As the new year began, the "Israeli" entity didn't hesitate to take steps to shield itself through setting up so-called "Center for Consciousness Operations" which is part of the "Israel" Occupation Forces [IOF] Central Command.
It is a reincarnation of another division that had engaged mainly in international legitimization and legal aspects of "Israeli" military activity, and had been subordinate to the Planning Branch.
The structural reform was the recommendation of Brig .Col. K, until recently a senior intelligence officer, who was appointed to study the issue. The idea was to concentrate planning all "soft" activity - with foreign armies, diplomats, the foreign press and public opinion - under one military roof. This was done as part of "Israel's" effort to influence the enemy and Western opinion over the entity's military moves on the northern front and in the territories.
After the second intifada, the chief of staff at the time, Moshe Yaalon stated that victory would be achieved through "cognitive etching" -P alestinian acknowledgement that resistance operations wouldn't drive the "Israeli" entity to capitulation.
The incumbent chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot, also has keen interest in the battle over consciousness. It's even mentioned in the latest IOF strategy paper. His close friend, Col. Gabi Siboni, recently published an article about the cognitive shaping drive, through INSS. Siboni and another researcher, Gal Perl Finkel, wrote that the IOF "has intensified its cognitive-related activity recently, significantly building up process in this area and developing technological tools. Technological development enables a wide range of focused means of influence vis-à-vis various target audiences, and in effect creates another combat arena beyond the classic kinetic combat arenas," they wrote.
"Armies and states have to contend with the enemy's attempts to gain influence using technology and social media" rather than traditional war. Armies and states must work defensively, countering enemy efforts proactively and on the offensive plane, "in order to achieve objectives by influencing enemy target audiences, including decision makers, commanders, combatants, and domestic and world public opinion."
The army could stand to learn from civilian PR campaigns for selling things from products to politicians, they suggest.
Of course, it's a slippery slope, one the army already went down, and not well, under the days of Miri Regev as IOF spokeswoman. But their conclusion, that technological changes and social media require the army to contend there too, is hard to contest. The broad coverage of the recent moves in the Arab press - from IOF spokesman Ronen Manelis' article warning Hezbollah and Iran on Arab websites, to intelligence widely disseminated in Western media - indicate that this is just the beginning.
Source: Haaretz, Edited by website team