Deception:  An Integral Part Of Warfare
AUTHOR Major Jack L. Hughes, USMC
CSC 1990
SUBJECT AREA Foreign Policy
                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Thesis:  The MAGTF commander must actively pursue deception
operations, not only as a force multiplier but also as an
integral part of warfare.
Issue:  Deception as a principle of war has been around since
before the time of Sun Tzu.   As a means of surprise,
deception has not held the U.S. military spotlight, partly
because a successful deception may never be revealed.
Extensive study and analysis of the 1973 Yon Kipper war
resulted in a major restructuring of the U.S Army toward the
Air Land Battle concept.  Such an in-depth study failed to
heed the lesson of deception as a "force multiplier".  The
Egyptians planned and executed a strategic deception on a
scale not seen since World War II, yet its contribution to
their initial success has been largely ignored.
Conclusions:  Deception should be viewed as the perfect
"force multiplier".  It can easily be tailored for the
operation, from one to several hundred men, depending on the
situation.  The payoffs for surprise are almost always high,
it multiplies the chances for quick and decisive military
success.  If the deception is ignored, at least the enemy has
spent his time evaluating the deception, and not planning his
course of action.
Recommendation:  The decision to deceive rests with the MAGTF
Commander and he must employ deception as an integral part of
Thesis:  The MAGTF commander must actively pursue deception
operations, not only as a force multiplier but also as an
integral part of warfare.
I.    History of Deception in Warfare
         A.    Gideon and the Midianites
         B.     Siege of Troy
II.   Military Policies of Deception
         A.    Russia
         B.    U.S.
III.  Elements of Deception
         A.    Categories of Deception
         B.    Principles of Deception
         C.    Means of Deception
         D.    Parts of Deception
IV.   Planning the Deception
         A.    U.S. Army Deception Maximums
         B.    Ten Step Process
      Though fraud in other activities be detestable, in
      the management of war it is laudable and glorious,
      and he who overcomes an enemy by fraud is as much
      to be praised as he who does so by force. (7:XL)
      The use of deception and surprise is as old as warfare
itself.   Concealment and camouflage are the primary methods
used to achieve surprise.   Deception, as a means of surprise,
has not held the limelight of U.S. military study.   Often a
successful deception is never revealed and as such is never
studied.   It also may be that it is so infrequently or
intermittently practiced that it has never gained a firm foot
hold on formal doctrine. (22:3)   In his exhaustive study of
deception in warfare, Stratagem, Barton Whaley could only
find seven exceptions to his generalization that deception
had become a mere staff function in the 20th Century. (22:7)
The MAGTF commander must actively pursue deception
operations, not only as a "force multiplier" but as an
integral part of warfare.
      Deception appears to be one of those techniques of war,
like psychological warfare, that seems fated to cycles of
loss and resurgence despite the fact that they have been
around since the birth of time.   Sun Tzu writes "All warfare
is based on deception!"(12:66)   Writing around 500 B.C., Sun
Tzu was one of the first to envision it as a "principle of
war" but he was not the first to employ it. (12:11)
      Legends, such as stories of Gideon and the Midianites,
and the Trojan Horse, lay testament to practice of deception
since man began waging war. (10:viii)   In 1300 B.C., Gideon,
the wise Judge of the Israelites, is credited with a classic
coup in the annals of military deception when he outwitted
and defeated Israel's ancient foe, the Midianites.   According
to the Old Testament Book of Judges, Gideon ordered a small
band of soldiers to raise such a clatter, by clanging
pitchers and sounding trumpets, that the enemy fled in alarm.
The illusion of a large attacking army had been created.
      In 1200 B.C., the Greeks had besieged the city of Troy
for ten years, attempting to batter down their defenses.   A
Greek warrior named Epeus finally hit upon the scheme of
concealing many soldiers inside a huge horse of wood,
positioning it outside the gates of Troy as a monument to
Athena, and departing by sea.   They even warned the Trojans
not to take it inside their city lest a disaster befall them.
The horse was taken inside the city, the Greek soldiers
emerged, opened the gates for their comrades who had returned
from over the horizon, and Troy fell.
      Doctrine is the bridge between practice and theory.
(22:24)   It might be useful to examine the differences in
military doctrine on deception between the U.S. and the
U.S.S.R.  to see how two countries came away from the same
war, WW II, with different philosophies.
The U.S. definition of "deception" is:
      Those measures designed to mislead the enemy by
      manipulation, distortion, or falsification of
      evidence to induce him to react in a manner
      prejudicial to his interests.(14:105)
The U.S.S.R. defines "deception" as the actual means for
achieving surprise.   The doctrine of "maskirovka" supports
surprise by secretly:
      ...securing military operations and the routine
      activity of troops, and (by) confusing the enemy
      with regard to the presence and position of the
      forces, military complexes, their position, level
      of preparation and activity, as well as the plans
      of the command structure. (9:25)
     The U.S. entered WW II with only limited experience in
deception and was content with allowing the British to plan
and execute the allied deception plans. (22:52)   By 1943,
Admiral Halsey and General MacArthur had re-instituted
deception in the Southwest Pacific Campaign.   After the
successful Bodyguard and Fortitude plans to mask the Normandy
landing (Operation Overlord), JCS became interested and
planned the diversionary actions by Admiral Nimitz in the
Central Pacific theater and Lord Mountbatten in China-Burma
theater to play down MacArthur's invasion of the Philippines.
(22:53)   The U.S. technique of deception emerging from WW II
was to set up one force that could strike in one of several
places to force the enemy to either split his forces or
choose to ignore one of the possible targets. (3:271)
Tactical deception was one of camouflage and concealment,
with concentrated efforts on dummy equipment.
      The Russians had deception as a part of their doctrine
well before WW II, but were caught completely off guard by
the German Invasion in 1941, Operation Barbarossa. (3:217)
The Russians viewed this as a failure on the part of their
commanders to carry out Soviet regulations.   After renewed
emphasis on the regulations, subsequent innovative
implementation of "maskirovka" in WW II proved the Soviets
had mastered the art. (3:244)   The Russian equivalent of
"Overlord" was  Bagration," an successful deception operation
aimed at massing four field armies and a tank army, the
largest groupment of forces in the history of the Patriotic
war, to recover Byelorussia in the summer of 1944. (3:259)
      The Soviet technique is to deploy two or more forces,
and then make the main strike with only one. (3:271)   Tactical
deception is stressed heavily as a commander's responsibility
and relies on dummy equipment, camouflage, and periods of
reduced visibility for implementation. (9:33)
      Both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. have doctrines of continuous
efforts at tactical deception and camouflage, but curiously
enough, both largely confine their efforts in peacetime to
measures that can readily be applied to the training at
hand. (9:34 & 6)   The Soviets have engaged in systematic
strategic deception since 1955, initially to hide their
weaknesses and subsequently to mask their capabilities. (4:90)
      The latest resurgence of deception as a viable part of
the U.S. Army Air Land Battle doctrine appeared around 1985
during Gen. Otis' command of USAREUR. (6)   Oddly enough, most
of the U.S. Marine Corps publications containing references
to deception were being rewritten during that period. (15-
16,l8-21)   The result was the classification of deception as
a "force multiplier" to offset Soviet advantages in military
capabilities. (11:57)   A second, and perhaps more useful,
result is that all the publications agree on terminology and
      Strategic deception is military deception supporting our
national objectives.   It is most often exercised at the
Unified Command or higher level.   Operational deception is
the integration of two or more tactical deceptions to achieve
a common goal.   This level would be exercised at the Joint
Task Force level.   Tactical deception is the physical,
technical, and administrative actions to mislead the enemy
and induce him to act counter to his best interest.   This is
deception at the MEF or ATF levels and below. This is the
aspect with which we should be most familiar.
      It must be understood from the very start at whom the
deception plan is aimed. The enemy commander is the deception
target and the objective is the result desired from the
deception effort.   Initially the deception target is the
enemy's intelligence organization. (3:8)   The intelligence
analysts are the ones seeking and actively collecting
information to discern probable intentions or at least
capabilities.   The secondary target is the enemy commander's
staff, since they are the ones screening information and
advising the commander.   Total deception is a lofty goal;  it
is necessary only to fool some of the staff to adversely
influence the enemy commander.
      Deception is often treated as an isolated event or as a
precursor to the main battle. (22:3)   For example, in JCS Pub
3-02, Joint Doctrine for Amphibious Operations, it discusses
deception in the chapter titled "Preassault Operations".
(15:15-3)   The decision to employ deception as a "force
multiplier" is the Commander's.   It should not be treated
separately from the basic scheme of maneuver, or relegated to
Appendix 7 to Annex C of the Operations Order.
     Several principles contribute to deception.  First, and
perhaps foremost, is security.   Secrecy of both the deception
plan and the real plan is absolutely essential.   General Hans
von Greiffenberg, one of the planners for Operation Barba-
rossa, wrote:  "If the strictest secrecy is not observed, all
deception projects are condemned to failure from the very
start." (3:16)   Deceiving our own troops and subordinate
leaders for the sake of security might be necessary and is a
normal byproduct of deception. (3:l6)   There are two sides to
security in a deception plan.   One side tries to protect the
truth about our intention in an upcoming operation;  i.e., the
location of our main effort in an offensive assault.   The
other side tries to protect the existence of the deception
effort.   Attempting to deny the presence of a deception plan
seems futile, but it is one more way to add to the enemy's
fog of war.   Inadvertent leaks of truthful information are
not fatal to the deception effort.   Just because a piece of
information has been leaked does not guarantee that it will
either be detected or believed.    In Stratagem, Whaley found
that of ten leaks reaching an opponent, where half were true
and half were false, all ten were accepted but four out of
five genuine leaks were discounted as too blatant to be
anything but deliberate leaks. (22:230)   This initial
acceptance of all ten leaks is probably due to the plausi-
bility of the leaked events.
      Plausibility is the second principle of deception.   If
the deception you are trying to portray is not probable, then
you are wasting an enormous effort.   The deception story must
fit within our likely courses of action, as predicted by
their study of our doctrine and tactics in a given situation.
It should be remembered that we are trying to fool him and
his intelligence apparatus, not our own apparatus.   We
routinely exercise against "OPFOR", our own personnel,
attempting to simulate what we perceive as his apparatus.
      Along with plausibility comes the need for credibility
of sources used to feed his intelligence apparatus.   Analysts
routinely rank information according to the reliability of
the source. (3:19)   The deception becomes more plausible when
it has been confirmed by a variety of reliable sources.   This
should be not construed as a requirement to have all the
misinformation absolutely consistent.   The deception will be
far better if some totally erroneous information is also
being fed to their sources.   It should be cautioned that
information too consistent may alert the enemy that he is
being deceived.   If the perceived truth seems to emerge from
many points, some of which are contradictory, then the enemy
is likely to believe he has found the real truth.   As
Churchill stated,  "Truth deserves a bodyguard of lies."
(10:132)   Along the same line of reasoning,  "Deception
requires a bodyguard of truth."
      The third principle of deception is adaptability.   No
matter how elaborate a deception plan you construct, it must
adapt to the changing situation.   "As the truth changes, so
must the deception if the lie is to remain believable."
(4:170)   If the deception plan is not adapted to the changing
situation, the inconsistencies will reveal the deception.
Timely response to these random events make it difficult for
the enemy to believe that he is being deceived.   Sometimes
these events will be small, but once detected they must be
acted on.   The successful German invasion of Russia in 1941,
Operation Barbarossa, was largely due to Hitler not deli-
vering an ultimatum of German demands prior to invading.
(4:171)   The international rumor mill observed Hitler's
action prior to his invading Czechoslovakia and Poland and
had decided that two times-in-a-row constitute an always.
Hitler learned of this conclusion and cleverly adapted his
plan to take advantage of it.
      Although international rumor worked for Hitler, accurate
intelligence of what the enemy intends to do and how he is
reacting to the deception is paramount. (3:21)   It is this
intelligence feedback that allows a deception plan to be
tailored to the changing situation. The effort may be
stopped to protect valuable resources if either the deception
isn't working or has been discovered.   The requirement for
feedback presents the deceiver with the same dilemma as the
enemy;  is this information reliable? (3:21)   Has the enemy
discovered my deception and am I now the target of a counter-
deception?  LtGen Trainor said it quite succinctly,  "He who
deceives is eager for the success of his deception. . .that
makes him vulnerable." (11:60)
      The fourth principle of deception is integration.   The
deception effort has to be integrated at all levels and with
all means.   Integration, of both the deception means and the
collection means, is necessary to carry out a successful
deception.   This implies a centralized effort.   Review of any
of the deception references will either state it outright or
conclude it from case studies. (1-22)   The reason is twofold.
First is the need to commit limited resources to the
deception effort.   These are usually centrally managed.
Second is the need to maintain secrecy of what we are
revealing and what we are hiding.   The MAGTF Commander is the
only one that can make these decisions within the framework
of his overall plan.
      The MAGTF Commander is using deception as a "force
multiplier" against his opponent commander.   Deception can
cause the enemy to make mistakes.   Three types of deception
are used to mislead or confuse an enemy on two basic
questions:   What are my intentions and what are my
      One type of deception attempts to misdirect the enemy's
attention, causing him to concentrate his forces in the wrong
place.   In this type, the Commander is trying to get the
enemy to violate Clausewitz' principle of "concentration of
forces." (4:125)   Another type attempts to cause the enemy to
waste his limited resources on non-existent targets.   This is
a violation of Clausewitz' principle of  economy of
force." (4:125)   The third type of deception attempts to
surprise the enemy, it is often a combination of the first
two types.   Its purpose is to create a situation that will
later catch the enemy off-guard.   This is a result of a
varied and continuous effort to create the impression that
all is normal.   A good example of this is Egypt's deception
effort prior to their attack in the Yon Kipper War of
1973. (3:323)
      Every deception effort is comprised of only two basic
parts: hiding the real and revealing the false. (4-183 & 11-
60)   Hiding the real is called dissimulation.   It is the
covert part, that which is concealed from the enemy.
Revealing the false is called simulation.   It is the overt
part, that which is falsely revealed to the enemy as truth.
Dissimulation and simulation are always present together in
any act of deception. (4:183)
      The three procedures to hide the real are:   masking,
repackaging, and dazzling. (4:183)   Masking hides the real by
shielding it from the enemy's sensors.   Operationally, this
translates into camouflage, concealing features or matching
them to surrounding characteristics.   This method is most
familiar to the military and is heavily used at the tactical
level.   Repackaging hides the real by disguising.   It is done
by adding or subtracting characteristics for transformation
to a new object.   Changing the numbers on ships is an easy
example.   Dazzling hides the real by confusing.   It is done
by partially obscuring an object or event to blur its
distinctive pattern.   Encrypted radio traffic and military
codes are simple forms of dazzling.
      The three procedures to reveal the false are mimicking,
inventing, and decoying. (4:185)   Mimicking reveals the false
by imitating another real object.   Operationally, it is done
by copying one or more distinctive characteristics of the
object being imitated.   Inventing reveals the false by
displaying another reality.   Unlike mimicking, which imitates
a real object, inventing creates something new by displaying
one or more characteristics.   Decoying is revealing the false
by diverting attention.   Misleading and distracting the enemy
are the objects of the its feints and diversions.   It is done
by creating an alternate false pattern more acceptable than
the real.
      During the U.S. Army's revitalized efforts for battle-
field deception, ten rules of conduct were deduced from game
theory, history, and deception writings. (6&13)   These ten
maxims provide a good basis for planning a deception.
The maxims are:
      1.   Reinforce his beliefs  (Magruder's Principle)-It
      is generally easier to induce a target to maintain
      an existing belief than to entice him to change his
      2.   Target his mind--There are limitations to human
      information processing that are deceptively
      3.   Use multiple forms of surprise-- Surprise can
      be achieved in the following categories:   size,
      activity, location, unit, time, equipment-(SALUTE)
      intent, and style.
      4.   Feed all the enemy's sources  (Jones' Dilemma)--
      Deception becomes more difficult as the number of
      sources available to confirm the real increases.
      5.   Create Noise only for a purpose--Too much
      erroneous information can obscure the deception
      6.   Use deception selectively--It may be wise to
      withhold the employment of deception capabilities
      until the stakes are high.
      7.   Deception is continuous--Deception activities
      should be sequenced to portray the deception for as
      long as possible.
      8.   Feedback is a must--An intelligence collection
      scheme should be employed to determined if the
      deception is being adopted, rejected, or countered.
      9.   Focus on the enemy's action (The Monkey's Paw)-
      Deception efforts may produce unwanted actions from
      the enemy and friendly units.
      10.   Don't make it easy for him--If the target's
      intelligence collection system has to work for the
      indicators, the greater the chance he'll believe
      them. (6 & 13)
      The actual process in planning the deception is not well
understood, nor is it an isolated event.   The process of
deception can be broken down into ten steps.
      First, the Commander must define his goals.   This may be
to achieve a surprise invasion, or simply to insert and
retrieve a reconnaissance party from a hostile country with
limited casualties.   These goals define the limits of the
deception.   Second, the Commander must decide how he wants
the enemy to react.   The question is:   "What do you want him
to do?", and never "What do you want him to think?"
      Third, only now can the Commander, by himself, decide
what he wants the enemy to think about the facts or impending
event; exactly what is it you want the enemy to perceive?
Fourth,   what is to be hidden about the facts or events and
what is to be shown in their place.   He should remember that
hiding and showing take place simultaneously; or else the
absence of one reveals the presence of the other.
      Fifth, the Commander must analyze the pattern of the
real thing to identify its distinguishing characteristics.
Specifically, which characteristics must be deleted or added
to show a different pattern to suitably mask, repackage or
dazzle.   Sixth, he does the same analysis for the false thing
to be shown in place of the real.   Seventh, at this point,
the Commander has designed a desired effect together with its
hidden method.   The means to present the effect to the enemy
is now explored.   This may be limited to assets on hand.
This may require a return to step four.
      Eighth, the planning phase is over and the operational
phase begins.   The Commander has to turn the plan over to the
operational units to "sell" the package.   This is not to say
that everyone can be told of the deception, just the ones
actually conducting the deception.   Ninth, the false
information has to be delivered to the enemy's sensors.   It
must reach the sensors the enemy is using;  it doesn't do any
good to present a false picture to a blind enemy.
      Tenth, and last, for the deception to succeed, the enemy
must "buy" the effect, not perceiving it as an illusion.   The
deception will fail at this point if the enemy ignores it,
detects its method, or misconstrues its intended meaning.
Conversely, the enemy will:
      *take notice, if the effect is designed to attract
      his attention
      *find it relevant, if the effect can hold his
      *perceive the false, if the presented patterns
       match his experience
      *ignore the real, if the real patterns are hidden
       from his sensors
Effective deception planning must anticipate all four of
these contingencies.   The wise Commander seeks feedback,
monitoring the enemy's responses to assure that these last
four contingencies are being met.
      Deception should be viewed as the perfect "force
multiplier".   It can easily tailored for the operation, from
one man to several hundred depending on the situation.   The
payoffs for surprise are almost always high, it multiplies
the chances for quick and decisive military success.   In his
study of deception operations, Stratagem, Whaley found a
successful deception has at least an 80% chance of yielding
surprise. (22:234)   Deception can also induce the enemy to
divide his assets, thus making him less capable.   If the
enemy ignores or misinterprets the deception, the MAGTF
Commander is no worse off.   At the very least, the enemy has
spent time evaluating the deception, and not planning his
course of action.
      The military methods of planning deception operations
are well documented in various publications. (13-16 & 18-21)
The ten steps previously outlined lay out a simple method for
the Commander to formulate and execute his deception plan.
The decision to deceive always resides with the Commander.
The MAGTF Commander must actively pursue deception operations
as an integral part of warfare.   Warfare today is no
different today than in 500 B.C. when Sun Tzu wrote:
      All warfare is based on deception.   Therefore, when
      capable, feign incapacity; when active, inactivity.
      When near, make it appear that you are far away;
      when far away, that you are near.   Offer the enemy
      a bait to lure him;  feign disorder and strike him.
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