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Psychological Operations (PSYOP,PSYOPS) are techniques used by military and police forces to influence a target audience's emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and behavior. Target audiences can be governments, organizations, groups, and individuals, and are used in order to induce confessions, or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator's objectives.

This concept has been used by military institutions throughout history, but it is only since the 20th century that it has been accorded the organizational and professional status it enjoys now.

Germany Edit

In the German Bundeswehr, the Zentrum Operative Information and its subordinated Bataillon für Operative Information 950 are responsible for the PSYOP efforts (called Operative Information in German). Both the center and the battalion are subordinate to the new Streitkräftebasis (Joint Services Support Command, SKB) and together consist of about 1,000 soldiers specialising in modern communication and media technologies. One project of the German PSYOP forces is the radio station Stimme der Freiheit (Voice of Freedom), heard by thousands of Afghans. Another is publication of various newspapers and magazines in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

United Kingdom Edit

In the British Armed Forces, PSYOPS are handled by the tri-service 15 Psychological Operations Group.

United States Edit

Main article: Psychological operations (United States)

The purpose of United States psychological operations (PSYOP) is to induce or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to U.S. objectives. In the United States Department of Defense, dedicated Psychological Operations units exist only in the United States Army. However, the United States Navy also plans and executes limited PSYOP missions.

Unlike some countries, United States PSYOP units and Soldiers of all branches of the military are prohibited by law from conducting PSYOP missions on domestic audiences. While United States Army PSYOP units may offer non-PSYOP support to domestic military missions, they can only target foreign audiences.

Within the U.S. Psychological Operations community, the correct acronym is PSYOP without the "s" at the end, as noted in FM 33-1-1. NATO references will alternately list the capability as PSYOP or PSYOPS, depending on the source's nation of origin.

During the Waco Siege, the FBI and BATF conducted psychological operations on the men, women and children inside the Mount Carmel complex. This included using loud speakers to play sounds of animals being slaughtered, drilling noises and clips from talk shows about how David Koresh was much hated. In addition, very bright, flashing lights were used at night.

See also Edit


It is possible that PSYOPS, using a combonation of the Patriot Act and the Rave act, could engage in psychological warfare on those who produce, promote, or organize events centered around electronic music. These acts allow governmental agencies on all levels to coordinate and engage in psychological warfare against innocent civilians who use the electronic medium as a tool to create art. These acts could potentially lead to a constitutional conflict in regards to the quartering of troops as stated in the Bill of Rights.

External linksEdit

it:Operazioni psicologiche
ja:心理戦
fi:Psykologinen operaatio
zh:心理戰
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