One of the reasons I like working exercises is that they are a way to see what you can do and what you can’t do. A couple of weeks ago I served as the IO Role Player in an exercise simulating assisting a country with some disaffected military and political issues. This required me to act as the Staff IO Officer, but more importantly I’m in the weeds of the MISO support to the operation. While the scenario and MESL are both pre-written, sometimes the Exercise Director throws a curve ball.
During the last exercise I had to plan a MISO from scratch. Of course I had to figure out the MISO part – but there were other things I had to do and know before I could even approach the MISO component.
First I had to think like the CDR. No matter how detailed the CONOP, or how many briefings are given and received, there is always something that is left out and you need to understand the hidden or implicit elements of the big operation and your piece of it.
You need to be comfortable with mapping the main operation and your piece. In our world this may also mean understanding the nuances of the terrain and the weather as they might effect leaflet drops or radio wave propagation.
We also need to understand the information and digital battlefields. This means knowing your traditional high payoff media, and how you might integrate social media and mobile phones. Consider how the country would be informed of a natural disaster across a large area and be sure you understand the legal and regulatory landscape as well.
Once you have crafted your MISO, you’ll need to develop MOE. Lastly you need to develop alternative MISO COA so that you can quickly adjust your influence fires depending on the outcome of your MISO and the ‘big’ operation.
As always, reader input is encouraged!