Once upon a time, a long time ago, there were a gazillion Soviet Divisions and America regarded the Division as the building block of the Army. Support functions like MI and PSYOP built their organizations to support these entities and the HQ above them. Today, the Army uses the Brigade as the building block for forces and in keeping with the budget reductions, the Army has announced that it is reducing the number of brigades from “45 to as low as 32” according to a January 25, 2012 article published by the Associated Press (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/25/army-to-cut-combat-brigades/).
While this was going on the Navy Seals executed another successful mission in Somalia from a base in Djibouti. The Djibouti base is being hailed as the model for small force footprints for future operations. (Photo Source: http://www.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=14983&rog3=DJ)
Taken together these two items present some interesting challenges and opportunities for PSYOP.
First of all, PSYOP teams will be required to operate independently more than ever before. They will also be expected to be highly deployable, yet able to bring to bear all the sophistication that today’s 7x24 news world demands. Frankly, I have little doubt that the teams will be able to execute their missions brilliantly.
My concern is Command and Control (C2). It appears that the traditional Group, Battalion, Company structure is being turned upside down. Hybrid operations be they Special Operations or General Purpose Force centric will require tailored C2 that can not only direct the operation but bring to bear the ‘reachback’ or other support necessary to conceptualize, produce and distribute the PSYOP work product necessary to succeed in these complex and unstructured missions.
Not only do we need significant organizational flexibility, probably involving well trained 04s and 05s to command and staff these hybrid HQ, but the linkages in doctrine and organization across both the Special and General Purpose Forces to insure seamless integration into the myriad of new missions and environments.