Two major developments are in progress that will have a profound impact on PSYOP/MISO forces, doctrine and TTP. The first is the Obama administration emphasis of SF over General Purpose Forces (GPF) in Afghanistan. (See for example the Washington Post article of 5 Feb 12 – US to elevate Special Operations forces’ role in Afghanistan at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-to-elevate-special-operations-forces-role-in-afghanistan/2012/02/05/gIQAK3VMsQ_story.html). The second is the Obama Administration’s plans for forward basing and high tech tools as a means of reducing the cost of conflict and coping with an unpredictable 21st Century. (Check out Washington Post 6 Feb 12: The Pentagon’s new view of warfare at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-pentagons-new-view-of-warfare/2012/02/02/gIQAWRHAvQ_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines.)
Conceptually the PSYOP AC forces supports SF while the RC force support the GPF. Does it necessarily follow that the AC will be the only force in Afghanistan and that the RC will be faced with staffing remote bases around the globe?
As they said in Porgy & Bess “It Ain’t Necessarily So”. Having two classes of PSYOP/MISO soldiers just strikes me as inefficient at best and derelict at worst. We have already seen several, if not many, instances where the PSYOP/MISO force was simply not adequate to deal with all the requirements. We know that today’s 7x24 instantaneous news environment means that MISO will be more important than ever in future operations and we have also seen that it is almost impossible to predict whether the challenge model will be Libya, Haiti, Katrina, Iraq or Afghanistan.
This brings us back to the core issues of force development and training. Clearly the future force will continue to be a blend of AC and RC. Given the budget constraints and the political environment, boosting the AC head count will be more difficult than previously thought. It is also abundantly clear that PSYOP/MISO troops will need to be better trained and equipped than previously and they will need more versatile. This means that demanding, realistic training must be provided by a single, accountable Branch Proponent.
The need for an optimally trained and prepared force may mean a re-thinking of the training time – school house and field as well as a new paradigm for RC active duty stints. Ultimately we may have to think in terms of ‘semesters’ of active duty rather than days or weeks.
As always, reader comments invited.
Photo source: www.dcmilitary.com; January 27, 2012