Virtual Cyber Militias Must Run with the Ball OGAs Dropped

Who does strategic counterpropaganda?  Who is tasked to minimize and mitigate the effect enemy propaganda has on the will of the American domestic target audience?  The military is sure it isn’t their job, which is a damn shame because they are the only part of the government with any reputation for competence. 

  • FM 3-05.30 Psychological Operations
  • Presidential executive order. DOD implementation policies of Executive Order S-12333, United States Intelligence Activities; DOD Instructions S-3321.1, (S) Overt Psychological Operations Conducted by the Military Services in Peacetime and in Contingencies Short of Declared War (U); and National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 130, U.S. International Information Policy, direct that U.S. PSYOP forces will not target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances. However, commanders may use PSYOP forces to provide public information to U.S. audiences during times of disaster or crisis



Counterpropaganda is a PSYOP mission, but PSYOP isn’t allowed to do it for us.

FM 3-05.301 — Countering propaganda is usually the responsibility of PSYOP units within an AOR (Area of Responsibility) and JOA (Joint Area of Operations). OGAs (Other Government Agencies) will counter propaganda on an international scale and within the United States.

The Department of Defense is at war, America is at the mall, and the Other Government Agencies are on their ass in the info war.  The key terrain of the war of ideas lies between the ears of the American voter, and whatever defense of that key terrain is being mounted is not coming from government.

No war of Ideas — Bill Gertz

Sen. Joe Lieberman pressed senior U.S. intelligence and security officials this week on what the Bush administration is doing to counter the ideology of Islamic extremism domestically and internationally.

The answer from the top officials: Not much.

Mr. Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said during a hearing Monday that a war of ideas is needed to counter Islamic extremists.

“Because this is a war, but it is ultimately a war against, and with, an ideology that is inimical to our own values of freedom and tolerance and diversity,” the Connecticut independent said.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III revealed during the hearing that the FBI has no counterideology response other than its “outreach” to Muslim-American communities so they “understand the FBI” and address “the radicalization issue,” he said.

Asked whether the FBI has a responsibility to wage a battle of ideas within U.S. Muslim-American communities, Mr. Mueller said: “You put that where I would say no, that it would not be our responsibility for any religion to engage in the war of ideas.”

The FBI’s responsibility, he said, is “to explain that once one goes over the line and it becomes not a war of ideas but a criminal offense, this is what you can expect, and to elicit the support of those in whatever religious community to assist us in assuring that those who cross that line are appropriately investigated and convicted.”   [In other words, we come draw the chalk outline on the asphalt after the killing.  Bothering the killer before he has killed anybody would violate his civil rights, and besides, nobody pays us to be proactive and prevent anything, they pay us to catch bad guys AFTER they succeed.]

The comment shows that despite the creation of a dedicated FBI intelligence-gathering branch, the bureau remains limited to investigation and law enforcement.

Retired Vice Adm. Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center who has a strategic operational role in countering terrorism, said one of the “four pillars” of the U.S. war strategy is the “war of ideas,” but he noted that there is no “home office” for that effort in the United States.

Retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence, said the intelligence community does not conduct any battle of ideas against terrorists in the United States unless there is a foreign connection.    [Mecca is in a foreign country, Admiral]

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff also said NOTHING IS BEING DONE DOMESTICALLY TO BATTLE ISLAMIST EXTREMIST IDEAS. The department’s incident management team, he said, is focused on civil rights or civil liberties — not fighting terrorists’ ideology.

Hotel Tango:  J. Michael Waller at

Now look at RETHINKING INSURGENCY by Steven Metz

Like insurgents, third forces form and survive when states are weak and unable to provide security.  They play many roles in an insurgency: distracting the government from the counterinsurgency campaign, serving as a partner of the insurgents, performing functions the government cannot, or changing the basic dynamic and structure of the conflict. Three forms of third forces are particularly important for contemporary insurgencies: militias, criminal organizations, and private military companies.

Militias. Militias arise from a combination of need and opportunity. The state cannot address the basic needs of a specific group, particularly security, economic opportunity, and a basis for political identity. Colombia is a classic example, with a range of populist militias emerging as public order in the cities disintegrated.24  Some were organized and financed directly by drug traffickers, others by local landowners, still others by military officers acting officially or unofficially.25  Opportunity is the flip side of this: the state is too weak to prevent the emergence of militias. In Africa, for instance, militias are often the personal armed forces of powerful warlords whom the state cannot control.

As William DeMars describes it:

Warlord politics and state collapse are two sides of the same coin. State collapse means that the government nolonger provides basic security and economic infrastructure as public goods. Behind this is a warlord political economy in which rival politicians fund patronage networks through access to international commercial ventures and provide their own security either by fielding their own militias or hiring international mercenaries.26



In a sense, then, militias may arise from defensive motives when a group faces a real threat, or they may arise offensively when a group or individual seeks to capitalize on the weakness of the state.

Militias have a subnational constituency and focus.  They address the needs of a specific group that is something less than the entire citizenry of a country.  They are “quasi-state” organizations, assuming some functions which the state would normally perform such as the provision of security, administration, and a range of activities designed to facilitate economic activity.

Some militias, like successful insurgencies, develop a coherent ideology based on a persuasive “narrative”which explains why they were formed, what they seek to do, who opposes them, the methods they will use, and why they consider this endeavor justified and legitimate. This narrative and the ideology it reflects normally form a part of the information operations used by the militia. Other militias are more primal, seeing no need to develop a coherent ideology (or having no capacity to do so). Ideological militias have a better chance of developing active public support. Militias may be proxies or subordinates of a more powerful group, political party, or even the state. Others are autonomous. Some militias are extensively linked to other organizations, whether inside or outside the country. Both the quantity and depth of links matter.

One other type of militia merits consideration. Some analysts contend that the Internet has made “virtual” militias (and insurgencies) possible and potentially dangerous.66 That runs counter to the definition of militias used here since “virtual” militias do not control territory or assume state functions. Perhaps, though, virtual militias and insurgents should be considered a separate category. Interestingly, just as the emergence of “real” insurgents sometimes spawn the creation of counterinsurgent militias, the emergence of “virtual” insurgents has led to the formation of virtual counterinsurgent vigilantes. One example is the “Internet Haganah,” part of a network of private anti-terrorist web monitoring services, which collects information on extremist websites, passes this on to state intelligence services, and attempts to convince Internet service providers not to host radical sites.67 The logic is that it takes a network to counter a network. As insurgents and terrorists become more networked and more “virtual,” states, with their inherently bureaucratic procedures and hierarchical organizations, will be ineffective. Vigilantes, without such constraints, may be.



Us, you and me, we, are going to have to enter the fray. The Regulars have failed us.  Who do we have left to put in?

More at Haft of the Spear

Update:  Public Diplomacy and the Cold War: Lessons Learned — OGA weren’t always this worthless.


Filed under PSYOP Auxiliaries

4 responses to “Virtual Cyber Militias Must Run with the Ball OGAs Dropped

  1. JustADude

    No offense, but due to the low contrast of your color scheme, I had to highlight the text of your article to read it.

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