As we approach the end of 2009 and having just attended a “Council of Colonels”, I felt it was appropriate to provide an update on the State of the Regiment. Overall 2009 was a very positive year. Most Importantly PSYOP soldiers continue to excel globally and the ‘dwell time’ (time between deployments) for Reserve PSYOP soldiers remains around 20 months – less time at home than the active counterparts tend to enjoy. Soldiers and their families are stepping up to the challenge and enduring this unprecedented level of sacrifice.
We were able to recognize exceptional long standing PSYOP contributors with the first annual award of the McClure Gold Award for PSYOP Excellence. Regimental week, hosted by the 4th POG at Fort Bragg, was a success and a rewarding experience for all who attended.
The Regiment continues to feel the detrimental effects of splitting active and reserve PSYOP forces between the US Army Reserve Command and the US Army Special Operations Command. This bifurcation resulted in degraded cohesion across the force and has had a negative impact on training and standards.
The Regiment continues to be well served by two associations (POA and POVA), each of which has its own stated core goals. However, neither of them has risen to the needed critical mass of other associations such as MI, Artillery, SF or CA. Consequently, the Regiment does not have a strong, financially viable, unofficial voice that can also serve as a catalyst to grow the Regiment and increase esprit de corps. Among other things, a strong association is needed to:
• Recognize the entry into the Regiment of newly qualified soldiers and officers.
• Record and maintain legacy of PSYOP
• Engage in training process to provide a historical perspective
• Represent the interests of PSYOP internally within DOD and externally
• Enhance Morale
Positive steps are being taken to champion the Regiment and move it forward. In past years informal coordination was facilitated with a “Council of Colonels” who met at least annually at the “Worldwide PSYOP Conference” and other venues. I am pleased to report that this cross organizational body has been reconvened and is making plans to foster cross-organizational cooperation and strengthen the Regiment and its activities.
It is hoped that SWC will step up to its responsibilities as the “Regimental Home Base” and afford the same professional courtesies to the PSYOP Regiment that it has continually provided to the SF Regiment.
Regimental Week is again tentatively scheduled for the week of June 7, 2010 at Fort Bragg. The PSYOP Troop Commanders have all committed to participate in next year’s event to make it truly a Regimental function. In addition a strong commitment was voiced to approve criteria for the Silver and Bronze McClure Awards and to secure funding so that proper recognition made be given to outstanding PSYOP personnel.
As we look forward to 2010, I am optimistic that the Regiment will grow and mature to support our marvelous PSYOP force that continues to excel in spite of hardship and sacrifice.