Thursday, February 16, 2012

Commentary on MG Jeffrey A. Jacobs’ USACAPOC (A) Town Hall Meeting 12 Feb 12

One of the Blog’s loyal readers sent me the link for the CG’s Town Hall meeting of 12 Feb 12 which you can find at:

First of all I give the Command a lot of credit for making the video available to anyone who can find it.

I thought it would be worthwhile for me to watch it and report my observations. The CG spoke for about twenty minutes then he turned the platform over to CSM Dale R. Blosser who spoke for another twenty minutes or so. The CSM addressed NCO issues such as leadership, NCOES, knowing your soldiers – all good stuff which I’m not going to comment on. Q&A followed.

First, some top level observations.

1. The CG is CA centric. He seems to be much more comfortable talking about CA and its units than MISO. Several comments gave me this impression not the least of which was his comment that the CA proponency was a 25 meter target while MISO was the 50 meter target.

2. When talking about the ‘divorce’ from SOCOM, it seems very clear that the CG felt “we were never SOF”.

3. The CG seems very comfortable with the philosophy that we are conventional forces and support conventional forces. Of course this does not preclude RC personnel supporting SF forces if the need arises and doesn’t address the issues of the normally reinforcing nature of AC and RC MISO forces.

4. The CG seems to feel that it was inappropriate for an SF schoolhouse to be the proponent for ‘conventional forces’.

5. The CG indicated that the proponency decision will be made by the Secretary of the Army and that the CA decision would come first and would, defacto, be the MISO/PSYOP decision as well.

6. The CG is keen on first line leaders taking responsibility for their troops and using tools of the 21st century like Facebook to help them in that task.

7. Training needs to be improved – however, the practical means of accomplishing this in the face of growing tasks such as the Sustained Readiness Program are making this more difficult. This is especially true for collective tasks.

The CG picked up on PT and addressed the remote management challenge of getting soldiers fit. The CG urged the use of Facebook and Cell phones by first line leaders to reach out and touch that soldier to make sure they are doing what they need to do.

First question to the CG dealt with the IT network. Sounded like an unfortunate gap due to the ‘divorce’ and seemed to confirm the fact that the USARC doesn’t regard CAPOC as a very high priority so CAPOC is expending its own resources to make ‘it’ work. Long term solution is to move on to the USAR network and “we’re working on it”.

Second question dealt with the delay in enlisted promotions – E5/E6. If you’re interested, it’s about 40 minutes into the talk. However, it does seem like APFT and Height Weight flags are a problem – so what else is new?

Third question asked about HHC soldiers getting on deployment so that they can get promoted. CAPOC is now deploying individual soldiers so this is possible and given the optempo, everyone will be deployed sooner or later.

Next question came from the Internet: what about the name change for USACAPOC – of course PSYOP is now MISO so there will be a change when the Army Institute of Heraldry changes the name of the POGs, the CAPOC name will be changed, but not any time soon.

Second question from the field – do you foresee the future of CAPAOC as active as in the past decade and do you see the Optempo increasing? CG answered: The CG of USARC and I see increased requirements for support. Involuntary mobilization is possible for unnamed peacetime operations. DOD has increased access to the reserve force. CG sees a continuing high optempo even after we’re out of Afghanistan. He felt the difference is that these mobilization and support missions will be more predictable (He probably felt this was so because we’re supporting conventional forces which are, in theory, ore predicatable.) Count on being mobilized 1 year out of every 5.

Do you See CAPOC used to support SF missions? We are not SOF we are not going to support SOF. CG cited the AC CA as the example. There will be a continuing demand for CA and MISO support for conventional forces. We will be supporting Combatant CDR around the world.

A deployed soldier asked about the AC MISO force developing a selection process. CG hasn’t heard anything – but I believe that there is work under way by SWC to do so. He then went on about CA.

CG felt that ‘we’ shouldn’t be so selective any way because we have a tough time finding soldiers who meet even the Army standard.

How can we shift G1 acting as a first line leader back to the field? Key is Company CDR and 1SG.

CG: Formations needs to show the accountability with team leaders where they are supposed to be. The sign in document is for pay not accountability.

CG felt the biggest promotion leap is from E4 to E5 because you go from follower to leader.

Next question was from a CSM in the audience about property accountability.

Question about the Presidential campaign. CG indicated you cannot do so in uniform or while on duty. Cannot give the impression that the Army supports a particular candidate. (There was an Army Reserve soldier who was at a Ron Paul rally and came up on stage in uniform.)

One more question from the Internet – as we draw down in Afghanistan do you see opportunities for CA soldiers to become PRT CDR. “Train has left the station an we’re not going to get it back in.”

The CG closed by praising the quality of the soldiers and noting that CAPOC has 7% of RC soldiers’ and account for 11% of deployment – we have a high optempo.

Photo source:


Anonymous said...

He said it - USACAPOC units are not SOF.

Time to get on getting on, and stop the squabbling over task and purpose and what the past used to be.

Get in line and follow!

Voodoo said...

Given that many (perhaps most) of the people who read this blog are not in any way obliged to get in line and follow anyone, but are instead former PSYOP affiliates, or even academics and policy makers interested in the psychological warfare capabilities of the US and the US military, it is never time to 'get on getting on'. It is instead, always time to critically consider and deconstruct any proposed argument or position, and to have a forum for open discussion regarding the state of the regiment.

The Secretary of the Army seems to think that RC PSYOP units SHOULD be returned to SOF, which is why he made the request to the SECDEF's office. Last time I checked, he trumps a 2 star.

Lawrence Dietz said...

Don't assume that most of the Blog's readers are former PSYOPers. We also get a very respectable non-US readership.

Voodoo said...

MG Jacobs has apparently responded to the blog via Facebook:

"I want to clear up some apparent misperceptions of my beliefs regarding the importance of MISO. Based on what I said at the town hall, some folks evidently think that I am "CA-centric," and they point especially to my comment that CA proponency is a 25-meter target and MISO proponency is a 50-meter target. Both MISO and CA proponency are critical issues. CA proponency, however, has more immediacy because a directive on CA proponency for the Secretary of the Army's signature is currently being staffed, and the Secretary will make a decision on CA proponency in the near future. No such action is pending with respect to MISO proponency; that is why our engagement on the MISO proponency issue is not as critical as our engagement on CA proponency right now. Rest assured that I believe that MISO and CA are equally important to USACAPOC(A), which is why I will have visited both POGs and three PSYOP battalions within my first four months in command."

How often are CA officers in command of POGs, is my question.

Lawrence Dietz said...

@Voodoo, It's nice to know that the CG or more likely someone on his staff is reading the Blog. Let me offer my personal insight WRT mobility about CA and PSYOP officers.

First of all, CA is far more 'rank heavy' than PSYOP. Assuming you want to make 05 or 06 you need to have a plan to get there.

CA units also happen to often be physically close to PSYOP units. This makes them especially desirable.

In my case I moved over to the 351st CA Command as the G2, an 06 billet. Contemporaries of mine and those a few years behind got qualified as CA Officers as 04s.

As for CA officers commanding POGs, hopefully the primary consideration is PSYOP/MISO competence, although the mystery of the Army Board system still eludes me.

Voodoo said...

Do we have PSYOP officers leading medical units, or infantry units, for that matter? Seems like the people making the decisions regarding PO elements should have an idea of how PO works.

Blossered said...

Although he seems to be no longer in the Regiment, I'd like to commend the leadership of CSM Dale R. Blosser for his past seven years of active service in bagging my wife in Waynesboro Virginia. Huzzah!

Anonymous said...

MG Jeffrey Jacobs was the worst Army leader I have ever worked closely with. The Army institution is a much better place now that he is no longer a member of it. He defined the term, "toxic leader". It's a shame that he was able to rise to the level he did. Eventually, the organizations he infected will recover.

Anonymous said...

I agree. He was the worst officer I have ever served with. No operational knowledge, total inability to motivate and inspire Soldiers. The picture of a toxic leader.

Scott Nickerson said...

Wasn't sure whether my comment came thru, but does MG A. plan to reinstate MG Morris's exception to policy allowing ALL paratroopers on status to wear the maroon beret? MG Jacobs rescinded it, but it really was a great recruiting tool (internal/external) and helped promote out image. And...I like feeling special, even if the haters in AC PSYOP don't want us to be anymore. :)