NATO and Strategic PSYOPS: Policy Pariah or Growth Industry?

ABSTRACT

In the aftermath of 9/11, among many other changes to its defense establishment, the United States has undertaken a significant re-vamping of its strategic psychological operations (PSYOPS) structure and capabilities.xxxviii Similarly, NATO must now determine if it can adapt and face the realities of the modern security environment -- where current and potential threats to peace will confront NATO through asymmetric means rather than through the use of conventional military forces. Of particular interest in this study, are unconventional attempts to confront NATO via aggressive regional and international perception manipulation.

Presently, NATO is restrained by a restrictive policy that prohibits NATO from conducting any perception management activities, which may involve military personnel, above the level of the local military commander. Attempts to operate in this hamstrung manner exposes a tremendous weakness in NATO's political and military capabilities, as amply demonstrated during Operation ALLIED FORCE. This paper examines the current NATO PSYOPS policy, reasons why NATO should make changes, how NATO fared in Operation ALLIED EFFORT in its PSYOPS campaign, and recommendations what changes should be made.


AUTHORS

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Collins, United States Army, currently is assigned to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. He previously served at Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, where his responsibilities include Psychological Operations requirements and capabilities and determining future Psychological Operations force structure for the command.

A career officer, he has held a variety of command and staff positions as an infantry officer and psychological operations officer in the United States and Europe. He has also served as an Assistant Professor in the European History Department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He has written and lectured widely on the impact of Perception Management and Information Operations in current and future military environments. His most recent article on Army Psychological Operations in Bosnia was published in Parameters. Lieutenant Colonel Collins is a graduate of West Point and holds a graduate degree in History from Yale University.

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Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

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