  Department of State to fund, preposition, exercise, and maintain suitable
  distribution channels and brand identities, as far as can be reasonably
  anticipated for future PSYOP requirements. Policies regarding the use of
  new and emerging transnational media must be developed or refined. The Task
  Force highly recommends a liberal reliance on recognized professionals and
  generous use of highly qualified commercial entities; buying good content
  on which the messages will "ride" is a necessary and desirable expenditure.
  In some cases, the U.S.  Government has unique content that it can make
  It should be understood that the credibility and good will associated with
  a brand identity is capital that is built up over time, and in the actual
  event that capital may have to be depleted. If such good will has to be
  expended in a particular PSYOP, equivalent capacity should be restored at
  the earliest opportunity."


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