Special Operation Forces from the US have partnered with their Moroccan SOF counterparts and have been honing both their communications and medical skills during Operation Flintlock 2017.
Military Information Support Operations (MISO) instructors from Special Operations Command Forward Northwest Africa were conducting training in Tifnit, Morocco as part of Flintlock. The tenth year of Africa’s largest special operations forces exercise has brought together over 2,000 personnel from 24 allied nations in order to further training efforts in countering violent extremist organizations and other regional threats.
“To conduct good [information operations], good MISO, you need an overall end state for what you’re trying to accomplish,” said the MISO element leader. “Yeah, we’re trying to battle violent extremist organizations and most of the time it’s kinetic, but that might not be the best answer and may just cause more problems. Engaging the people — getting them the proper amount of information, the right information, through whatever means they receive the information from—showing them we’ll back up what we say with what we’ll do, they’ll in turn trust us or the host nation government.”
During previous deployments to Morocco, the MISO Operations soldiers had worked with their counterparts on the “Next Generation Loudspeaker System.” It provides foot or vehicle-based operations the ability project audible messages at distances up to 1,500 meters under ideal terrain and weather conditions.
“Sometimes when [fighters] are on the objective and might not be dedicated — they might be fearful or they’re being held against their will or some other means — doing a tactical callout could sound something like ‘We’re here to help and if you surrender, you can be treated better than how you’re currently being treated.’ We appeal to their needs and senses. Most of the time, it works. In extreme cases, it doesn’t and an assault element must go in and get them. We trained them on using the loudspeaker for engaging enemy fighters or for engaging populations to convey messages that the commander sees fit,” said the element leader.
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Photo courtesy DOD
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