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Deception at its best: the opponent is quite certain, very decisive, and wrong


Part 2

The ultimate goal of stratagem is to make the enemy quite certain, very decisive, and wrong. -- Barton Waley

Rove's most effective efforts strike me as similar to Allied deception efforts in WW II that earned them such success: "controlled the key channels of information, had superior intelligence and received feedback on their deception operations, centralized controlled over their deception planning, effectively practiced proven deception tactics, ensured deception operations were subordinate to strategic objectives, maintained stringent secrecy, and provided enough time to execute deception plans shrewdly." Democrats have much to learn.

Careful analysis of patterns within sprignals had the potential to accelerate timely warning of surprise attack. Whaley's later analysis extended to 68 cases of surprise attack in 20th century warfare, in Stratagem: Deception and Surprise in War. Harris noted:

"Whaley found a high positive correlation between the intensity of deception (counting types of channels utilized for intensity) and the likelihood of surprise attack, and a positive correlation between the intensity of deception and the intensity of surprise, using, for example, casualty ratios in war as a proxy for intensity of surprise."

Returning to Wack:

After concluding the nonaggression pact with Hitler in 1939, Stalin was so convinced the Germans would not attack as early as 1941 -- and certainly not without an ultimatum -- that he ignored 84 warnings to the contrary. According to Barton Whaley, the warnings about Operation Barbarossa included communications from Richard Sorge, a Soviet spy in the German embassy in Tokyo, and Winston Churchill; the withdrawal of German merchant shipping from Soviet ports; and evacuation of German dependents from Moscow.

Deception, be it military, diplomatic, or political, has four components:

  • Security
  • Plausibility
  • Adaptability (however elaborate, deception must adapt to the changing situation)
  • Integration (deception effort integrated at all levels and with all means)

Using these components, Every deception effort is comprised of only two basic parts: hiding the real and revealing the false. Hiding the real is called dissimulation. It is the covert part, that which is concealed from the enemy. Revealing the false is called simulation. It is the overt part, that which is falsely revealed to the enemy as truth. Dissimulation and simulation are always present together in any act of deception.

The US Army has extracted ten maxims from game theory, history, and deception writings that make a good basis for planning a deception:

  1. Reinforce his beliefs (Magruder's Principle)-It is generally easier to induce a target to maintain an existing belief than to entice him to change his beliefs.
  2. Target his mind--There are limitations to human information processing that are deceptively exploitable.
  3. Use multiple forms of surprise-- Surprise can be achieved in the following categories: size, activity, location, unit, time, equipment-(SALUTE) intent, and style.
  4. Feed all the enemy's sources (Jones' Dilemma)-- Deception becomes more difficult as the number of sources available to confirm the real increases.
  5. Create Noise only for a purpose--Too much erroneous information can obscure the deception effort.
  6. Use deception selectively--It may be wise to withhold the employment of deception capabilities until the stakes are high.
  7. Deception is continuous--Deception activities should be sequenced to portray the deception for as long as possible.
  8. Feedback is a must--An intelligence collection scheme should be employed to determined if the deception is being adopted, rejected, or countered.
  9. Focus on the enemy's action (The Monkey's Paw)- Deception efforts may produce unwanted actions from the enemy and friendly units.
  10. Don't make it easy for him--If the target's intelligence collection system has to work for the indicators, the greater the chance he'll believe them.

I have yet to make a systematic analysis of such politically manipulative actions in the current presidential election campaign, but they all seem to be present.

Part 4

Stratagem: Deception and surprise in war
Barton Whaley
MIT Center for International Studies

Barton Whaley
MIT Press, 1974

Gordon Housworth

InfoT Public  Risk Containment and Pricing Public  Strategic Risk Public  


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