Monterey, California is among the nicest places in the world. The Pacific is breathtaking and it boasts a variety of natural and manmade treasures. And even though it is not exactly a low rent neighborhood, it hosts the Defense Language Institute (DLI) and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). The NPS is among the most progressive of military institution and has successfully positioned itself as a “Center of Excellence” in several areas such as Information Operations and Homeland Security. Interestingly enough it has also pioneered the concept of a Civil Affairs (CA) Center of Excellence and there is talk of creating a similar PSYOP institution.
(Photo Source: The Author)
Given the world situation, the optempo and the growing need for both of these critical missions, the time has certainly come. There are also significant murmurings of the reserve components for CA and PSYOP to once again be part of the SOF world. This is another move that is long overdue.
Both CA and PSYOP need to nurture the academic side of their branches. Both branches will face heightened demand in the 21st century because they are vital across the spectrum of conflict. Faced with a changing political and technological environment in which to operate, the branches need to have some academic space to think about how to optimize the way their soldiers are prepared to execute the mission. This type of strategic/academic thinking is best when not influenced by the current doctrine so as to avoid tunnel vision and the ‘we always did it that way’ syndrome.
Kudos to all those involved and be prepared to write your Senator and Congressperson when it comes time for budgets and funding.