Influence, Behaviour, PsyOps, Media Ops, etc.... New Forum Required?

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by BuggerAll, Feb 2, 2012.

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  1. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Having recently read Behavioural Conflict and been struck by their conclusion that we don't take Influence nearly seriously enough I wonder if ARRSE could take a lead and have a Forum devoted to the Dark Arts of Influence, PsyOps, MediaOps, Target Audience Analysis, Behavioral Change, Cultural Advisors and so on.
  2. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    I believe AMMM is free to moderate it...

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  3. Can you join the forum if you don't think their conclusions are valid or true?

    I think we take Influence very seriously, can do it well, but we are appalling at planning it in!
  4. That's because a nifty Influence plan, well executed, won't win you a DSO.....

    edit - and no, it shouldn't have a forum of it's own, we need to it to come to the main-stream, not an adjunct to killing people. In fact, everything we do has Influence, it's a question of what the action is to achieve that Influence.
  5. To be honest, are all effects-based military operations not influencing operations?

    Given that most battles are won when one side decides it's time to call it quits, I think it's fair to say that influencing can be done with cold steel and high explosive, or with pysops/media et al. It just takes a little more thought to extend this across the spectrum of conflict, and to realise that most conflicts (or peaces?) are exercises in politics, in which one side bends to the will of the other.
  6. I didn't think we did EBO anymore, replaced by Campaigning?

  7. I'm afraid I find those two statements mutually exclusive. If we took influence seriously we would have viable, solid career paths for soldiers and officers working in that field. We'd also have a proven track record in planning, executing and debriefing such ops. I see none of that, and indeed what I do see leads me to exactly the opposite conclusion. I would also put forward the view that an unbiased review of our performance shows that we are very, very far from doing it well today.

    What we do have is a senior cadre of leaders that are adept at pushing the latest buzzword into everything they do without understanding it so as to tick the relevant career boxes. There is an unwillingness or inability to actually change anything other than the buzzword du jour. Of course, as the Army has not changed in any meaningful way to better fight current conflicts departing from the norm is career suicide. Career before victory, that is the Army ethos as understood by an awful lot of politicians today. There are more reasons than just money that the Reserves are growing and the Regulars shrinking. It's also why - as well as money of course - I don't see the TA becoming more like the USNG.

    Add to that the attitude that if someone expends a large amount of visible effort on something then the results must be good - a remarkably Marxist theory of value to find in the Army - and we see a fully buzzword compliant self-licking lollipop while, largely ignored, both politicians and the public look on current ops as a waste of blood and treasure and welcome recent moves to bug out of AFG sooner rather than later.
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  8. There are couple of interesting articles in the latest BAR (Autumn 2011) on this very subject, plus a repost to 'Killing your way to Control' by the lead author of AFM Vol Part 10, COIN.