Gg only – denial/deception (3)

Denial & Deception – Wk3


Select one of the Questions to Ponder as the topic for your weekly Forum posting.  Please select just one and do a thorough job on it.


Questions to Ponder:

1. Did the appearance of new technologies make Denial and Deception efforts harder, or easier to carry out?

2. What innovations did deceivers employ to take advantage of the new conditions on the battlefield?

3. What lessons can we derive from he experiences of World War Two deceivers for contemporary operations?



Your initial post should be at least 250-500 words in length (not including references listed at the end). Please respond to at least 2 other students and one follow up question. Responses should be a minimum of 150 words in length and include references to the material.


Student #1 

Did the appearance of new technologies make Denial and Deception efforts harder, or easier to carry out?

The appearance of new technologies has made Denial and Deception efforts harder to carry out. Take Operation Barclay which was meant to hide Operations Husky, the invasion of Sicily and “…was designed to cause the Germans to misallocate their resources so they would not strengthen their defenses in Sicily before and after the actual invasion” (Bacon 1998, 3). Another operation was Fortitude North which was designed to divert German attention towards Scandinavia which involved “…a fictional Fourth Army in Scotland that contained three corps with 250,000 troops—eight divisions over all” (Bacon 1998, 8) and also included collusion by the Soviets. The third example from the same era was the Soviet deception in 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad. The “… deception masked the movement and concentration of three hundred thousand troops, one thousand tanks, and five thousand guns that led to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army” (Bacon 1998, 11). The three examples presented above were similar to many others used in wars prior to World War II but with advances in reconnaissance and surveillance technology over the past few decades they could not be successful in a twenty first century conflict against another developed nation. Many of the successes in deception were due to the efforts of double agents and through false propaganda. Let us assume that we are war with Germany today and the same tactics and operations were practiced. All the above mentioned operations would fail due to intelligence gathered by aerial platforms such as unmanned aerial vehicles and airplanes and geospatial products from remote sensing technologies. Even civilian denial and deception operations are much more difficult to orchestrate due to the advent of mass media, availability of mass communication networks and mass consumption of portable electronic devices.



Bacon, Donald, J. 1998. Second World War Deception: Lessons Learned for Today’s Joint Planner. Air Command and Staff College, No.5.  file:///C:/Users/aurile/Downloads/Bacon+%25281998%2529.pdf



Student #2   


What lessons can we derive from he experiences of World War Two deceivers for contemporary operations?


            There are various lessons that have been learned throughout various wars that we can and should use today during operations.  Conventional military operations, covert military operations, and covert intelligence operations can significantly benefit from lessons learned in past wars, specifically World War Two.  In a document titled Second World War Deception: Lessons Learned for Today’s Joint Planner by Donald J. Bacon, there are multiple examples given.  One such example is controlling important communication channels, especially if there are double agents involved.  Bacon points out that “along with the double agents, the Allies also used bogus communications networks to buttress the stories that the double agents sent information.” (Bacon 1998, 14).  Creating a fake channel specifically for German signals intelligence (SIGINT) to collect on allowed the Allies to control what kind of information the Germans were getting not only from double agents, but from what should have appeared to be regular communications as well.  This still happens today in both military and intelligence operations, where information is created and fed to an adversary in hopes that the adversary will buy off on the information being legitimate.  The end goal being that the adversary makes decisions based on false information. 

            Another important lesson learned is having stories that make sense that are based off of preexisting beliefs that the adversary has.  Bacon states that “the most successful deception stories were apparently as reasonable as the truth.” (Bacon 1998, 17).  There are numerous operations that can be read about that were successful based on plausible preexisting beliefs, and also numerous failed operations that didn’t work because the information meant to deceive did not align with preexisting enemy beliefs.  It’s reasonable to say that operations almost certainly will not succeed if flase information is not created in alignment with what the enemy already thinks is true, or probable.



Bacon, Donald, J. 1998. Second World War Deception: Lessons Learned for Today’s Joint Planner. Air Command and Staff College, No.5. file:///C:/Users/aurile/Downloads/Bacon+%25281998%2529.pdf(accessed October 21, 2014).


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