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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, Psychological Operations units exist in the United States Army and United States Air Force [How to reference and link to summary or text]. The United States Navy also plans and executes limited PSYOP missions.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

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.[How to reference and link to summary or text] While PSYOP soldiers may offer non-PSYOP related support to domestic military missions , PSYOP can only target foreign audiences. Though, it is worth noting that this does not rule out PSYOP targeting foreign audiences of allied nations. Additionally, in the Information Operations Roadmap made public January 2006 but originally approved by Defense Secretary]] Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003, it stated "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa."[1]

Within the U.S. Psychological Operations community, PSYOPS is generally considered to be an incorrect abbreviation. The correct abbreviation is PSYOP.


PSYOP Structure

U.S. Army PSYOP Force structure

Until recently, the Army's Psychological Operations elements were administratively organized alongside Civil Affairs to form the US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC), forming a part of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). However, in May 2006 USCAPOC was reorganized to instead fall under the Army reserve command, and all active duty PSYOP elements were placed directly into USASOC. While reserve PSYOP forces no longer belong to USASOC, that command retains control of PSYOP doctrine. Operationally, PSYOP individuals and organizations support Army and Joint maneuver forces or interagency organizations.

Army Psychological Operations support operations ranging from strategic planning down to tactical employment.


Left: US Special Operations Command (USASOC) Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI). Worn by soldiers in any active-duty PSYOP unit. Center: US Army Civil Affairs Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) SSI. Worn by soldiers in any reserve PSYOP unit. Right: US Army 1st Special Operation Command SSI (obsolete). Formerly the SSI worn by all PSYOP soldiers.

PSYOP Support Elements generally support Corps sized elements. Tactical Psychological Operations Companies typically support Division sized elements, with Tactical Control through G-3. Brigades are typically supported by a Tactical PSYOP Detachment. The PSYOP Commander maintains Operational Control of PSYOP elements, advises the Commander and General Staff on the psychological battlespace.

The smallest organizational PSYOP element is the Tactical PSYOP Team (TPT). A TPT generally consists of a PSYOP team chief (Staff Sergeant or Sergeant), an assistant team chief (Sergeant or [Specialist), and an additional soldier to serve as a gunner and to operate the speaker system (Specialist). A team is equipped with a Humvee fitted with a loud speaker, and often works with a local translator indigenous to the host or occupied country.

Generally, each maneuver battalion-sized element in a theater of war or operational area has at least one TPT attached to it. While in the Army women are allowed to hold the psychological operations occupational specialty, they are not allowed to serve on TPTs in a war zone due to a PSYOP team's high chance of contact with the enemy (with exceptions sometimes being made).


U.S. Army PSYOP branch insignia and regimental crest.

PSYOP soldiers are required to complete nine weeks of Basic Combat Training. After basic training (BCT), the active duty-component PSYOP Soldier is then required to attend Airborne training. All enlisted PSYOP Soldiers report to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to complete the 16-week Psychological Operation Advanced Individual Training (AIT) course. Sometime after initial training, PSYOP Soldiers will spend up to a year (or perhaps more for specific languages) in foreign language qualification training. Certain reserve soldiers serving in units designated as Airborne are also required to attend Airborne training, while language training and Airborne qualification for PSYOP Soldiers assigned to non-Airborne units is awarded on a merit and need basis.

Army UnitsEdit

There are only three Psychological Operations Groups in the Army: the 2d, 4th, and 7th. 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) is the only active duty PSYOP element in the United States Army, constituting 26 percent of all U.S. Army Psychological Operations units. The remaining 74 percent is split between the 2nd and 7th Psychological Operations Groups in the Army Reserve.

4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) Edit


Distinguished Unit Insignia (DUI) for the 4th POG (A)

The 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) (4th PSYOP Group (A) or 4th POG) is based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of the United States Army Special Operations Command. 4th POG was constituted 7 November 1967 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Psychological Operations Group. Activated 1 December 1967 in Vietnam. Inactivated 2 October 1971 at Fort Lewis, Washington. Activated 13 September 1972 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

2nd Psychological Operations Group Edit

Constituted 29 October 1965 in the Regular Army as the 2d Psychological Operations Group. Activated 20 December 1965 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Inactivated 13 September 1972 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Redesignated 30 October 1975 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 2d Psychological Operations Group; concurrently withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and activated at Parma, Ohio. Reorganized and redesignated 18 September 1990 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Psychological Operations Group.

Battalion Distinguished
Unit Insignia
11th Psychological Operations Bn

11th Psychological Operations Bn (POB) - Upper Marlboro, Maryland

303rd Tactical Psychological Operations Unit(TPU) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
305th Tactical Psychological Operations Unit (TPU) - Ft. Story, Virginia
312th Tactical Psychological Operations Unit (TPU) - Upper Marlboro, Maryland
15th Psychological Operations Bn

15th Psychological Operations Bn (POB) - Cincinnati, Ohio

321st Tactical Psychological Operations Unit (TPU) - Grand Rapids, MI
346th Tactical Psychological Operations Unit (TPU) (ABN) - Whitehall, Ohio
350th Tactical Psychological Operations Unit (TPU) - Cleveland, Ohio|-
16th Psychological Operations Bn

16th Psychological Operations Bn (POB) - Fort Sheridan, Illinois + Constituted 30 December 1954 in the Army Reserve as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 305th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion and assigned to the Fifth United States Army. Activated 17 January 1955 at Chicago, Illinois. Relocated to Evanston, Illinois on 1 June 1957. Reorganized and redesignated 1 June 1960 as Headquarters and Head-quarters Company, 305th Psychological Operations Battalion. Relocated to Chicago on 1 March 1963. Reorganized and redesignated 31 December 1965 as the 305th Psychological Operations Battalion. Reorganized and redesignated 16 June 1996 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Psychological Operations Battalion.

310th Tactical Psychological Operations Unit (TPU) - Forest Park, Georgia
345th Tactical Psychological Operations Unit (TPU) (ABN) - Dallas, Texas
362nd Tactical Psychological Operations Unit (TPU) - Fayetteville, Arkansas
13th Psychological Operations Bn

13th Psychological Operations Bn (Enemy Prisoner of War) (EPW) - Arden Hills, Minnesota

339th Psychological Operations Company (POC) - Fort Snelling, Minnesota
319th Psychological Operations Company (POC) - Arden Hills, Minnesota

This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Distinguished Unit Insignia (DUI) for the 7th POG

7th Psychological Operations Group Edit

Constituted 19 August 1965 in the Regular Army as the 7th Psychological Operations Group. Activated 20 October 1965 on Okinawa. Inactivated 30 June 1974 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Redesignated 30 October 1975 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 7th Psychological Operations Group; concurrently withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and activated at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. Reorganized and redesignated 18 September 1990 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Psychological Operations Group. Location changed 15 September 1994 to Moffett Field, California.

Battalion Distinguished
Unit Insignia
10th Psychological Operations Bn

10th Psychological Operations Bn (POB) - St. Louis, Missouri

307th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - St. Louis, Missouri
308th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - Belton, Missouri
318th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - St. Louis, Missouri
12th Psychological Operations Bn

12th Psychological Operations Bn (POB) - Moffett, California

  • Deployed to Afghanistan in 2006.
315th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - Upland, California, Currently deployed in support of OEF.
  • Deployed to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1. Supported 3d ID and 1st AD.
  • Deployed to Afghanistan in 2004.
320th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - Portland, Oregon
  • Deployed to Afghanistan in 2004.
  • Deployed to Iraq 2008
361st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - Bothell, Washington
  • Deployed TPD 1270 to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1. Supported 3d ID and 3d ACR. Awarded a Valorous Unit Award.
  • Deployed TPD 1280 to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1. Supported 2d ACR.
  • Deployed TPD 1290 to Afghanistan in 2004.
14th Psychological Operations Bn

14th Psychological Operations Bn (POB) - Mountain View, California

301st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) (ABN) - San Diego, California
304th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - Sacramento, California
324th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - Aurora, Colorado
17th Psychological Operations Bn

17th Psychological Operations Bn (POB) (Dissemination) - Joliet, Illinois

306th Psychological Operations Company (SDC) - Los Alamitos, California
Alpha Company (POC) - Elwood, Illinois
Bravo Company (POC) - Aurora, Illinois

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Air Force, Navy, and MarineEdit

The Air Force provides support for Psychological Operations by using a modified C-130 Hercules aircraft named EC-130 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.

The Navy provides support to Joint PSYOP programs by providing assets (such as broadcast platforms using shortwave and very high frequency (VHF) frequencies) for the production and dissemination of PSYOP materials. With the ability of naval vessels (especially the larger task forces) to produce audio-visual materials the Navy can often produce PSYOP products for use in denied areas. Leaflets are dropped utilizing the PDU-5B dispenser unit (aka Leaflet Bomb). The Navy coordinates extensively with the Army as the majority of PSYOP assets reside within USASOC. PSYOP planning and execution is coordinated through the Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM) and the Naval Information Operations Command (NIOC), both located in Norfolk, VA.

The US Navy possesses the capability to produce audiovisual products in the Fleet Audiovisual Command, Pacific; the Fleet Imagery Command, Atlantic; the Fleet Combat Camera Groups; Naval Imaging Command; various film libraries; and limited capability from ships and aircraft of the fleet. A Naval Reserve PSYOP audiovisual unit supports the Atlantic Fleet. Navy personnel assets have the capability to produce documents, posters, articles, and other material suitable for PSYOP. Administrative capabilities exist ashore and afloat that prepare and produce various quantities of printed materials. Language capabilities exist in naval intelligence and among naval personnel for most European and Asian languages. The Fleet Tactical Readiness Group provides equipment and technical maintenance support to conduct civil radio broadcasts and broadcast jamming in the amplitude modulation frequency band. This unit is not trained to produce PSYOP products and must be augmented with PSYOP personnel or linguists when necessary. The unit is capable of being fully operational within 48 hours of receipt of tasking. The unit's equipment consists of a 10.6kW AM band broadcast radio transmitter; a broadcast studio van; antenna tuner; two antennas (a pneumatically raised 100 foot top-loaded antenna mast and a 500 foot wire helium balloon antenna); and a 30 kW generator that provides power to the system.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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