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INTELLIGENCE AND RESEARCH
Intelligence and research support PSYOP in a number of crucial ways—from initial planning of a specific PSYOP program to the development of new methodologies for analysis and delivery. This chapter deals with both intelligence and research, the collection of information and its transformation, through research or analysis, into operationally relevant fact.
Intelligence, particularly, is so closely related to the process of effective persuasive communication that separating it from that process for purposes of study is exceedingly difficult. Utilization of intelligence output in some form is bound up in PSYOP planning from its earliest stages and continues to support PSYOP and to be affected by the PSYOP strategy until the process starts over again. Moreover, PSYOP intelligence cannot be neatly separated from other intelligence. Because it must meet both tactical and strategic requirements, specification of even the "essential elements of information” (EEI) overlaps information categories that intelligence is asked to address for other purposes, including politico-military planning and combat operations.
Growth of intelligence capability, particularly in analysis but to some extent collection as well, depends on a number of factors covered elsewhere in this casebook. (See, for example, chapters V and IX.) It also depends upon improvements in techniques resulting from social science research. Once again, in fact, all PSYOP, as all communications, looks to research for conceptual and methodological, as well as technological, innovation.
That intelligence and research are an integral part of PSYOP and central to the entire process, is attested to by the fact that most of the chapters in this casebook involve one or the other, and usually both. Their interrelationship is shown by the importance of the communications concept to the delineation of EEI. Meanwhile, social science research has constantly tried to refine communications models. Refinement supports analysis (Chapter IX), which is central to the processing of intelligence.
The last two decades have seen rapidly increasing social science research on communications. Transferring the results of this research to PSYOP, however, often requires a major effort. Yet, the commitment in the 1960s to utilizing this approach in PSYOP seems to be paying off: PSYOP appears to be on the threshold of important new benefits from the use of computer technology and the findings of communications research.
PSYOP INTELLIGENCE, INTRODUCTION
"A SURVEY OF PSYOP INTELLIGENCE" *
BY PHILLIP P. KATZ
From a PSYOP viewpoint, intelligence is the basis for understanding human actions. PSYOP is dependent on intelligence for the effective management of its programs, for obtaining current information about PSYOP targets, testing or obtaining feedback on message content and format, and measuring the effect of PSYOP messages and programs.
The purpose of this essay is to sharpen the focus of PSYOP essential elements of information (EEI) as related to intelligence requirements. It will emphasize the technical skills and knowledge that are needed to provide the PSYOP community with the answers to the EEI for planning, conducting, and evaluating PSYOP.
To this end, the essay will first discuss the general nature of PSYOP intelligence; second, outline the major focus of the EEI for PSYOP; and third, discuss the three major uses of PSYOP intelligence: target analysis, the testing of communication content, and the measuring of the effect of PSYOP programs.
NATURE OF PSYOP INTELLIGENCE
Since a wide variety of technical data and information is needed to manage, plan, and conduct communication programs effectively, PSYOP is dependent on intelligence for the effective management of its programs. Intelligence, from a PSYOP viewpoint, is the basis for understanding human actions. It involves a thorough understanding of all aspects of the audience of PSYOP targets; the ability to gauge the progress of current programs; and, finally, the capability to determine the overall effect of persuasive communications. Each will be discussed briefly.
First, anyone engaged in communication programs must know certain things about his audience; for example, who they are and how many are reading or viewing his messages. The PSYOP managers, planners, and communication or media programmers should understand the audience as if they were communicating face to face. Certainly, they must have a real understanding of current attitudes on a variety of appropriate subjects, and these attitudes should be considered as ranging, for example, from very hostile, somewhat hostile, neutral to somewhat friendly. On the basis of such knowledge, PSYOP communication programs can then help to:
a. restructure hostile attitudes of selected individuals or groups;
are unstructured and who are deemed "safe" if they remain
*Original essay by Phillip P. Katz.
· It is obvious, however, that without a real understanding and knowledge of current attitudes on a variety of appropriate subjects there is no scientific way of determining whether progress is being made toward restructuring attitudes.
Second, when a PSYOP campaign is in progress it is very important to obtain constant feedback in order to know how it is going and what tactical changes, if any, are required. This requirement is substantial when the full range of communication media and channels is to be used. A careful and honest analysis is necessary in order to determine what messages and channels of communication worked well and why, what the mistakes were, and what can be done to avoid future errors and failures.
Finally, PSYOP intelligence is needed to measure the overall effect of communication on the attitudes and actions of selected targets.
Importance of Systematic Research By building on carefully observed and evaluated experience, costly delays and failures can be avoided. In other words, in developing and implementing PSYOP programs, the first requirement is for a systematic approach. Systematic research is the most efficient way yet found to obtain dependable information about people and their environment.
The PSYOP communicator should be suspicious of the single letter or comment about the quality of a particular item of communication. The difference between the unsystematic gathering of information and research is that research, when properly designed and conducted, usually produces results that can be relied upon, whereas we have little idea how reliable less systematic information is. As Wilbur Schramm states:
The quality of information from and about the audience is of the essence. If it is to be useful, it must be based on facts rather than hunches; it must be adequate to allow for differences among parts of the audience, and for changes with time. This is why it is important that, so far as possible, (the) clear light of research be turned on the informational needs of the audiences.' (Emphasis added.)
MAJOR FOCUS OF ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF INFORMATION FOR PSYOP
Figure 1 depicts a concept model of the PSYOP intelligence process as it is related to program implementation. This dynamic process is based on the EEI.
The focus of EEI for PSYOP programs must be related to the total population base, because, as Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap put it, “That's the basis of our strategy that the Americans fail completely to understand.” 2 Consequently, the EEI for PSYOP are the critical items of information about PSYOP targets (friendly, neutral, hostile) needed by a particular time to relate with other available information and intelligence in order to assist decisionmakers, planners, and media development personnel in implementation of communication (PSYOP) programs. They must include:
1. The definition of key audiences (both friendly and enemy) within
the society 2. The beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and motivations of key audiences
as individuals and groups 3. The analysis of current vulnerabilities of specific audiences within
the society 4. The determination of message content and the most effective
(best) communication channels to reach the target 5. The impact or effect of PSYOP communication Each of these considerations will be discussed below.
Definition of Key Audiences (Friendly and Enemy) Within the Society The need for definitive target selection has been firmly established. Again, it is emphasized that a country struggling for identification and vitally involved in nationbuilding usually does not have a single audience. In fact, in the United States, despite mass media and a highly developed educational system, there are many special groups based on geography, ethnic origin, religion, race, economic status, and social position. Certainly the attitudes of each group will vary on many political, social, and economic subjects. Therefore, it is important to consider the many diverse segments of the population and to aim communication programs to the specific groups and subgroups that one wishes to influence. Accordingly, specificity of target selection becomes an important first step in the development of PSYOP programs, with the intelligence community playing an important role in the selection of remunerative PSYOP targets.
Significant historical evidence shows that definitively and specifically worded communications are usually more effective. Although strategic programs are not concerned with a single hamlet or a small military unit, they should be concerned with significant religious groups, occupational subgroups, and specific military organizations as worthwhile targets. For example, major PSYOP target groups in an insurgency evironment could be:
Host country civilians (friendly-neutral-hostile)
Insurgent military forces One of several further subdivisions of the host country friendly civilian target group could be by rural classification and occupational group, in this way: