OBL is dead and Congress is clamoring for a re-evaluation of the strategy in Afghanistan. While I’m clearly not an expert on that theater, and once I again I disclose that I’ve never been there, it strikes me that killing one guy, even one very important guy, should not call for a re-make of a strategy if the strategy was any good in the first place. Having said that – what’s next after OBL and Afghanistan?
(Photo Source: http://www.trafficsign.us/w24.html)
I believe that demand for contractors can be seen as a leading edge intelligence indicator of US involvement. I picked a well known contractor at random and tallied the total of openings by location: Iraq 42, Afghanistan 39, Kuwait 10, Africa 9, Balkans 5, and Latin America 2. Let me stress that these are not PSYOP/MISO openings, but general openings.
What does all this mean? I believe it means a couple of things. First of all, even with the end of ‘conflict’ in Iraq there is still a great demand for American support. While the number of troops might decline overall, there will be a constant need for Military Information Support Operations to inform and influence the population. The numbers in Kuwait and Africa portend that, like the Balkans, any one of a number of countries can go to crap in a New York minute.
For one reason or another we don’t seem to be training foreign forces on PSYOP/MISO which means that “we” have to do it.
Given that Reserves will bear the brunt of any support effort to the Big Army, or General Purpose Force, it follows that a major US military commitment any where will more than likely call for Reserve PSYOP participation sooner or later.
Can you train as you fight if you have no idea where you are going? In certain things I believe you can. Personal conditioning, marksmanship, combat driving and survival skills are paramount. The nuances of climate may have to depend on best guess, but it wouldn’t be crazy to train for extreme heat or cold and high altitudes.
From a technical perspective, Internet PSYOP as well as TV will be employed in selected AOs and it is possible to train on editing, composing, etc. As for being ready to go anywhere at any time, given the amount of potential locations and the language/culture variations, I think this may be difficult. Having said that perhaps learning about historically disadvantaged locations such as Africa and keeping up to date on the latest regimes in Latin American and perhaps ‘the stans’ and their brethren may make good sense. Comments invited.