Psychological Strategy and National Security

Psychological Strategy and National Security

J. Michael Waller, PhD

Wednesday, November 30th

6:00 – 7:30 pm

After a decade of war, with many military victories to its credit, the United States continues to struggle with defining and combating ideological adversaries. It has been unable to dominate the psychological battlespace in which America’s enemies – both those practicing violence and those not presently violent – flourish. The Department of Defense has expunged the term “psychological” from its official weapons lexicon, replacing it with an uneasy and odd-sounding concept called Military Information Support Operations (MISO). As the name implies, MISO is purely military, with information serving only as a supporting role and in an operational, not strategic, capacity. On the civilian side, public diplomacy continues to flounder and strategic communication has become an obsolete catchphrase. Professor Waller will describe a high-impact, low-cost, national security approach that employs psychological strategy for all US officials to carry out their sworn oath to defend against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Dr. Waller teaches courses on foreign propaganda, political and psychological warfare, information warfare and public diplomacy at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of national security and international affairs. He is faculty member of the Army’s LDESP leadership program at the Naval Postgraduate School. He was a field operator in support of a successful US-backed insurgency and infiltrated and disrupted international Soviet front organizations in support of the White House Active Measures Working Group in the 1980s, and subsequently worked on various political warfare campaigns to affect change in areas of US interest. He has been a consultant to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the USIA, USAID, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the US Army. In 2006 he received a citation from the Director of the FBI for “exceptional service in the public interest.” He has written for the Los Angeles Times, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal.