Psychological operations

Psychological Operations or PSYOP or PSYOPS are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to specific foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator's objectives.

This concept has especially been used by military institutions throughout the 20th century.

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US Army PSYOP Branch Insignia (Enlisted) and Reg. Crest

In the United States Department of Defense Psychological Operations exists in the Army, and Marine Corps and certain elements of the Air Force. The Army's Psychological Operations elements are organized within the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) along side Civil Affairs to form the US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) in both Active Duty and Army Reserve units.

The Air Force runs a specific set of operations for Psychological Operations using a modified C-130 Hercules aircraft named Commando Solo. The purpose of Commando Solo is to provide an aerial platform for broadcast media on both television and radio. The media broadcast is created by various agencies and organizations.

Another one of the many facets of PSYOP is the TPT (Tactical PSYOP Team). A TPT generally consists of a team leader (Staff Sergeant or Sergeant), a assistant team leader (Sergeant or Specialist), and an additional soldier (Specialist). A team possesses a hummer equipped with a loud speaker and occasionally a local translator indigenous to the host or occupied country. Generally each battallion sized element in a theater of war has at least one (occasionally more) TPT attached to it. While women are allowed to hold the psychological operations specialty in the army, they are not allowed to serve on TPTs in a war zone due to the high level of contact with the enemy a TPT will have to confront.

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US Army PSYOP Team, Humvee, and Loudspeaker in Iraq

Note: Inside the Psychological Operations community, PSYOPS is generally considered to be an incorrect abbreviation. The correct abbreviation is without the s', or PSYOP.

See also Psychological warfare, Information warfare, Propaganda OT

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