Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Psychological Operations Get a New Name Psychological Operations Get a New Name

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Defense / DEFENSE

Psychological Operations Get a New Name

To avoid the stigma of PSYOPs, the Pentagon opts for a rebranding.

photo of Marc Ambinder
December 6, 2010

The term "psychological operations" has a certain odor about it. It connotes deceit and manipulation -- even brainwashing. And in today's military, anything that smacks of the Pentagon's history of psychological warfare is not politically correct.

A few months ago, the U.S. Special Operations Command, which, by law, is the executive agency for psychological operations, or "PSYOPs," decided that a name change was in order: Operations aimed at influencing the emotions of people outside the United States would now be known as "Military Information Support Operations." 

When the name change was first proposed, it took a millisecond for the thousands of active psychological operations officers and noncommissioned officers to deride the new acronym. "MISO" -- like the Japanese soup. "MISO" -- followed by references that aren't appropriate for an online news site that might be seen by children. 

 

But up the chain of command it went, and as of late last week, it's official.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates put his signature on a memorandum officially changing the term. Marked "For Official Use Only," the memo notes that "PSYOPs" had become so toxic a term that commanders often failed to use vital tools at their disposal because of the negative connotations associated with the term. 

"Although PSYOP activities rely on truthful information, credibly conveyed, the term 'PSYOP' tends to connote propaganda, manipulation, brainwashing and deceit. As a result, a wide range of military-information related activities and capabilities have become tarnished by the term," Gates wrote.

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Early Bird

Sign up for our daily newsletter and stay on top of defense coverage.

Sign up form for Early Bird
Job Board
Search Jobs
Security Alarm Tech/Electrician
Lockheed Martin | Fairfax, VA
Systems Engineer Stf
Lockheed Martin | Washington, DC
Sharepoint Developer
Lockheed Martin | Tampa, FL
Intelligence Analyst Stf
Lockheed Martin | Springfield, VA
Info Assurance Engineer Sr
Lockheed Martin | Glen Allen, VA
Sr. Software Engineer
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Technical Service Engr Asc Mgr
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Software Engineer Sr
Lockheed Martin | King of Prussia, PA
Aircraft Maintenance Asc Mgr
Lockheed Martin | Warner Robins, GA
Software Engineer Sr Stf
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Software Engineer Sr Stf
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Proposal Analysis Mgr
Lockheed Martin | Herndon, VA
Maintenance Program Management Mgr
Lockheed Martin | Patrick AFB, FL
Assessment Engineer
Lockheed Martin | Bethesda, MD
Info Assurance Engineer Sr
Lockheed Martin | Bethesda, MD
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus