Army Drops 'Psy Ops' Name For Influence Operations
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: July 12th, 2010
The Army has dropped the Vietnam-era name "psychological operations" for its branch in charge of trying to change minds behind enemy lines, acknowledging the term can sound ominous. The Defense Department picked a more neutral moniker: "Military Information Support Operations," or MISO. Fort Bragg is home to the 4th Psychological Operations Group, the Army's only active duty psychological operations unit. Psychological operations soldiers are trained at the post. The change was driven from the top, by Pentagon policymakers working for Defense Secretary Robert Gates. It reflects unease with the Cold War echoes of the old terminology, and the implication that the work involved subterfuge. Psychological operations have been cast as spooky in movies and books over the years portraying the soldiers as master manipulators. The 2009 movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats," staring George Clooney, was about an army unit that trains psychic spies, based on Jon Ronson's nonfiction account of the U.S. military's hush-hush research into psychic warfare and espionage.
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