The British Army have responded to the changing face of modern warfare by increasing the role of soldiers trained in psychological warfare operations (PSYOPS).
A specialist unit of “creative” soldiers will be tasked with fighting wars using unconventional methods, including social media and public relations, Sky News reports.
The aim of PSYOPS, which is currently part of the Intelligence Corps and is made up of a large number of reservists with specialised civilian experience, is to influence the mind and shape the behaviour of the enemy as well as win the ‘hearts and minds’ of local populations.
Such a strategy was key in the war in Afghanistan, where soldiers set up radio stations for local communities as well as taking part in visible PR operations such as encouraging female education, posters and press releases.
77 Brigade will formally be created on 1 April but in keeping with military traditions already has the nickname ‘Twitter troops’.
Chief of the General Staff Gen Sir Nicholas Carter said “The brigade consists of more than just traditional capabilities: It is an organisation that sits at the heart of trying to operate smarter.”
77 BDE has its origins in the Chindits – a group of special forces soldiers who were dropped behind enemy lines in the far east during World War II and who suffered huge losses.
They will be based in Hermitage, Berkshire, but small detachments will work across a wide range of sites, with soldiers seconded to Battle Groups or infantry battalions as part of a wider fighting strategy.