Can’t Feed the Trolls: UK Army PsyOps Unit Fails to Meet Recruitment Targets

from Sputnik International

77 Brigade, the British Army’s online media ‘PsyOps’ unit, is struggling to attract trolls to its ranks despite a two-year recruitment drive, Ministry of Defense figures indicate.

The ‘unit’ has a target size of 448, of which 182 are intended to be full-time soldiers, sailors and airmen, and 266 part-time reservists. However, as of December 31, 2016 it was home to a mere 276 cyber warriors, meaning the unit was undermanned by just under 40 percent. Of the 276, 123 were reservists, meaning the Brigade has a shortfall of 29 regulars and 143 reserves. Over 2016, just 125 soldiers were recruited to, or posted into it from elsewhere in the army.

The target size of 448 in itself represents a significant reduction of its originally-stated goal. In the midst of its recruitment blitz, 77 Brigade was envisioned as an “operational body of 1,500-2,000.” Around 42% of this total were to be reserve “weekend warriors.”

Formerly known as the Security Assistance Group, the unit was rebranded to 77 Brigade in 2015, the new name deliberately invoking Major-General Orde Wingate’s Indian 77th Infantry Brigade long-range penetration unit, which fought behind enemy lines in the Asia-Pacific theatre of World War Two. It was an effective merger of the Army’s Media Operations Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group, Security Capacity Building Team and Military Stabilization and Support Group.

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