Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taken To Task – And Lovin’ It

Over the past few weeks Voodoo and Anonymous have been quite vocal in their thoughts and opinions. Frankly I couldn’t be more delighted! The military is a team sport and each of us has a position to play. Of course standing in one position you can only get one view of what’s going on. In order to succeed it is critical to understand and appreciate the other points of view. Unless you are able to develop the broader perspective, your enemy is bound to win.

As most of you readers know I started my career in MI and moved into PSYOP about half way through my career. However, I did have two pure MI jobs in CAPOC units: S2 at the 7th POG and G2 at the 351st CA Command. The fact that I was able to move in and out of MI slots in both active and reserve organizations was something I just took for granted and it wasn’t until Voodoo’s last comment that this transparency came back to me.

Clearly if MI and SF have been able to develop mission/slot transparency then we in the MISO world must do the same. Officers and NCOs have to work synergistically to accomplish this goal. Officers, especially at the GO level can pave the way for force development and training by helping to orchestrate the funding and other resources that are necessary. The Officer Corps is responsible for managing up to the DOD even though it is our collective responsibility to ‘educate’ Congress as much as we can.

Soldier training however must be the province of the NCOs. While good officers understand what their soldiers do on the job and can pitch in when necessary, we are just not in a position to determine the proper training strategy and the details behind it. This assumes that NCOs are thinking about what soldiers need to accomplish and in their role of ‘running the Army’ consider the best ways and means of insuring that all MISO soldiers, regardless of component, are able to perform to the same standard.

As a nation we are entering a new and critical era. The pressure on budget cuts will not ignore the Department of Defense and the Army will certainly not be immune either. It’s possible that the Special Operations Community will fare better than the rest, but they too may face cuts. This means that the MISO community needs to think a bit into the future. Military slots will be harder to come by and to get the better ones, like MISO and MI, soldiers and officers alike will have to bite the bullet in terms of the usual doing more with less, but also in terms of time commitments outside of combat tours.

The demand for troops (not necessarily contractors of course) is down in Iraq and is on a down ward trend in Afghanistan. Notwithstanding needs in Africa and Latin America, the handwriting on the wall is for military cuts.

Top level leadership needs to accelerate the pace for a decision on the future of the MISO force and if it is all going to be one happy family under SOF, let’s do it and move forward, if not let’s decide that as well. In any event it is incumbent on SWC in concert with their AC and RC customers to craft a forward thinking training strategy that will optimize the force and takes into account the lean times that are likely to be ahead of us.

Monday, September 12, 2011

RC MISO Reintegration Into SOF Nixed By Dep Asst Sec Def for SO and CT

Highly reliable intelligence sources have indicated that Garry P. Reid, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism did in fact non-concur with the recommendation to designate RC MISO forces as SOF. The Secretary admitted that “..the current situation with RC MISO forces is clearly sub-optimal and must be changed” and that “Since RC MISO forces were moved out of SOF in 2006, they have experienced significant difficulties obtaining support from the Army, and the overall influence capability of the department has suffered as a result.”

Secretary Reid also said that his office “is willing to lead an effort to fully consider all options for the RC MISO force and related inform and influence capabilities and organizations or to participate as a full partner in any discussions or working groups.”

The Secretary’s action begs me to ask the question “who is in charge of fixing the problem”? As a CDR and High Tech Executive I used to thank staff for bringing me a complete and detailed description of a problem, then -- I would ask them for a recommended solution.

While I have never worked in the Pentagon, and confess I really don’t understand all the machinations of the different offices there, I believe this kind of inaction without proposing alternatives to be considered reflects a lack of organizational courage. The buck has to stop somewhere and frankly we are past the time for it do so.

Photo Source: http://policy.defense.gov/solic/soct/leadership.aspx

Friday, September 9, 2011

A 9/11 Commentary

All of us were affected by 9/11 one way or another. Whether it was multiple OCONUS tours or getting used to taking your shoes off at airports. On one hand MISO optempo remains brisk and DOD can’t seem to get its collective act together to address problems that are generally acknowledged.

On the other hand, individual MISO soldiers continue to exceed expectations on the job and can take pride in their ability to support the CDR across the globe and combat spectrum. The past decade has witnessed long and expensive wars. Iraq is no longer an enemy state run by a dictator, but it is surely not a democratic friend either.

Afghanistan remains a sub-feudal state with ingrained corruption and a populace that doesn’t appreciate our presence there more than they did the Russians.

An unfortunate and generally ignored by-product of all this is the welfare of the men and women who have sacrificed much to support their country by doing whatever was asked of them, when it was asked and wherever that duty took them.

Over the years many of our brothers and sisters who have served have not fared well after their service. Unemployment, depression, addiction and homelessness have been their companions. As you think about life after 9/11, consider why you should be thankful for what you have.

My personal remembrance for 9/11 will be volunteering at a VA organized stand down for homeless veterans, remember and support our brothers and sisters in the way you are most comfortable, for any one of us could have been or may need the support of others in the future.

FAQ on VA Stand down in Boulder Creek, CA: http://www.paloalto.va.gov/sbsd_faq.asp. Photo source: http://www.paloalto.va.gov/sbsd_directions.asp