U.S. Military Information Operations in Afghanistan: Effectiveness of Psychological Operations 2001-2010

By Arturo Munoz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Methodology for Assessing the Effectiveness of
U.S. Military Psychological Operations
This monograph tracks the implementation of PSYOP in Afghanistan from late 2001 to 2010. It is an inexact undertaking. Tracking the evolution of specific campaigns in Afghanistan is difficult because there is no central repository of data, neither in the United States nor in Afghanistan, concerning themes and messages disseminated or specific operations and their impact on target audiences. Moreover, IO and PSYOP in Afghanistan have been characterized by a high degree of variation between the different components operating in theater, including special-forces teams in the field, regional commands (RCs), task forces, and the ISAF headquarters in Kabul. What might be an accurate observation for RC East might not apply to RC South. No one has compiled a comprehensive record of all these decentralized PSYOP campaigns. In an effort to protect local collaborators from reprisals and minimize the USMIL public “footprint,” PSYOP activities increasingly are classified, which further impedes accurate comparisons of past and present practices.To assess PSYOP effectiveness, three basic considerations were taken into account, according to the following criteria:
credibility: This has two major facets: (1) how believable or reasonable the message content is to the target audience and (2) how credible the messenger or means of dissemination is.
appropriate cultural, social, political, or religious context: This means avoiding the common mistake of mirror imaging—that is, presenting propaganda within a U.S. frame of reference, not that

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