U.S. Special Operations Forces Command is seeking assistance in developing a tool it believes could greatly enhance future psychological operations: talking paper.
SOCOM has developed a prototype for a four-sheet thick piece of paper infused with microcircuits that can transmit 30-second audio messages, according to a report from Defense One. The goal is to use the ‘talking paper’ in future psychological operations as a means of communicating with civilians or combatants in enemy-controlled areas.
The sheets of paper could potentially be used to encourage enemy soldiers to surrender or defect, or reassure civilians in a target zone.
SOCOM developers envision future psychological operations similar to those employed against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa, in which SOF operators dropped devices over LRA-controlled areas to get soldiers to defect using recorded messages from the soldiers’ family and loved ones.
The ‘talking paper’ is still in prototype phase, but could begin combat evaluations by the end of the year if further developed, Defense One reports. Although not available now, future versions of the paper could include a biometric identifier that would ensure only the intended recipient is able to access the embedded message.