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Psychological Warfare in the United States Military

Psychological Warfare in the United States military
The use of psychology in war is as old as war itself.In ancient Greece, Thermistocles sent his men ashore to carve messages urging the Ionians not to fight against the Athenians (Pease 3).Known as psychological warfare, it is the attempt by one nation to gain an advantage over another by exploiting fear, mistrust, suspicion, rumor, prejudice, and uncertainty to influence international opinion and/or the frame of mind of the opposing soldiers.Psychological warfare is designed to affect the enemy's mind, influencing him to take an action, even against his conscious will, favorable to his opponent (Pease xiii).The United States government employs psychological warfare, known as Psychological Operations (PSYOP), to secure national objectives in times of conflict as well as peace.They are a vital part of the broad range of U.S. political, military, economic, and ideological activities.The ultimate objective ofUnited States military psychological operations is to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces to take actions favorable to the United States and its interests.This is accomplished, with varied effectiveness, through several methods and techniques, both on the strategic and tactical levels (Payne).Psychological warfare is also utilized by the United States on civilians and the general population of liberated territories.This branch of psychological operations is known as consolidation (Pease 9).
Strategic, Tactical, and Consolidation Psychological Operations
On the strategic level, psychological operations are utilized to accomplish long-term objectives.Employed on a global scale, strategic psychological operations are directed at a much wider audience, or a few "key communicators (Hunter)."Strategic operations may also be used on a somewhat smaller scale, known as the operational scale.Here, psychological operations are …

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