are a vital part of the broad range of U.S. political, military, economic,
and ideological activities used by the U.S. government to secure national
objectives. PSYOP is the dissemination of truthful information to
foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives.
Used during peacetime, contingencies, and declared war, these activities
are not a form of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent
means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than compelling
physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire or other mental factors to
promote specific emotions, attitudes or behaviors. The ultimate objective
of U.S. military psychological operations is to convince enemy, neutral,
and friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the United
States and its allies.
Psychological operations support national security objectives at the tactical,
operational and strategic levels of operations.
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
Both tactical and theater-level psychological operations may be used to
enhance peacetime military activities of conventional and special operations
forces operating in foreign countries. Cultural awareness packages
attune U.S. forces before departing overseas. In theater, media programs
publicize the positive aspects of combined military exercises and deployments.
In addition to supporting commanders, psychological operations provide
interagency support to other U.S. government agencies. In operations ranging
from humanitarian assistance to drug interdiction, psychological operations
enhance the impact of actions taken by those agencies. Their activities
can be used to spread information about ongoing programs and to gain support
from the local populace.
units of the U.S. Army are language and culturally oriented. The 4th Psychological
Operations Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., the only active Army
psychological operations unit, constitutes 26 percent of all U.S. Army
psychological operations units. The remaining 74 percent, split between
the 2nd and 7th Psychological Operations Groups, are in the Army Reserve.
Source: U.S. Army Special Operations Command