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Military

TACTICAL USE OF PSYOP


VIGNETTE

At H-Hour, 1-508th Abn had the mission of securing Ft. Amador, an installation shared by the U.S. and PDF. Because of the need for OPSEC, American dependents could not be evacuated in advance of the attack. This complication, and ROE that called for minimizing enemy casualties and physical damage, made PSYOP loudspeaker teams, from the 1st Bn, 4th PSYOP Gp, a key asset. The battalion sealed off the PDF portion of Ft. Amador and ensured that all noncombatants were safe. After daylight, the task force set about systematically securing the area. When initial appeals failed to persuade the PDF to surrender, the commander modified the broadcasts. The holdouts were warned that resistance was hopeless in the face of overwhelming firepower and a series of demonstrations took place, escalating from small arms to 105mm howitzer rounds. Subsequent broadcasts convinced the PDF to give up. The entire process allowed Ft. Amador to be secured with few casualties and minimal damage.

KEY POINTS

PSYOP were an integral part of JUST CAUSE. The loudspeaker teams deployed with conventional units proved effective in reducing resistance and controlling the local populace. Integration of major themes below joint task force (JTF) level was slow at first, but picked up momentum as programs like "money for weapons" began impacting directly on tactical units.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • Use PSYOP loudspeaker teams to encourage enemy to surrender before assaulting and to control flow of refugees by broadcasting the directions to the collection points.

  • Ensure the speakers of the loudspeaker teams can be heard by the enemy.

  • Commanders should personally prepare messages used by PSYOP loudspeaker teams to encourage enemy to surrender. Aspects of local culture must be considered.

  • Plan to use pre-printed leaflets to augment efforts of loudspeaker teams in controlling flow of refugees.

  • Ensure all soldiers understand the PSYOP theme so their conduct will complement the theme .

Table of Contents, Volume II
Civil Affairs (CA)
Civil Military Operations by Combat Units



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