Thursday, June 28, 2012

Next Stop For PSYOP/MISO: Africa?

I don’t often use the Washington Times as a news source, but a June 25, 2012 article came to my attention from the Defense News Early Bird. “US expanding military aid, intelligence in Africa” (see, which is also the photo source).

The thrust of the article was that terrorism was a growing concern in Africa and that the US had been ramping up counter terrorism operations via military aid, and intelligence in Africa. In addition to these efforts the US is involved in ongoing training and support efforts as part of the Africa Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA). Requirements for this Peace Keeping training include graduation from Command and General Staff College (or equivalent) and expertise in at least one Combat Arms, Combat Service or Combat Service Support US MOS. Instructors should also have staff experience at the BN or Bde level.

If for the moment we assume that MISO is now an integral part of US operating doctrine it should follow that MISO doctrine and operations would be part of any training designed to train foreign military personnel in that doctrine should include MISO. This would be especially true of the Peace Keeping environment where MISO plays an integral role.

This also means new requirements for language and cultural expertise. In fact a demand for some of more popular languages such as French, Portuguese or Castilian Spanish is already on the table. Cultural expertise is another matter as each country presents a different cultural mosaic and past conflicts have sometimes irrevocably reinforced tribal and ethnic hatreds.

Thus far the demand is a trickle, but how many of us really knew much about Afghanistan before September 2011? No doubt AFRICOM will have its share of terrorist or war criminal missions and subtle changes are likely in the future of the base in Djibouti. 

The AFRICOM AO presents the familiar challenge of trying to support foreign militaries without a significant US footprint and General Carter Ham’s stated goal of partnership oriented engagement. No doubt part of the challenge is what level of MISO expertise, if any does the DOD want to share with its fledgling African partners and what sort of training and assistance effort makes the most sense given the impending decline in demand from Afghanistan.

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