You'd think that, in 2005, there'd be a better way to push propaganda. But last year, the U.S. military dropped 9.3 million leaflets into Afghanistan, and another 3.8 million into Iraq, according to Special Operations Technology magazine, trying to convince the locals to play nice with G.I.s.U.S. Special Operations Command is exploring alternatives to the flyers. In a recent call for research, SOCOM expressed an interest in "air droppable, scatterable electronic media" to spread the good word about American intentions. "Internet-capable devices, entertainment and game devices, greeting cards, and phone and text messaging technologies" are just a few of the suggested options for these so-called "psychological operations," the magazine notes.Already, the Pentagon has purchased 100,000 solar-powered radios, so folks on the ground can listen in to official American dispatches. (It's a time-tested technique.) To that, SOCOM is considering adding "disposable or temporary cell phone[s]," Special Operations Technology notes.
Another, more cost-effective solution might be to use tried and true technologies and applications but adapt them for military use. Did you ever send or receive a talking greeting card? Hallmark tried, but discontinued such a line. SOTECH talked to one of the companys chip providers about how that same technology might enhance military leaflet programs. Sure enough, they had first-hand knowledge, but a company executive was unable to provide details.The company, Americhip, specializes in producing sound insertsshort recorded advertisementsembedded on chips that can be used in any number of printed, package, or trinket applications such as a key chain or other small gadget. These talking cards, packages, toys or other novelties offer a number of communications advantages, including overcoming literacy issues. Plus, theres the look what I have factor that, according to Americhips Web site, may help generate more attention and keep the piece in circulation longer than a static piece of paper.