The Marine Corps is seeking to acquire commercial off-the-shelf FM broadcast radio kits to bolster its ability to conduct information warfare, a military activity known as psychological operations, or PSYOP.
In a request for information, or RFI, filed on Tuesday, the Marine Corps Information Operations Center is seeking information for a potential FM band radio acquisition and equipment that can conduct live broadcast.
“The objective of the acquisition is to provide the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander the ability to influence friendly, neutral, adversary and enemy target audiences through message dissemination in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) utilizing broadcast FM radio,” the RFI reads.
According to the RFI, the Corps basically wants a radio station in a box. The request requires the radio and kit to have both digital and analog capabilities, a 30-foot antenna, 300 watt power output, and be capable of both AM and FM modulation.
And the Marines want the radio kit to be relatively light weight 50 lbs. for the radio kit and under 120 lbs. for the antenna.
The Corps currently is retooling for a looming battle with a near-peer rival like Russia or China. And the Marines have identified the information environment as an increasingly hostile domain, one it will need to navigate and fight through.
Because of the mass proliferation of communications technology, even ragtag militias and terror groups have been able to exploit the information environment with their objectives through propaganda, recruitment or illicit funding activities.
To go toe-to-toe with these developments, the Marines Corps is investing heavily in developing its information warfare capabilities. That effort encompasses cyber, electronic warfare and PSYOP.
PSYOP encompasses operations to influence local populations to benefit U.S. tactical or strategic interests. The term has since been changed to Military Information Support Operations, or MISO. MISO teams can use digital, radio or drop leaflets to carry out operations.
It’s still a relatively new organic field to the Corps. The Marine Corps Information Operations Center, which fields Marine MISO teams, wasn’t established until 2009, and was largely dependent on training from the Army through 2011.
Moreover, the Corps has recently professionalized the cyber field by creating a new 1700 series military occupational specialty field that includes seven new cyber tracks from offensive to defensive operations.
But that’s not all. After reviewing the Corps experimental exercises known as Sea Dragon 2025, the Corps has decided to retool its infantry Marines with more electronic and information warfare capabilities.
At the battalion level, the Marines have added two new information officers to bolster the Corps’ ability to conduct disinformation operations against adversaries or reach disaffected populations to aid in the Corps’ messaging to friendly forces.
It’s an understanding by Marine officials that the Corps will need to be able to leverage information to support future warfighting objectives and gain support of locals or sow dissent among adversaries.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.