I have had a couple of weeks to savor the experience of Regimental Week at Fort Bragg and on reflect on the State of the PSYOP Regiment in general.
To quote Dickens “These are the best of times, these are the worst of times.” The PSYOP Optempo is breathtaking. No matter your assigned POG, you are going to be a part of the war some time soon – and often thereafter. Reservists can expect to re-deploy 18 months after they return and the Optempo on the active side is intense as well. The fact that the 4th POG guidon is deployed down range is evidence of the PSYOP commitment to National Defense.
PSYOP forces have experienced the tragedy of KIA and continue to prove their mettle on the battlefield. The Regiment has taken a giant first step with the first awarding of the Gold MG Robert A. McClure award to COL (R) Al Paddock; COL (R) Jeff Jones, COL (R)Frank King and LTC (R) Joseph Meisner. Each of these outstanding individuals has dedicated a life time to PSYOP and deserving of the award.
While the maturation of the Branch through the award is a positive step forward, there is still much to do.
At the top of my list is the need to reunite AC and RC forces under the same command. The split of command responsibility between USSOCOM and “the Big Army” is a mistake. As one well placed Pentagon official put it during branch week “there must be transparency of capability” to best serve the force. Hopefully DOD is moving ahead in this direction.
Second is the need for community leadership through the CDR of POG troop units, the Regiment and PSYOP Associations. It is my belief that the POG CDR and the JMISC CDR must constitute the critical components of an informal Board of Directors who work in tandem with all the constituents including SWC for the betterment of the branch. SOCOM as the Proponent for PSYOP needs to exert itself through J39 and serve as the catalyst (and perhaps funder) to insure the evolution of the total community.
Third is political action. It all happens on “The Hill” and we in PSYOP must model our ability to “inform” members of Congress about PSYOP to help insure PSYOP receives its appropriate share of the pie.
Fourth is image building. All of us – those in uniform and out must work together to help build a positive image of PSYOP to once and for all remove the stigma of ‘propaganda’ and to clearly articulate the value of what we do everywhere from the battlefield to the Congress to wording of contracts.
My personal congratulations to COL Curt Boyd on the completion of his outstanding tenure as CDR of the 4th POG and my best wishes to the incoming CDR, COL Carl Phillips on his assumption of Command next month.