The principle of Unity of Command is a core tenet of military operations. Unity of Command increases accountability, prevents freelancing, improves the flow of information, helps with the coordination of operational efforts, and enhances operational safety.
There is no denying that today’s battlefield is unlike those of the past. Afghanistan has evolved throughout the past decade into a mosaic of AOs, each with its own bred of enemy. PSYOP, now MISO is critical to the battle and to the maintenance of a lasting peace. Given the length of the conflict and the amorphous nature of the enemy, not to mention the criticality of the recalcitrant ally, Pakistan, it would seem that DOD should do all it can to organize for success.
The diagram at right is my view of the PSYOP/MISO chain of command. To quote Harry Truman, the buck stops at the top, in this case with the Secretary of Defense. To even the most casual of observers this should appear ludicrous. Even if we argue that the MISG and the POG are troop providers, there is no easy way to determine if the forces being provided are trained and ready for the mission at hand.
In my view the force needs to be united and united under a single Command. Furthermore, the Branch Proponent as to be the Proponent for entire branch, not just one component or the other. While President Obama may declare the war in Iraq over today (15 December 11), it is not since Iraq has not shown that it is capable of standing on its own. The notion of Afghanistan being self-sufficient after 2014 is also pretty farfetched at this point.
Influence operations support will likely be more in demand over time. As yet unnamed conflicts in Africa, Latin America and Asia will surely require PSYOP/information support. This support cannot be developed overnight. As we stare the budget cuts in the face, it is incumbent on DOD to finally get off the dime and move RC PSYOP back into the SOF world where it belongs.