Comprehend Basic Theories of the Use of Denial and Deception in Shaping Perception

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1758 Words
Date:  2022-05-09

CO-1: Comprehend basic theories of the use of Denial and Deception in shaping perception.

When using denial and deception theories, the lens of ethics and morality becomes important. Deception is defined as deliberately inducing misperception in others; it is not as a result of chance. People can be persuaded to accept the false presentation of either a political, social or physical environment and, therefore, manipulate their behaviors through deception. The methods of performing deception are vast; ranging from minor obscuring of military tools to large-scale manipulation and fabrication of information. Although denial and deception are two distinct activities, they are employed as one concept and intertwined in practice. To be able to give false information about a course of action or a policy, it has to be denied or concealed from the target. Denial and deception involve the use of leaked or planted information to create a false impression of the truth by giving an alternative reality. The deceiver convinces the target into believing a cover story that would best serve the interests of the deceiver. Therefore, it is important to understand that everyone is at risk of being deceived. Understanding the basics of denial and deception enables one to detect any form of deception being performed against them.

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Most human interactions are characterized by deception, which is commonly confused with misinformation. The theory of deception, however, characterizes it into active and passive, with the view that it is intentional and only advantageous to the practitioner. Passive deception hides the reality by concealing true intentions from an adversary. Active deception, on the other hand, involves displaying untrue intentions that are nonexistent, to show a false sense of power. By hiding the reality and displaying malicious intentions, the adversary's perceived or actual reality is altered to suit an agenda and show the enemy something that is not real. Deception can also be classified according to specificity. According to Wirtz (2017), the specificity can either be A-type (ambiguity increasing) or M-type (misleading variety).

According to the A-type theory, one party creates a general confusion through white noise that distracts the ranks of an enemy. A common example of this deception can be seen when authorities enter a facility to conduct a search or serve a high-risk warrant. An authority conducting a dynamic entry typically uses a concussive device such as a stun grenade, which assists in disorienting, simultaneously scaring, or confusing hostile individuals, thus achieving his goals. M-type theory, on the other hand, utilizes a surgical approach; it is aimed at misleading the adversary into believing the existence of a predetermined plan. It uses various activities that work together by complementing each one of them to force an enemy into trusting the stated different reality. This form of deception was mainly used to prevent being detected by an adversary, through the application of various techniques such as dressing in clothes that blend with the surrounding terrain. Such synthetically stated reality is false, and it is more challenging to utilize m-type deception, compared to A-type ambiguity.

The most common example of a historical deception is the v Operation BODYGUARD during World War II. The operation utilized various deception M-type activities such as fortitude north and south. The plans tricked the Germans into believing that there would be a respective landing of the West in Norway; the Germans were convinced that actual invasion was supposed to cross the Straits of Dover away from Normandy beaches. Operation Bodyguard was a ghost military force which comprised of less than 1100 troops. However, the enemies were not aware of the presence of a much larger force which masked the real invasion of Normandy. The success of this deception would later be seen when commanders from Germany believed it, although they were merely diverted from the real invasion, which later took place in Calais. The success can also be attributed to the use effective deception methodologies such as camouflage. By the time Axis forces realized that they had been deceived, they had already been invaded and had no time to come up with countermeasures.

Denial and deception both have different methodologies that lead to varying desired outcomes. The shear methods of denial and deception make it challenging to master their art; whether active or passive deception, due to the numerous advances that have taken place over time. The art of deception has been used for a long period in history, and the effects are still visible. However, with the advanced technology deception techniques have evolved and what has always been known about deception is of no considerable use in the present. Although people have adequate realization on levels and methods of disinformation, and its dangers, one can never be convinced that they are not being deceived. Besides, there is no a comprehensive method of addressing deception and believing that it exists would be to ignore its nature. The most effective way of combating denial and deception is by understanding the adversaries' plans and events, to be fully prepared. Knowing the enemy's capabilities and intentions assist in identifying the limits of their operations.


CO-4: Examine the contemporary role of Denial and Deception in national security affairs.

Since the end of World War II, American citizens have become highly concerned about the threats of denial and deception. Despite the knowledge on the effects of denial and deception, they are comprehensively practiced in the modern world. The practices of deception, combined with other variables, make it challenging to determine whether or not the information received is genuine. Denial and deception raise questions about the informant's trustworthiness and reliability, how the information was received, and how it was intercepted.

Denial and deception have a significant role in the security affairs of the nation; and, being a major target from both the state and non-state actors, the United States view denial and deception as a form of asymmetric warfare. Most opponents lack the required military capability to challenge the United States' forces, and therefore, they mostly use asymmetric threats inform of advanced technology. However, asymmetrical warfare involves more than just the use of exotic technology or exploiting a country's technical weakness. Other methods such as denial and perception are also extensively used. Through deception, adversaries can compensate for their inferiority by delaying America's military action or increasing America's intervention costs. Also, since American forces rely on superior intelligence, communication, command, and control to defeat an opponent, the adversaries always aim at reaping disproportionate benefits by distracting these four areas.

The modern advances in technology have made deception easier. The introduction of internet and widespread use of computers and mobile phones have had a significant influence on the increase in deception attempts. With the seemingly endless places to hide information on the internet, the chances of giving incorrect or concealing real information are even higher. Also, with the advanced and widespread use of modern technology people intentionally or accidentally receive a lot of information from, from different sources, that cannot be determined if they are genuine or not. The electronic media provides channels for denial and deception, by enabling adversaries to freely communicate with U.S citizens. Therefore, the opponents are also able to access the American intelligence technology. Additionally, publication of classified information from unofficial leaks can be used by adversaries to learn more about America's intelligence competence. The intelligence methods are further compromised by surveillance incidents and political demarches. Accessing such information enables adversaries to target U.S intelligence for denial and perception. Also, the use of advanced electronic devices such as physical signature generators, infrared and transmission simulators can give enemies a false alarm; making them believes that they are being attacked, although there is no action.

Modern-day deception methods have become more advanced with the most common one being visual deception in battlefields. Visual deception includes the use of decoy objects, camouflage or smoke to deceive and hinder the ability of an opponent to analyze the battlefield and attack strategies. Although visual deception methods are highly effective, other modern approaches such as electronic manipulation are highly used. According to Handel (2012), the adversaries may use signal intelligence activities and modify professional profiles through the manipulation of electromagnetic emissions, to deceive others as too friendly intentions. Additionally, the falsification of communication peaks and security breaches can be used to mislead the enemy, thus allowing a continuous camouflaging of highly valuable information. This leads to the release of incorrect information that may be combined to give a tactical advantage.

Deception techniques also incorporate both defensive and offensive operations. On offense, the commander mobilizes and deploys forces while at the same time, he retains security. According to Blumenson (2014), the commander, therefore, avoids pre-emptive attacks and maintains tight security while planning a surprise attack. During an offensive operation, the force can maneuver effectively, using techniques such as traffic modification and control and camouflage, without being noticed by adversaries. Additionally, the forces use deception to mislead opponents and hide their real location. Defensive operations on the hand, involve activities such as intentional misplacement of weapons and creating visible track marks or footpaths to mislead the opponent. Such purposeful defensive operations enable the fighting force to predict the location of their opponents. Knowing informed about an opponent's position increases the chances of defeating them.

Therefore, Denial and deception have had a significant role in America's security affairs. Advisories use deception as the strategic instrument for politically and militarily disadvantaging the country. For an opponent, denial, and deception, just like a nuclear weapon, is a strategic instrument that adversaries use to shape the environment in a way that enables them to achieve their objectives. The threat of denial and deception to national security cannot be eliminated. However, the adverse effects can be minimized by use of various techniques such as; increasing media and government circles' awareness on the effects of denial and deception, training intelligence analysts and utilizing the available information to prepare for the future.


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Daniel, Donald C., and Katherine L. Herbig, eds. Strategic Military Deception: Pergamon Policy Studies on Security Affairs. Elsevier, 2013.

Glantz, David M. Soviet military deception in the Second World War. Routledge, 2012.

Godson, Roy, and James J. Wirtz, eds. Strategic denial and deception: The Twenty-first Century challenge. Transaction Publishers, 2011.

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Comprehend Basic Theories of the Use of Denial and Deception in Shaping Perception. (2022, May 09). Retrieved from

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