In future natural disasters or battlefield operations, U.S. Special Operations Command would like to be able to take over local AM and FM radio transmissions to broadcast its own message.
To do that, the MacDill Air Force Base headquartered command “is seeking sources to provide a radio broadcast system capable of searching for and acquiring every AM and FM radio station in a specific area and then broadcasting a message(s) in the target area on all acquired AM and FM radio station frequencies,” according a solicitation posted Monday on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
The solicitation doesn’t offer any cost estimates or timetables, nor does it include any specifics on how or when the system would be used.
But Socom spokesman Ken McGraw offered a few examples of how the system could work, both at home and abroad.
Overseas, the system would fall under the Military Information Support Operations, which used to be known as Psychological Operations, and provide similar information. The military is not allowed to conduct those operations domestically.
The radio broadcast system would mostly target civilians, said McGraw, because enemy fighters aren’t generally sitting around listening to the radio.
“U.S. military commanders, when conducting operations anyplace, have an obligation to the civilian population that live in those areas,” said McGraw, “And that is why civil affairs people assist in meeting those obligations. If a commander operating in a specific area has information he wants to get out quickly to the civilian population, then using the broadcast network system that is indigenous is probably the fastest.”
“In a war zone, MISO is providing truthful information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. military and foreign policy objectives,” said McGraw. On the battlefield, the radio system would be used “where you have a large combat operation, and civilians need to be evacuated and find medical treatment and food and water,” he said. “It would not be used for nefarious purposes.”
Full article: Socom seeks system to control AM, FM transmissions in emergency (The Tampa Tribune)