I am fortunate enough to participate in several FTXs as a SME/Role Player. I’m always the MISO guy and most of the time the IO guy as well. Not only to I have to contribute in my specialty area, but, I’m called upon to function as a part of a simulated large staff for a JTF CDR, typically a two star. I also have to coordinate with the related and indirect contributors to IO and more often than not function as an educational resource to help explain how all these elements have to work together synergistically to accomplish the CDR’s mission.
This means that I have to be able to represent our craft in a realistic and competent manner. Merely commenting is not enough – I actually have to perform as if I were ‘on the job’.
However, knowing is never the same as doing. There is no substitute for being under time pressure to deliver a concept or a work product that implements the CDR’s guidance and concepts to further mission accomplishment.
It’s also satisfying to be part of a team that by functioning as a professional unit and is able to convey teaching points by doing and provide objective and informed feedback to a group of students as mentors.
I’ve also learned that while the Internet is certainly a great resource and an indispensible part of today’s MISO toolbox, there is no substitute for having a team member who has actually been to the AO recently and understands the environment. I’ve also learned that a Joint environment is often an exercise in new acronyms and jargon. Being able to speak the lingua franca of the Command is a prerequisite to doing your job.
I also forgot how tiring it can be to put in a long shift and then have to ‘go home’ and deal with your ‘day job’ and the other aspects of life that go on regardless of what you have planned.
I must say that this has been one of the best FTXs I’ve had the pleasure to participate in and I am blessed to be able to continue to be a part of the evolution of PSYOP.