Gg only – denial/deception (2)

Week 2 Discussion Forum

Select one of the Questions to Ponder as the topic for your weekly posting.  Please select just one question and do a thorough job on it.


Questions to Ponder

1. You may deviate from the following questions and reflect on the posting of reclusive North Korean boy-Dictator Kim Jong Un’s absence. See First posting.

2. How did the core concepts of Denial and Deception operate in these, and other historic examples? 

3. Why did these efforts succeed, or fail?

4. Discuss how the core concepts from Homer, Sun Tzu, or Shakespeare continue to be applicable within the modern era.

5. Describe the use of the three of the six principles of military deception which occurred within the Civil War reading.


Your initial post should be at least 250-500 words in length (not including references listed at the end). Please respond to at least 2 other students and one follow up question.



Student Response #1:

Discuss how the core concepts from Homer, Sun Tzu, or Shakespeare continue to be applicable within the modern era.

            Sun Tzu makes numerous arguments in his writings, or points rather, that are relevant to warfare today around the world.  What he talks about is relevant in conventional warfare, unconventional or gorilla warfare, and other types of covert operations.  In Tzu’s “Laying Plans” section number 18 states “all warfare is based on deception” and then goes on to say “Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”  (Sun Tzu #18).  These have been and continue to be some of the most basic principles of war that are employed today on a regular basis.  

            One of many examples of deception during wartime is that of General John Bankhead Magruder, who was a confederate General.  He had about 8,000 soldiers that would be facing 120,000 union soldiers on the battlefield.  He painted logs to look like cannons and also “marched one battalion in circles until the opposing general became convinced he was facing more than 100,000 men.” (Secor 2003).  A more recent example was in 1999 during the Kosovo war when Serbian forces used decoys that were so effective that “after the war, it became clear that NATO bombs had destroyed just 10 percent of the vehicles that aerial reconnaissance had shown them striking.” (Secor 2003).  

            It’s important to note that of course the “good guys” aren’t the only ones that know how to effectively use denial and deception techniques.  Gerry J. Gilmore of the American Forces Press Service notes in a DoD News article that “terrorist forces are employing ‘denial and deception’ techniques in Afghanistan.” (Gilmore 2001).  The enemy has to use these techniques effectively because they can’t go toe-to-toe with allied forces due to superior firepower, training, and manpower.  Some of the techniques used are using civilian population to hide military equipment in, using caves to hide military equipment, and fake television broadcasts to try and create propaganda that makes the United States look like they are killing innocent civilians.  

            The lists of denial and deception operations or techniques used in warfare is far too numerous to list, so the bottom line is it’s important to note that any kind of warfare cannot be fought effectively without successful employment of denial and deception.  



Giles, Lionel. Sun-tzu on the Art of War the Oldest Military Treatise in the World. Mt. View, Calif.: Wiretap, 199.

Gilmore, Gerry J. Terrorists Use ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ in Afghan War. Oct. 1, 2001. (accessed Oct. 13,       42013).

Secor, Laura. Wartime lies: The History and Ethics of Military Deception. April 6, 2003. (accessed Oct. 13, 2014).


Student Response #2: 

Examine the disappearance of Kim Jong Un (KJU) to hiding the real and showing the fake.  North Korea does a good of controlling what is put out on media that provide media censorship which is strictly enforced and any deviation is not tolerated.  People cannot listen to foreign media broadcasts and everything is for political propaganda (Worden 2008, 215).  There is only 10 percent of radios and 30 percent of televisions are in private households.  Government controls almost all aspects of reading materials, movies, books, and performing arts to show them in a favorable manner.  The Internet access is very restrictive which limits their exposure to outside sources.  This really allows KJU to protect information and present a clear amount of deception onto his people.  By doing this, is a great example of hiding the real (famine) and showing the fake (presenting strong country). 

Part of the elusiveness of KJU is speculated to be regarding a health condition which shows the leader having a slight limp suggesting that the young dictator may have gout (Staff 2014).  If you think about how the leader wants to portray him as almost God like hero of the country then you can understand why hiding the real in this situation could be paramount.  He has to show strength at all times and can not show any signs of weakness because the country is on a pathway to collapse. 

When I was conducting research on this topic I found some interesting articles that suggested different aspects of his disappearance.  One of the articles written by PCMD Gazette suggested that North Korea’s Organization and Guidance Department (OGD) had taken control of the country making all the decisions (Reporter 2014).  Additionally, a former counter intelligence officer of the regime further claims that that KJU is a puppet leader.  Other articles speculation suggested he was getting better and still in control of the country.  All of this can show that the country is in turmoil even when a country tries to keep the information safeguarded. 



Reporter. “BREAKING: North Korea Overthrows Dictator Kim Jong-un.” The PCMD Gazette, 10 2014.

Staff. “What’s going on with North Korea’s Kim? Maybe nothing.” Asia Pacific, 09 2014.

Worden, Robert L. North Korea a country study. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008.


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