A People’s Information Support Team is a Civilian Irregular Information volunteer auxiliary on-line working group collaborating on electronic media engagement of oppositional, neutral and friendly blogs, forums, discussion groups and websites. Irregulars have no official Table of Organization and Equipment and are under no obligation to follow doctrine, but this particular PIST is a five-person element composed of a
PSYOP officer Team Chief, a noncommissioned officer Assistant Team Chief, two PSYOP specialists Civilian Irregular Counterpropagandists with photography, videography, journalism or editing skills; and an analyst with linguistic and area studies specialties.
Capabilities to be developed:
Disseminate selected public information to target audiences.
Counter enemy propaganda.
Counter enemy Morale Operations
Attack anti-military arguments
Resist infantalization, victimization, marginalization and slander of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen
Engage Hostile Media
Relentless, destructive critique of MSM persons and publications
Expose media bias
Resurrect buried stories
The ultimate objective of PIST is to convince domestic audiences to take actions contributing to the defeat of Islamofascist terrorists and their supporters. PIST should promote resistance within the domestic civilian populace against hostile ideology or enhance the image and legitimacy of friendly ideologies.
p. 12 The most common evolutionary path for 21st century organizations—be they corporations, political organizations, or something else—is to become less rigidly hierarchical, taking the form of decentralized networks or webs of nodes (which may themselves be hierarchical). Such organizations are most effective in a rapidly changing, information saturated environment.20 Insurgent movements organized as “flat” networks or semi-networks are more flexible and adaptable than rigidly hierarchical ones. Resources, information, and decisionmaking authority are diffused. Such organizations are effective in
environments where rapid adaptation is an advantage. In the contemporary era, polyglot organizations which combine a centralized, hierarchical dimension (which gives them task effectiveness) and a decentralized, networked dimension (which gives them flexibility and adaptability) can maximize mission effectiveness.
p.28-29 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.