Monday, December 1, 2008

Pentagon Offers More Details on Military Support to Homeland Security

Today’s post expands on my posting of 25 November and is in part based on the 1 December Washington Post Article: Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security (

This article provides more details from the general information that recently became available. In particular the article describes more specifics of the military forces to be theoretically engaged in homeland security support:
“The Pentagon's plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.

If funding continues, two additional teams will join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops in supporting local and state officials nationwide. All would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it.”

While I haven’t seen all the details – presumably there are more, two things jump out at me: 1. Concentration is on the warfighting skills that military people bring to the party and 2. PSYOP support for this force would ‘technically’ come from the Reserve Component since these forces are not part of Special Operations and therefore not supported by the 4th POG.

As to the first concern, I suspect that there has been scant attention paid to the nature of PAO and how PSYOP forces may be employed as emergency information providing responders. Also I suspect that there has been no guidance issued to develop contingency planning that includes working closely with local mass media (TV and Radio especially), nor has there been much attention to funding the training and travel that would be necessary for assigned military personnel to develop and maintain relationships with local media.

An approach to remedy this shortfall might be to employ contingency PSYOP and PAO personnel, either USAR, Guard or retired that have existing links and training. As an example the Red Cross provides excellent PAO training and each chapter has a strong tie to local media because the Red Cross is a very trustworthy and photogenic source.

The second issue is one of resources – PSYOP resources are under excessive OpTempo pressure. Given the spirit of nation building likely to be embraced by the incoming administration, DoD (especially perhaps AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM) will likely find themselves more engaged than they are today. This increase will also require PSYOP forces. While small, quick response support packages might come from either the 4th POG or SOCOM, in the main RC PSYOP is likely to bear this burden.

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