The PSYOP Regimental Association is on its way. For years the PSYOP Community has been served by two different associations. The PSYOP Veterans Association (POVA) composed of Viet Nam Veterans and whose main concern is their annual reunion. The PSYOP Association (POA) has been more of an educational resource sponsoring the acclaimed electronic Front Post. Neither accumulated a critical mass of membership nor were they influential in the grand scheme of things.
The new PRA is based at what one of my CDR’s used to call “the center of the universe” – Fort Bragg. The serving MISO Community is driving the train as it should be. (See http://www.psyopra.com). If you are a part of the PSYOP/MISO world, you need to support the PRA because it is positioned to accomplish the mission of sustaining the esprit of the Branch, something the other two societies could not.
The PRA’s by-laws start out:
Section 1: The Association is a Veteran Service Organization. Accordingly, the purpose for which the association is formed are:
(1) Foster tradition, history and camaraderie among all Officers and Non-commissioned Officers; Active Duty and Reserve; Civilian and Retired; Printers, Broadcasters, and Graphic Designers that have contributed to the success of the Psychological Operations Regiment.
(2) Educate the PSYOP force and circulate professional ideas through publishing a regular Association publication available to all members and by hosting professional lectures to further educate members of the PSYOP Regiment.
(3) Recognize excellence within the PSYOP regiment through the Regimental Award, recognizing outstanding Soldier efforts in the POQC/SC, AIT and PSYOP Soldiers and NCOs of the year.
(4) Commemorate fittingly the memory of Psychological Operations troops who have paid the ultimate price in defense of American ideals.
(5) To be a source of pride and esprit de corps for all Psychological Operations / Military Information Support Operations units.
While I know the PRA is just starting out – there are two key elements missing: educating the “Big Army” and informing Congress. The former can certainly be accomplished by serving MISO personnel, while informing Congress cannot. Serving military have certain restrictions that likely include lobbying.
Over the years budget battles have required a presence in the Halls of Congress. The Air Force has earned a well-deserved reputation for being help to farm the funds they need while the Army in general has not. Given that the Reserve Force is still part of the “Big Army” and that the funding challenges of the past will seem like child’s play compared to the post-Afghanistan world, someone, likely an Association has to carry the PSYOP mantle to our elected officials. Perhaps the PRA can carve out part of its membership willing to take on the task – if not, don’t expect MISO to be treated kindly over the next decade.