Psychological Operations Soldiers use persuasion
to influence perceptions and encourage desired behavior. The
cornerstone of PSYOP 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 PSYOP 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.
Psychological Operations 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.
Psychological Operations are 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 U.S. military Psychological Operations
is to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly governments,
forces and populations to take actions favorable to the United States and its
Psychological Operations support national objectives at the tactical, operational and strategic levels
Strategic psychological operations advance broad or
long-term objectives; global in nature, they may be directed
toward large audiences or at key communicators. Operational psychological operations are 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 psychological operations are 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 Psychological operations
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,
Operations provides interagency support. In operations ranging from humanitarian
assistance to drug interdiction, Psychological Operations
support the missions of those agencies. Their
activities can be used to disseminate information about ongoing
programs and to gain support from the local populace.
Psychological Operations units of the
U.S. Army are culturally oriented, linguistically capable.