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Chuck de Caro

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Charles John “Chuck” de Caro (born 1950) is a former American journalist and a former special assignments correspondent for CNN. He is now a strategist and futurist and has originated the concept of SOFTWAR, defined as: “The hostile use of global visual media to shape another society’s will by changing its view of reality."see you tube video His current efforts are focused on advising the 1st SOFTWAR Unit (Virtual), an experimental unit organized at Joint Training Base Los Alamitos, California under the aegis of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment. This unit is composed entirely of California Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel selected not for their military trained skills, but for the civilian acquired skillsets they use in their everyday, professional lives. This experimental unit is designed to assist Combatant Commands and government agencies with analysis and advice regarding complex information warfare issues.[1]

Education and Journalism Career[edit]

Chuck de Caro was educated at the Marion Military Institute, in Marion, Alabama, the US Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the University of Rhode Island, in Kingston, Rhode Island. He then served with the 20th Special Forces Group and then transitioned to journalism with the Providence Journal Bulletin, the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph and the (New Orleans) Vieux Carre’ Courier. In the mid 1970s, de Caro became a television reporter with smaller local TV stations, most notably WTSP-TV in Tampa, Florida, where he reported live from inside the eye of Hurricane David from a USAF WC-130H Hurricane Hunter aircraft. While at WTSP-TV, he also became one of the first journalists to have flown in and reported on both the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets.

Through the remainder of the 1970's, de Caro continued to cover aviation and military related stories for various news and information outlets, covering aspects of NASA astronaut training such as centrifuge training and zero-gravity training aboard NASA's "Vomit Comet", completing some 600 parabolic flights with astronauts Robert L. Gibson, Sally Ride, and Steve Hawley. He also covered the use of the Northrup T-38 Talon jet trainer to simulate Space Shuttle approaches and landings in the article "Flying the White Rocket" published by Challenge Publications "Air Combat Magazine - Special Edition" in 1980.

In 1983, de Caro joined Cable News Network (CNN) as a Special Assignment Correspondent. He gained notoriety for his in-depth reporting from deep inside then-hostile Nicaragua covering the operations of the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE) guerillas led by Eden Pastora (aka Commandante Cero) and Hugo Spadafora.[2] During the Grenada invasion of 1983, he and his cameraman sailed and paddled into Grenada to penetrate the US Department of Defense imposed media embargo while that island was being invaded.[3]

In 1984, Mr. de Caro and his cameraman, Ken Kelsch slipped into and out of Suriname to produce exclusive CNN reporting on American mercenaries and Surinamese guerillas seeking to overthrow the Bouterse regimesee you tube video. Mr. de Caro also reported and produced investigative documentaries on illegal drug operations, foreign espionage and criminal gangs. In addition, de Caro produced CNN documentaries on Radio Frequency Weapons, the Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident[4] and the First Trans-Atlantic Air Rally. He also parachuted with USAF Combat Control Teams and US Army Rangers to generate vivid CNN reports on those military units.

His CNN documentary “The Zap Gap” and an article of the same name published in The Atlantic Monthly in March 1987 caused a stir in the Pentagon because it delineated the vulnerabilities of many US weapons systems to High Energy Radio Frequency (HERF) and Directed Energy Weapons (DEW).[5]

While writing a story for the independent Army Times newspaper, he became the first non-government civilian to attend and graduate from the US Army Air Assault School and was awarded the coveted Air Assault Badge. His colleague and then friend (they married in 2014[6]), CNN Anchor Lynne Russell pinned on his air assault badge upon his graduation from the course.

Television career[edit]

Mr. de Caro became a technical advisor and on-air consultant in the 1990s to three TV Series magazines: Hard Copy, Sightings, and Encounters. He also worked with Donald P. Bellisaro in two Belisarius Productions TV dramas: Quantum Leap, and JAG. He also did un-credited technical advising on the series First Monday and NCIS. Mr. de Caro joined the Screen Actors Guild and played himself in the JAG TV series,[7] appearing with actors Catherine Bell, Karri Turner, and Andrea Thompson.[8]

Development of SOFTWAR[edit]

Based on lessons learned in his investigative reporting, de Caro conceptualized SOFTWAR and began to explore how media techniques apply to information warfare. de Caro understood the power of the visual image and found numerous examples where the United States and its allies had failed to recognize the subtleties being used against them in the global media, e.g. Saddam Hussein patting the young British boy on the head during a media event with his left hand during Desert Shield. This meant little to the western audience, but was a symbol of power to the muslim audience he was trying to reach. de Caro created a series of lectures and wrote a series of articles for various books and journals to educate the US and its allies to this potential threat. He was a guest speaker at INFOWARCON 1998 and 1999 in Washington DC and he is the one of co-authors of a series of textbooks on Information Operations and Cybernetic-Warfare, published by AFCEA International Press. The titles include: Cyberwar: Security, Strategy and Conflict in the Information Age, Cyberwar 2.0: Myths, Mysteries and Reality, and Cyberwar 3.0: Human Factors in Information Operations and Future Conflict.[9]

As an independent researcher he has worked intermittently with the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment for the past two decades on an array of projects, including the creation of the world’s first military “Virtual Unit.” The unit, called AMOEBA (Aerobureau Matrix Organization for Effecting Behavioral Adjustments) was developed using Vermont National Guard volunteers under Colonel (later Major General) Bruce Lawlor.[10] This concept has been expanded into the ongoing 1st SOFTWAR Unit (Virtual) project.

de Caro prototyped a "flying news bureau" AEROBUREAU, converting a Lockheed L-188 Electra aircraft into a wholly self-contained aerial news studio,[11] complete with information gathering capabilities with unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite uplinks.[12][13]

In January 2011, de Caro’s books, articles, DoD studies and videos on SOFTWAR and Information Warfare were integrated into the Military Science curriculum at his alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy.

Mr. de Caro lectures regularly at the National Defense University, the National Defense Intelligence College, and the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany. He has also lectured at the USAF Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, USAFA, US Army War College, US Army Command and General Staff College, Naval Postgraduate School, the Swedish National Defense College, and the Netherlands Defense College.[14]


In cooperation with the former Robert R. McCormick foundation CEO, Brigadier General David L. Grange, USA (ret) and others, de Caro has been one of the co-authors of the following McCormick publications: From Gun Violence to Civic Health: A “Whole of City” Approach to Creating Chicago’s Future © 2009; Whole of Nation Global Engagement: Confronting Irregular Challenges in the 21st Century © 2008; Whole of Nation Approach to Irregular Conflict / Warfare © 2008; Russia’s Attack on Georgia: What to do with the Awakened Bear © 2008; Irregular Warfare Support Operation – Establishing Area Influence Operations in the IW Battlespace: Using IW Support Base Networks © 2007; Confronting Iran – Securing Iraq’s Border: An Irregular Warfare Concept © 2007; Understanding the Mission of US International Broadcasting © 2007 Confronting Iran: US Options © 2007; and Forging an Iran Strategy © 2006

His current book-in-progress is called KILLING AL QAEDA and evolved from a presentation of the same name given at the prestigious DoD-sponsored Command and Control Research Program.[15]

Honors & Attributes[edit]

As a result of his work on SOFTWAR, Mr. de Caro was made an Honorary Member of the U.S. Army’s Psychological Operations Regiment in 2008 by order of the Secretary of the Army. He is a life-member of the Air Force Association, and has been a featured speaker at its annual Air and Space Conference and Technology Exhibition. He is also a member of the OSS Society and the National Rifle Association.

A chapter of the book, The Next World War by James Adams describes de Caro’s strategic thesis and style of instruction at the NDU, while the article “Winning CNN Wars” by Frank Stech in the US Army War College Journal "Parameters" delineates more of his ideas.

Survived Shootout[edit]

He and his wife, Lynne Russell, were on a cross-country trip from Washington, D.C. to California and were spending the night of June 30, 2015 at a Motel 6 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when an armed man forced his way into their room. De Caro was shot three times; he returned fire and wounded the intruder, who died in hospital. De Caro was also taken to hospital, and was expected to recover.[16]


  1. Ending Wars Through Information Dominance: Californians Know How
  2. Chuck de Caro, CNN News Eden Pastora
  3. Reporters Went Island Hopping,1028778&hl=en
  4. CNN Special Assignment: The Rendlesham Forest Incident with Chuck de Caro
  5. CNN Documentary on RF Weapons
  6. You're Invited to Chuck de Caro and Lynne Russel 4th of July Wedding in Italy!
  7. JAG Archive Famous Faces
  8. Chuck de Caro Credited Appearances
  9. Chuck de Caro's War
  10. The Next World War: Computers are the Weapons and the Front Line is Everywhere by James Adams, Simon & Schuster (2001), pp.286-290.
  11. Popular Science "Bird's Eye View"
  12. Flying Newsroom
  13. Look Up in the Sky!
  14. Air Force Association Blog Review of Chuck de Caro's presentation on "Killing al Qaeda"
  15. DOD Command and Control Research Program
  16. Ex-CNN reporter kills intruder and is wounded in New Mexico Motel 6 shootout, Washington Post, 2016-07-02.

External links[edit]

+ Observations on Aerobureau and SOFTWAR


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