Psychological Operations in Support of Internal Defense Programs (1968)
PSYOP convey messages via visual, audio, and audiovisual mediums. Military psychological operations, at the tactical level, are usually delivered by loudspeaker. For more deliberate campaigns, they may use leaflets, radio or television. Strategic operations may use radio or television broadcasts, various publications, airdropped leaflets, or, as part of a covert operation, with material placed in foreign news media.
The bulk of US military psychological units are in the Army. White psyop can come from the Voice of America or regional radio/TV. Central Intelligence Agency units are apt to have responsibility, on a strategic level, for black and some gray propaganda. White propaganda, especially at the strategic level, comes from the Voice of America or United States Information Agency.
In the United States Department of Defense, Psychological Operations units exist as the Army's 4th Psychological Operations Group and Air Force with COMMANDO SOLO units under the Air Force Special Operations Command's 193rd Special Operations Wing. The United States Navy also plans and executes limited PSYOP missions.
United States PSYOP units and soldiers of all branches of the military are prohibited by law from conducting PSYOP missions on domestic audiences. While PSYOP soldiers may offer non-PSYOP related support to domestic military missions, PSYOP can only target foreign audiences. Though, it is worth noting that this does not rule out PSYOP targeting foreign audiences of allied nations. Additionally, in the Information Operations Roadmap made public January 2006 but originally approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003, it stated "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa."
Until recently, the Army's Psychological Operations elements were administratively organized alongside Civil Affairs to form the US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC), forming a part of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). However, in May 2006 USCAPOC was reorganized to instead fall under the Army reserve command, and all active duty PSYOP elements were placed directly into USASOC. While reserve PSYOP forces no longer belong to USASOC, that command retains control of PSYOP doctrine. Operationally, PSYOP individuals and organizations support Army and Joint maneuver forces or interagency organizations.
Army Psychological Operations support operations ranging from strategic planning down to tactical employment.
PSYOP Support Elements generally support Corps sized elements. Tactical Psychological Operations Companies typically support Division sized elements, with Tactical Control through G-3. Brigades are typically supported by a Tactical PSYOP Detachment. The PSYOP Commander maintains Operational Control of PSYOP elements, advises the Commander and General Staff on the psychological battlespace.
The smallest organizational PSYOP element is the Tactical PSYOP Team (TPT). A TPT generally consists of a PSYOP team chief (Staff Sergeant or Sergeant), an assistant team chief (Sergeant or Specialist), and an additional soldier to serve as a gunner and to operate the speaker system (Specialist). A team is equipped with a Humvee fitted with a loud speaker, and often works with a local translator indigenous to the host or occupied country.
Generally, each maneuver battalion-sized element in a theater of war or operational area has at least one TPT attached to it. Women are not allowed to serve on TPTs in a war zone due to a PSYOP team's high chance of contact with the enemy.
PSYOP soldiers are required to complete nine weeks of Basic Combat Training. After basic training (BCT), the active duty-component PSYOP soldier is then required to attend Airborne training. All enlisted PSYOP soldiers report to Fort Bragg to complete the 13-week Psychological Operation Advanced Individual Training (AIT) course. Sometime after initial training, PSYOP soldiers will spend up to a year (or perhaps more for specific languages) in foreign language qualification training. Certain reserve soldiers serving in units designated as Airborne are also required to attend Airborne training, while language training and Airborne qualification for PSYOP soldiers assigned to non-Airborne units is awarded on a merit and need basis.
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