Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Middle East MISO - PSYOPer Suit Up You're Going In!
Like it or not MISO (PSYOP) soldiers may find themselves in the Middle East. Assignments could range from the classic tactical PSYOP support, to being part of a UN or NATO task force with a peacekeeping role or reinforcing an already beleaguered embassy staff.
So what would I do to get ready from an intellectual perspective? First of all I would admit to myself that I know more about China and Japanthan I do about the Middle East and I would spend quite a bit of time in front of a Regional Map with some printouts of the CIA Factbook. This would give me an area orientation and a basic understanding of how the geography looks.
Next I might do some research in the Economist over the past few weeks to pick out the countries where stuff might happen. I’d research mil to mil contacts the nations might have had and seek out anyone – military or civilian – who could help me understand the cultural and behavioral nuances.
I’d find Arabic language resources. A pocket-sized phrase book is a must. I’d also look for a cost effective way to hear the language – maybe there’s an ap for that.
Next I’d list the countries with the largest populations and classify them into those with major urban centers (making a special list of major cities) and those that are rural. I’d frankly put the more rural nations (e.g. Afghanistan types) down to the bottom of the pile figuring that they would be tribal and that what I need to know about my AO will depend on where I end up.
Next I’d spend some time on Aljazeera English and perhaps determine their regular schedule so that I could get familiar with their personalities. I’d take my urban area list noted above and do some Google searching to determine TV stations and personalities. If they had an online version I’d spend some time with that maybe download some files off YouTube that I could watch on my Smart Phone.
Lastly I’d tune up all my electronics: Flip, Digital Camera, Laptop and Smart Phone and get a couple of emergency charger things. Oh yes and I stock up on cigars.