For those of you who may live in a cave, or who are not familiar with the state of the PSYOP force within the Department of Defense, the “Divorce” in the context of MISO and PSYOP means the bifurcation of AC and RC MISO under two different chains of command. The AC is designated Special Operations Forces (SOF) and falls under the Special Operations Command through the Army Special Operations Command (ASOC) while the RC is (at least for the moment) part of the “Big Army”.
This split exists in spite of the fact that SOCOM is responsible for providing MISO specific equipment and that a SOF School (the Fort Bragg based JFK Special Warfare Center) is the proponent and trainer of all soldiers in the PSYOP Branch/Career Field.
This week I had the pleasure of portraying the senior Information Operations (IO) Officer for a notional joint task force (JTF) performing a Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO). While the exact doctrine I employed may not have been the latest, I was able to act as the orchestrator of MISO, PA, and EW to insure the synergistic effects of these functions, avoid information fratricide and provide guidance as to implementation options and capabilities.
As an unplanned for ‘crisis’ event the MISO support for the NEO was provided by the AC MISO force. However, as the CDR evaluated his evolving situation he tasked his staff to come up with alternative courses of action (COA) just in case the President ordered the TF to transition to stability operations.
I figured that part of what I needed to do was to determine the MISO requirements to support this new mission and the best way to get them for the boss.
Fortunately I have some very good friends who are on top of these things and so I was able to get incredibly quick responses to my inquiries. It would appear that the level of manning and the skills I projected for the mission was about right.
The question of where they would come from was another matter.
My analysis came up with the following alternatives:
1. While the AC is not doctrinally or officially tasked with providing long-term (more than 30 days) support to the Conventional Force (CF), they could provide the support if they wanted to and the Command agreed.
2. The RC would not be able to provide personnel unless they were mobilized and that could take as long as 3 to 6 months extending beyond the actual need.
Given this is a hypothetical situation. The question remains – where does it leave the force if this type of contingency arises as it very well might in the not too distant future?