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Psychological Operations as a dedicated military capability began when Captain Heber Blankenhorn established the Propaganda Subsection in the War Department during World War I.

Over 50 million leaflets were delivered in modified artillery shells and leaflet bombs dropped from airplanes on enemy units on the Western Front. The campaign was so effective that German generals Paul von Hindenberg and Erich Ludendorff admitted that it had played a part in devastating their troops’ morale.


During World War II, the U.S. Military expanded Psychological Warfare capabilities by establishing the Psychological Warfare Branch, Allied Force Headquarters; the Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force; and PSYWAR sections at the Army, Group and Field Army levels.

As a result, tactical PSYWAR units such as Mobile Radio Broadcasting Companies and Broadcasting Stations Operating Detachments played a key role in reducing enemy morale and winning the war.


After WWII, U.S. Army PSYWAR was nearly dismantled. In September of 1950, Brigadier General Robert A. McClure was named Chief, Psychological Warfare Division.

Recognizing the need for the Army to retain its PSYWAR units and capabilities, McClure and his staff established the Psychological Warfare School in Fort Riley, Kansas in 1950, and the Psychological Warfare Center in Fort Bragg in 1952, which later became the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

Since its founding, the school has provided doctrine, education and training for the Army's human influence professionals.


The Vietnam War was an especially challenging period for Army Psychological Operations. Initially operating under the United States Information Service and later under the Military Assistant Command – Vietnam, elements of the 4th Psychological Operations Group conducted continuous combat operation for more than five years.


In both peace and conflict, supporting conventional and unconventional forces, PSYOP Soldiers have operated in Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo. PSYOP forces are currently operating in support of the Global War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines.

PSYOP Soldiers are deployed around the world, supporting combatant commanders, U.S. embassies, and foreign governments. Their efforts and those of their predecessors have proven PSYOP to be an indispensable component of the national security.


U.S. Army PSYOP has had a crucial, impact in unconventional warfare in every conflict.

The fundamental mission of PSYOP has remained the same since World War I: to “convey selected information indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.”

However, the methodology of conducting global planning and missions has continuously evolved to changes in social, behavioral and political environments, employing cutting-edge technologies, and modern influence strategies.