Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Time to Salute and Execute!

OK - the name change is done, now get over it. We have much too much other stuff to deal with. Sources indicate that DOD is considering reversing the divorce and putting MISO back under SOF. The momentum for a vibrant Regimental Association is growing, so let's all be good soldiers receiving a lawful order.

Here are the words of one of our community members:

With respect for ALL PSYOP'ers past and present...

PSYOP... MISO... Tomatoes, tomatillos...
Look, bottom line; we get the information/intel AND results that the CO's need for their respective AO's.

Influencing: check
Collecting and analyzing data: check
Conducting/executing bottom driven missions to impact region specific demographics: check
Mediation: check
Force Security: check
Giving credibility to occupying Friendly Forces: check
Winning the Hearts AND Minds: check

TPT's TDT's, MISO Teams, whatever label is out there, Active Duty and Reserve; it doesn't matter; WE GET THE JOB DONE...

Make sure we take care of our Troops and everything will fall in line.

Peace and Love to ALL my Brother and Sister PSYOP'ers out there!

Drive on!


Friday, July 22, 2011

PSYOP/MISO: Battlefield Wild Card

I have just finished my 4th iteration of being the PSYOP/MISO SME for an exercise for Public Affairs Officers. The scenario is that a Joint Task Force (JTF) is deployed in a semi-permissive tactical environment to provide Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) at the invitation of the government of a nation stricken by an earthquake.

(Photo source:

While the actual tactical situation is merely the backdrop for the real purpose of the exercise – exposing junior PAOs to life on a Joint Staff commanded by a 2*, I was able to give some thought to how MISO would support an actual operation of this kind especially if the tactical environment turned ugly.

As long as the environment is permissive, meaning no one is shooting at us, MISO functions primarily as an information channel. Loudspeaker teams with appropriate speakers or recorded messages would broadcast locations and schedules for aid distribution. Host nation and JTF print resources could be used to print with signs directing people to the aid resources and educational messages designed to teach people how to reduce their susceptibility to water borne diseases like Cholera and Typhus. Loudspeakers could also be used to broadcast into a collapsed building to assure the victims that help was there.

What happens when the bad guys start shooting? There is a great deal of doctrine and precedent on how Tactical PSYOP Teams (TPT) support the CDR in a traditional force on force situation. There’s a lot less out there on how TPT would be involved against insurgents in localized firefights – or if they would be at all.

Given that many insurgent operations are ‘hit and run’ – it strikes me that the MISO emphasis must be more on the long-term campaign, the one designed to convince adversaries to join the good guys. Perhaps there is a place for deception in making the bad guys think we have more resources than we do, or to induce them to direct their firepower at the wrong targets.

In some situations MISO could give way to EW and CNO under the right circumstances and for the proper targets. These IO options can generate the positive psychological effects as direct PSYOP/MISO.

Reader comment invited.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What's In A Name?

It’s been almost a year since the PSYOP/MISO name hullabaloo and I find myself back at DINFOS at the almost ½ waypoint in another exercise. As the IO maven (expert) I’m have had to explain why the 4th PSYOP Group is now the 4th Military Information Support Group (MISG), but the 2nd and 7th PSYOP Groups are still PSYOP Groups and all PSYOP Battalions are PSYOP Battalions. Mostly I’m net with a bunch of shoulder shrugs and a pitter patter of keyboard strokes and plans, orders and slides are dutifully updated.

The notion of a PSYOP Assessment Team (POAT) becoming a Military Information Support Operations (MISO) Assessment Team doesn’t seem to be quite as bitter a pill to swallow as the unit mish mash, at least so far.

Stay tuned to see how things get sorted out as the exercise picks up its optempo over next week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Last POG Change of Command

On 25 June 11 I had the honor and privilege of attending the last change of Command for a PSYOP Group (POG). The name change initiative moving through the Department of Defense will no doubt mean that the next changes will be of Military Information Support Groups (MISG) or something similar.

Strangely I was reminded of the song from the Lion King – Circle of Life. People come and go, but units go on, in this case, however, a bit of the history has been made because of the name change.

It was also a time to reflect on how the mantle of authority has been passed to a new generation. I used to think that the hallmarks of being a retired officer was that not only did most of your old uniforms not fit, but that they have been replaced by newer versions.

In the case of the 7th POG, I knew that a new generation of leaders was in place because one of the PSYOP Bn CDR was a LT during my deployment to Bosnia. I was quite pleased and proud that perhaps some of the personal legacy that I established during my career would be passed on to future PSYOP soldiers.

Fortunately for me I’m still involved in the community and will have the opportunity of playing SME – Subject Matter Expert at an upcoming Field Planning Exercise. Where else but in America, could I get paid to pretend I’m a grumpy Colonel!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moving from Coach to Player Is Harder Than It Sounds

I’ve been fortunate enough to have several successful careers. I retired as an 06 from the Army Reserve and did quite well in High Tech Marketing/Market Research/Customer Support. Subsequent to parting with my last full time employer at the end of 2006 I’ve been able to grow my legal career to include general counsel, part time judge work and admission to the Bar of the US Supreme Court.

Photo Source:

Given all that experience I thought it would be relatively easy to move from coach and kibitzer to player. Not quite. When you are senior in your career you have obligations and principles that have served you well over the years you learn not to ignore them.

First and foremost is the obligation to family. While military personnel often have to sacrifice their family life for the good of the service, that’s not the case with civilians – we can pick and chose where to spend our time. Putting my family first has been a cardinal principle for me. Obligations and promises that are made are kept.

A second cardinal principle is that an organization that doesn’t seem to have its act together while trying to sell you something or recruit you, probably won’t deliver exceptional customer service after the sale or be a very supportive employer. While this may not be true all of the time, history has proven this to be the case more often than not.

For the past several weeks I’ve been in the process of investigating OCONUS contractor jobs. While there’s no question about my ability to do the job, , I’m no longer able to just pick up and leave my normally staid life for 7 day work weeks in a hostile zone.

If I’m going to go through the mental and emotional machinations of considering this drastic kind of move, it behooves the organization trying to get me to do so to act with certainty, have all their facts, be consistent and generally make the idea more appealing and the process responsive and transparent.

When an organization abruptly changes its mind, even for the best of reasons, this means, as my Dad used to say “you’re just a number”. Well, as Patrick McGoohan said “I am not a number, I am free man”. (See opening sequence of the Prisoner:

My opportunity to move to the playing field is gone for now, but look forward to continued kibitzing.