Friday, December 13, 2013

MISO: An Economic Development Resource

According to the Defense News (see:, which is also the photo source), the Presidents 2014 National Defense Strategy includes: “a push for nuclear disarmament, a rebalance of diplomatic and military attention to the Asia-Pacific region, helping build economic stability in emerging regions, and a continuing focus on the global counterterrorism mission.”

Relevance is a key to resources in the government world. I propose that MISO forces be employed in support of selected US efforts to build economic stability. 

We have discussed the relationship between MISO and Marketing. The conclusion is generally that MISO is more than marketing per se and requires a number of other skills to include military prowess and an overriding job of supporting the CDR’s mission. So that marketing guys are not necessarily good MISO practioners.

We haven’t really given much attention to the opposite – that is are MISO personnel adept enough at marketing to train others in marketing and help them in their marketing efforts? I believe the answer is a resounding yes. While I was in Bosnia I worked with the Embassy’s lead on economic development. It was clear to me that basic marketing skills – understanding the nature of how people are influenced, the local media environment and the nature of a global economy are general skills that most MISO organizations possess to one extent or another.

It seems to me that if SWC expanded the MISO curriculum to include a basic set of marketing classes and a lab on business planning, MISO soldiers would be an excellent resource to complement other economic development organizations. MISO could conceptually function as outside marketing consultants to advise local businesses on the nature of the media environment and work with them to develop basic marketing materials.

While some may argue that this would detract from the military mission and capabilities, it’s clear to me that if the Commander-in-Chief says the mission is a key piece of his military strategy – then marketing support to economic development is indeed a military mission.


Anonymous said...

The issue here is that MISO is not marketing. Consumer/commercial advertising and marketing is used to differentiate between competing product brands. No one needs to be convinced to eat. They are going to do that anyways. Marketing/advertising focuses on product attractiveness. For example: making the hamburger look more scrumptious then the pizza. MISO focuses on behavior change in non-compliant conflict environments and crisis-riven societies. Marketing and advertising has been an utterly failed model for the MISO community. It focuses on attitude rather than behavior change and has taken us down a rabbit hole of failure for years. Requiring additional education in marketing would result in complicating the MISO mission even further, and cause more confusion as to our role.

Lawrence Dietz said...

@Anon - I respect and thank you for your input. However, more knowledge does not necessarily mean more confusion and could very well broaden perspective and improve skills. What you may see as 'confusion', others may see as an opportunity to give the Branch traction.

Anonymous said...

Where (in your purview) do we need to gain traction?

Given the PSYOP Regiment has more mission requests than forces appears to me that influence efforts are a "hot commodity".

You opine that relevance is a key resource in the "Government World" -are you suggesting the PSYOP capabilities are not relevant in their current construct?

I also recommend that we stop "tinkering" with the curriculum at SWCS. If we incorporate every good idea that comes along, we will build confusion. We will confuse ourselves as a Regiment and our Government Partners.

Lawrence Dietz said...

@Anaon - my assumption is that the number of combat missions will decline overall after 2015. As for tinkering, the nature of the field is dynamic so must the training.