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The Military Mind at War: A PSYOP Commander’s Strategies for the Post-Afghan Battlefield

This FREE webinar was recorded on:
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
07:00 AM - 08:00 AM EDT
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In Afghanistan in 2010, The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is taking on a second surge and has had a change in strategy for the third time since it begun battling an evolving insurgency that is gaining momentum taking hold in regions in theater. Meanwhile, mission support from the local population in Afghanistan and from the nations making up the coalition is waning. While a more realistic goal appears to be accepted by leadership of NATO members for what entails mission accomplishment, a broader search for the most relevant and adaptive strategies to deal with extremists and terrorists continues.

Both military and civilian leaders need to better grasp the implications of the many strategies that have been implemented and proposed for providing security in Afghanistan. Political context of indigenous and international populations must also be considered. Leaders and decision makers need to learn to communicate in a more concise way with key audiences both at home and internationally.

In this webinar, featuring Lieutenant-Colonel Bruno Vanasse, Former Deputy Director for Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) with the Canadian Army, highlights the interaction between strategy and communications taking into account lessons observed from the realities on the ground in Afghanistan. More specifically, the essentials for domestic support and support from abroad will be detailed, and how leaders both military and civilian can deal more effectively in the future with the political and psychological dimensions of war from foreign asymmetric threats. In order to accomplish this, several military operational and strategic initiatives currently being enacted or proposed for in Afghanistan will be examined and analyzed, in relation to the threat posed by the foes in the region. Finally, LtCol Vanasse will offer his own views on what a realistic security strategy in Afghanistan should entail.

Participants will gain from leading-edge thought process on the interface of strategy and communications in modern warfare taken from the Afghan conflict.

Additionally, key takeaways of this webinar are:

  • Gain understanding about the multiple strategies that have been used, proposed and desired for stabilizing Afghanistan
  • Increase your awareness of the implications of different approaches in the context of the Afghan political climate
  • Identify the strategic and communication requirements for support both domestic and abroad
  • Discover ways to deal more effectively with the political and psychological dimensions of conflict emanating from foreign asymmetric threats


Lt-Col Vanasse joined the Canadian Army Reserves in Feb 1986, as an infantry soldier at Régiment Fusiliers Mont-Royal and was commissioned there in 1988 as an infantry officer. In 1990, he joined the Intelligence Branch. He was the Canadian Battalion intelligence officer in Visoko, Bosnia, from Oct 1993 to May 1994, in UNPROFOR. A year later, he went back to Bosnia, at the UNPROFOR HQ in Sarajevo, as the senior intelligence operations officer, from June to December 1995. Upon his return he took up key responsibilities at 4th Intelligence Company in Montreal, as Trg O, Ops O and DCO. From May 1999 to Aug 2002, he was the first Reserve Commanding Officer (CO) of 4th Int Coy, while the unit received the “Sir William Stephenson” trophy for best intelligence unit in Canada three years in a row.

After completing his command of 4th Int Coy, he concentrated his efforts to create a new Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) capability for the Canadian Forces (CF). He officially stood up the Canadian PSYOPS Capability in January 2004 and was its first CO. In November 2006, he deployed to ISAF HQ in Kabul, Afghanistan. He initiated the mission's first counter-propaganda plan and developed an unconventional counterinsurgency (COIN) approach presented to COMISAF, and thereafter deployed to Kandahar to lead Information Operations plans for Regional Command South, supporting ISAF’s main effort. He was also Deputy Director PSYOPS from January 2004 until August 2009. He currently is a senior staff officer for Land Forces Western Area Headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta.

His expertise on PSYOPS, Info Ops and COIN has been sought for international military conferences, as an invited guest speaker by US Joint Special Operations University, NATO (SHAPE), the Royal Military College of Canada, the Information Operations Europe Conference, the Canadian Forces College, Defence Research & Development Canada, the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, the Institute for Military Operations of the Royal Danish Defence College and CityForum’s Supporting Land Operations 2009 roundtable in London UK.

In civilian life, prior to working full-time in developing PSYOPS for the CF, he worked as a consultant for the HayGroup, an international management-consulting firm, and later as a full-time lecturer in Psychology and Leadership at the Royal Military College of Canada. He graduated with a B.Sc in Psychology and is presently completing his Ph.D thesis in Industrial & Organizational Psychology. He has a passion for travel, foreign cultures and languages, and has visited over 50 countries.