“Contestation For Minds And Wills”: A Psyops Officer Discusses Counter Insurgency

Cole Livieratos


Cole Livieratos graduated from West Point in 2008 and commissioned as an Armor Officer. He was a scholarship recipient and immediately began a course in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, earning a Master’s Degree after two years. He then completed the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course before joining the 172nd Infantry Brigade. He deployed to Afghanistan, where he was a Platoon Leader for nearly 10 months. Returning from overseas, he was selected to be a Psychological Operations Officer, joining the 5th Psychological Operations Battalion. Serving as a Team Leader, he deployed to Cambodia and the Philippines. He was then selected to return to West Point to teach in the Defense and Strategic Studies program, and is completing his PhD at Georgetown. In this interview, he analyzes Insurgencies and Counter Insurgency operations based on his experiences serving overseas, teaching at the Academy, and writing his dissertation. He explains how the missions he participated in were different, and describes various techniques his unit employed. Throughout the interview, he transitions between discussing his personal experiences and addressing theoretical issues related to this type of warfare.


conflicts Afghanistan War
topics GWOT Global War on Terror Counterinsurgency War on Terror Leadership Teamwork West Point History
interviewer Nick Kramer
date 07 April 2021


name Cole Livieratos
institution USMA
graduation year 2008
service Armor / Psychological Operations
unit 172nd Infantry Brigade; 5th Psychological Operations Battalion
specialty Counter Insurgency Operations
service dates 2008