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Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 8, 2014 4:21 pm

@TD – would civilians want to be that integrated…isn’t there an issue about their safety and security in conflict zones if they are seen as an adjunct to HMAF?

GNB

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
November 8, 2014 5:10 pm

“We might also compare the 300 in the SAG to the number of horses in the British Army…”

Sigh. I care not about the Security Assistance Group. I do care about the national role played by HCMR and KTRHA which is a million times more important than this.

I am surprised though at how few personnel are in the SAG and am I right in saying that it is a 1 star brigadiers command? For 300 personnel?

Jeneral28
Jeneral28
November 8, 2014 6:27 pm

“I care not about the SAG”

Then what? Afghanistan was about winning a fight? There was never a victory there.

Perhaps you don’t care about USAID-partnering with Africom?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
November 8, 2014 8:31 pm

Jeneral28

“Perhaps you don’t care about USAID-partnering with Africom?”

Irrelevant. You may as well ask if I care for the price of Peaches! I was referring to TD’s comment on the Household divisions ceremonial role with whatever number of Horses, which TD compared SAG’s lack of personnel to in a similar way that Danny Alexander compared the Household Divisions Horses to the number of Challenger 2 tanks, then having “put it out there ” left it at that, to which a Monarchist like myself is drawn like moths to a Candle to reply to. Nothing more.

I care about the British armed forces ability to win battles. On your comment on Afghanistan, you cannot change a people who’s culture consists of tribal warfare, who’s country was occupied and who will go back to same as soon as the West pulls out. The Soviets could not do it either. I never said there was a victory.

That SAG may well have a useful role in soft power and winning hearts and minds is all well and good. I just don’t want HMG to get so hung up on it they forget what HM forces are primarily there for.

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 9, 2014 1:58 am

I’d suggest the horses of the public duties units are far better value for money to the British public than a half-arsed propaganda unit.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 9, 2014 2:03 am

‘Obsvr

“half arsed propaganda unit”

Your ignorance of anything outside your little world of basic gunnery never fails to amaze.

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 9, 2014 3:37 am

Not having been brainwashed, I know exactly what a unit, whose key elements are media operations and pysops, is. The role is propaganda and it will be half-arsed. It’s not a novel concept.

Note – my knowledge of gunnery is stratospheric compared to most.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 9, 2014 3:42 am

You continue to strike me as a gobby junior officer with very little knowledge, some of your comments are hilarious/ If you had operated out your comfort zone and seen the affect or been senior enough to help shape the message you would mouth off far less.

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 9, 2014 7:40 am

While PsyOps units may be novel in the Brit forces I first came across one several decades ago, in an operational theatre. It didn’t work notably well there, perhaps because the people assigned to it were not entirely suitable. The Brit Army will be no different, even if it is predominantly TA. MoD can use whatever fancy terms they want but the bottom line is it’s a propaganda unit. I reckon adding men and horses to the HCMR would be better value for public money.

The most effective form of media ops is talking to journos in the pub, worked pretty well in Belfast or over a brew in the field on more conventional ops.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 9, 2014 9:00 am

Interesting set up, is there any info on the make up of the Military Stabilisation Support Group?

Any one know if there are or plans for linguists and cultural experts in the Psychological Operations Group?
Or do we draw these from whoever as and when? the FO are pretty bereft of such people at the moment are there any in DFiD? I think one big lesson to be drawn from Afghan is that you need to know the culture and politics before bumbling in, regardless of how good your intentions are.

WiseApe
November 9, 2014 10:26 am

Isn’t most propaganda actually aimed at the home front?

TAS
TAS
November 9, 2014 9:10 pm

Seems to me that 15 POG has succeeded wonderfully in convincing some of you of their unimportance.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
November 9, 2014 9:42 pm

Wise Ape

Good comment.

Jed
Jed
November 10, 2014 2:24 am

Obsvr as an ex member of 15 Psyops I would just like to say your ignorance is fecking outstanding mate !

If it’s up to 50 it’s bigger than when I left.

Oh and and everyone, just go do a little Google action – Propaganda is a distinct and seperate “discipline” from military psychological operations it’s really not a difficult concept to grasp.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 10, 2014 6:26 am

Jed’s correction noted, but a quote already came to my mind

“When we start to believe our own propaganda, it is the first step to failure”

If I sometimes appear a bit sharp in my criticism, it is only a counter to such BS… Widely believed & readily repeated.

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 10, 2014 7:34 am

Give it a fancy name, try to make the product more targeted but propaganda is still propaganda. Call a spade a spade, giving it a fancy name doesn’t alter the beast. As I said I first came across such a unit in an operational theatre years back, 43 to be precise. Wasn’t successful there and I’m not even sure that the art work improved much but no doubt it was more culturally sensitive.

Jed
Jed
November 10, 2014 6:54 pm

Oy vay – Propaganda is almost by definition, unsubstantiated bullshit meant to brow beat or maybe bambuzzle the opositions civil population, or ineed your own.

An example of propaganda is the constant Argentine reports of the sinking of RN carriers in the south Atlantic during the Falklands. It was meant to make their population (military and civilian) feel good, and make ours feel bad.

Psyops is the art and science of getting someone to do what you want, without actually killing them. An example would dropping leaflets on Iraqi positions in GW1 saying “we are coming back tomorrow, and dropping bombs not leaflets, so you better not be here” – and the whole point is, you better come back tomorrow and bomb that position, because as soon as you start lying or using untruths (“black” psyops) your on dodgy ground as you will be found out.

So really, if “propaganda is still propaganda. Call a spade a spade, giving it a fancy name doesn’t alter the beast” is the best you can do, then I am not going to waste my time developing a psyops plan to alter your perceptions and make you think differently – after all, sometimes even in the day and age of effects based targetting, you still have to go kinetic…..

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 11, 2014 8:52 am

Dear boy(?), I think ’tis you that doesn’t know the definition.

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (5th Edition), 2002 –

Propaganda
“The systematic dissemination of doctrine, rumour or selected information to propagate or promote a particular doctrine, view, practice, etc.; ideas, information, etc., disseminated thus”

I’ve even copied the punctuation exactly. Clearly your education is a tad deficient.

a
a
November 11, 2014 2:38 pm

Yeah, propaganda doesn’t have to be untrue at all. Historically it’s been divided into white, grey and black, depending on how obvious its origin is. White propaganda would be a government press release. Grey doesn’t have a clear origin (like a rumour, or a blog comment!) and black pretends to be from a different source. But they can all be factually accurate. You could have black propaganda that was a mocked-up German radio news story reporting (accurately) a German military defeat.

Propaganda could be one of the functions of a military psyops/media ops unit, in fact it’s very likely to be. The “lines to take” on talking to the media are the output of media ops/psyops, but they’re also propaganda – they’re the message that you want to get across to the enemy and the civpop in order to shape their behaviour.

Jed
Jed
November 12, 2014 2:32 pm

Right back at you Obsvr old chap:

Propaganda
“The systematic dissemination of doctrine, rumour or selected information to propagate or promote a particular doctrine, view, practice, etc.; ideas, information, etc., disseminated thus”.

Psychological Operations
Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator’s objectives” U.S. DoD definition.

They are not identical definitions are they ? If you look up the wikipedia page for Psyops it does indeed mention propaganda – however instead of a war of definitions, take it from an ex-practitioner that what the output of 15 POG is, is not considered propaganda.

a- you are of course correct, and yes, the black – grey – white scale is used in Psyops too.

Kevin R.C. O'Brien
Kevin R.C. O'Brien
November 13, 2014 4:32 am

This sounds similar to the Foreign Internal Defense capability that the US has long had in its special operations forces, particularly in Army Special Forces and in one element of USAF SOF. It’s just small, but that’s OK; Britain managed FID support of her former colonies, for example, very well using general purpose forces and academically and culturally inclined officers and diplomats.

The idea is to find the inflection points where a situation developing towards war (international or civil) can be sidetracked into a nonviolent solution. It sounds very touchy-feely but can potentially work; the US Institute for Peace has a conflict analysis web course that’s got a small following in US SF. I dunno if a Briton or other friendly foreign national can register for it, but don’t see why not. It uses case studies (when I did it they were Bosnia and Rwanda, but perhaps they’ve been updated since).

Some of the segments of the course were very practical, some were mired in theory or kumbayah-singing unrealism, but on the whole it was better than I expected. I started it as a joke, because I knew the diploma would look funny next to all the warlike ones, but I got a lot out of it.

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 13, 2014 9:18 am

US DOD definition is typically verbose and studiously avoiding the P word. Some might call that political correctness!

My favourite US authored document (ACE Directive 80-60) included in an early page an exhortation about clear and simple writing. On the next page was a 70 word sentence!