Category Archives: The U.S. Army

Unveiled – Counter-Da’esh Influence Operations Cognitive Space Narrative Simulation Insights

Counter-Da’esh Influence Operations Cognitive Space Narrative Simulation Insights

Page Count: 69 pages
Date: May 2016
Restriction: None
Originating Organization: Joint Staff J39
File Type: pdf
File Size: 3,665,757 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256):D7EC7D64E98A8B16FBA01D8D46A3AE74CC83DB19378C9EC6C6D5D3F23AAB18E4

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When planning to deal with any adversary or potential adversaries, it is essential to understand who they are, how they function, their strengths and vulnerabilities, and why they oppose us. Events over the course of the last year and a half highlight the importance of those factors as they relate to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh). One of Da’esh’s obvious strengths is its ability to propagate tailored messages that resonate with its audiences. If the US Government and our allies are to counter Da’esh effectively, we must attack this center of gravity.

The Joint Staff J-39 Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) branch has been evaluating options in “Cognitive Space” to conduct Information Operations to disrupt Da’esh’s ability to command and control forces, neutralize its ability to maintain or increase moral, political, and financial support as well as recruit foreign fighters. This SMA effort continues to identify methods to psychologically isolate Da’esh leaders from one another and their respective constituencies inside and outside of the organization. Furthermore, this SMA effort has been assessing the value of “integrated neuro-cognitive-narrative maneuver” approaches to develop messages and actions that are more likely to have intended effects and less likely to have undesirable unintended or collateral effects, as well as to evaluate message delivery methods more effectively and efficiently by developing campaigns that achieve undercutting effects.

The cornerstone of the effort was the execution of a simulation facilitated by the University of Maryland ICONS team, which sought to

a. support the Psychological Operations (PSYOP) community in meeting training requirements in ways that reinforce the PSYOP process and enhance counter-Da’esh messaging.

b. support the PSYOP community in integrating neuro-cognitive and social science concepts to refine counter-Da’esh message content and increase the effectiveness of the Information Operations (IO) campaign.

c. assist the PSYOP community with understanding the operational environment (OE) and the human networks operating in the OE: friendly, threat, and neutral. Possible examples include providing a (Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, and Infrastructure) PMESII-framed OE analysis and center of gravity analysis.

This white paper is a compilation of the key findings from the simulation.



Revealed – U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation: Joint Infantry Training

With increased combat activities in the Middle East during the First Gulf War in 1991 and through the wars inIraq and Afghanistan of the 2000’s, the U.S. Marine Corps has used America’s strategic alliance with Israel to better train and prepare its soldiers for battle.  Israel is known as having one of the most tactically advanced infantry forces in the world and they are one of few countries in the Middle East that allows Marines to train on its soil with soldiers from Israel Defense Forces.

In late November and early December 1998, Marine forces conducted land and sea maneuvers for nearly two weeks in the Negev desert. The exercises were reportedly routine and not related to tensions with Iraq and a U.S. Embassy spokesman said the Marines were conducting the exercises alone.

In April 2005, Marines from the Sixth Fleet who specialize in extraction operations to evacuate U.S. personnel from hostile territory conducted joint maneuvers with their Israeli counterparts. The Marines simulated an armed assault from the sea while IDF forces maneuvered inland until the two forces met. Military sources said the operation was code named “Kaya Green.”

In June 2007, the Army Corps of Engineers finished construction of a 7.4 square mile fake city in the heart of the Negev desert that Israel will use for simulated urban combat training, often together with Marines. “This is something developed by us in cooperation with the U.S. Army; we intend for it to become a valuable center of knowledge that will also benefit our American allies and other friends,” said Brig. Gen. Uzi Moskovich, commander of Israel’s National Ground Training Center.

In March 2008, US and Israeli forces initiated a joint battle simulation exercise, code-named “Juniper Falcon,” designed to improve coordination between the two countries’ armed forces. The joint simulation was part of a general agreement between the two countries to to hold regular joint training exercises aimed at boosting “interoperability, understanding and cooperation,” said a military statement released after the exercise was completed. The two forces participated in “Juniped Falcon” again in 2010.

In August 2011, a group of 50 specialized Marines trained for two weeks at the Urban Warfare Training facility in southern Israel, mostly working on close-quarter battle. “[The Marines] have been trained to re-capture buildings and to clear out terrorist threats inside of a building, but they’ve never been trained on how to you know clear a building, and move to another one clear it and move to another one,” Marine Platoon Commander Mike Jevons said.

In August 2013, Givati Brigade Special Forces conducted a joint exercise with units from the Marine Corps to examine various techniques of urban warfare, to teach the IDF approach to urban warfare and to learn about the Marines’ operational experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. The exercise took place over three days at the Urban Warfare Training. The purpose of the exercise was for each unit to learn from the operational experience of the other in fighting in urban terrain.

The U.S. military sent 173 paratroopers to train with the Egoz Guerilla Warfare Unit of the IDF Golani Brigade during late November and early December 2015. For one week the soldiers trained together, practicing at the urban warfare training center at Tze’elim base, and running field exercises. The American troops arrived in Israel toting their weapons and personal combat gear. The differences in the way things were run were obvious, for example the Americans relied on GPS navigation systems to guide them to their destinations, while Israeli soldiers were required to learn their paths ahead of time from a map.

IDF Special Forces and U.S. Marines engaged in a joint training exercise in the Negev Desert during July 2016, dubbed “Noble Shirley”. The soldiers trained for battle against terrorists by practicing landing helicopters in stressful situations, urban warfare, and military takeover techniques. Groups also practiced bringing medical aid to injured soldiers behind enemy lines.

Sources: IDF Spokesperson’s Office;
Opall-Rome, Barbara. “Marines to train at new Israeli combat center,” Marine Corps Times (June 24, 2007);
Julie Stahl. “US Marines Train in Israeli Warfare Camp,” CBN News (August 17, 2011);
“Special Training: U.S. Marines vs. Givati Special Forces,” IDF Blog (August 15, 2013);
Zitun, Yoav. “American paratroopers train with IDF’s Egoz unit in Israel,” YNet News (December 3, 2015);
“’IDF special forces, US Marines train for combating ISIS in Negev drill,’” Jerusalem Post (July 28, 2016)