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Allied Joint Doctrine For Psychological Operations AJP-3.10.1(A)
The purpose of Allied Joint Publication (AJP)-3.10.1 Allied Joint Doctrine for Psychological Operations is to address the planning and conduct of military PSYOPS in support of NATO activities. PSYOPS, as one of the key contributors to most information operations (INFO OPS) activities, will achieve their greatest effect when coordinated within the larger INFO OPS plan and supporting a much broader information strategy. The new construct of INFO OPS is focused on affecting will, understanding, and capability through the three activities of influence, counter-command, and information protection. It must be noted that PSYOPS has influence activity as its mission; and by influencing target audiences (TA) directly, PSYOPS, in turn, has indirect effects on understanding and capability.
0104. The psychological dimension of conflict is as important as the physical. Conflict is a struggle of wills, that takes place in people’s minds as well as on the battlefield. The attitudes and behaviour of people (friend, foe and the undecided or uncommitted) may be central to determining the outcome of conflict and the nature of the post-conflict environment. Therefore it is necessary to understand the motivation of various target audiences — leaders, military forces, populations — in order to shape their perceptions, affect their will and to persuade them to accept the outcome desired by NATO. The employment of any element of power projection, particularly the military element, has always had a psychological dimension. PSYOPS, as a key element of most INFO OPS activity, are a vital part of the broad range of NATO diplomatic, military, economic, and informational activities.
0105. PSYOPS are enhanced by the expansion of mass communication capabilities. NATO may multiply the effects of its military capabilities by communicating directly to its intended targets. The effectiveness of this communication depends on the perception of the communicator’s credibility and capability to carry out promises or threatened actions in a manner that will be significant to the cultural norms and attitude of the individuals targeted. The employment of any NATO element has a psychological dimension. Perceptions of NATO capabilities are fundamental to strategic deterrence. The effectiveness of deterrence and other strategic concepts hinges on the ability to influence the perceptions of others. It is important not to confuse psychological impact of military operations with planned psychological operations, although the two can be mutually supporting and should be anticipated and coordinated.
0106. PSYOPS constitute a planned process of conveying messages to selected groups, known as target audiences, to promote particular themes that result in desired attitudes and behaviour that affect the achievement of political and military objectives. A target audience is defined by NATO as “an individual or group selected for influence or attack by means of psychological operations” (AAP-6). Given the potential benefit of PSYOPS as an effective force multiplier and combat reducer, commanders at all levels should always consider its use in support of their military aims and objectives. The three basic aims of PSYOPS are to:
- a. Weaken the will of the adversary or potentially adversary target audiences.
- b. Reinforce the commitment of friendly target audiences.
- c. Gain the support and cooperation of uncommitted or undecided audiences.
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