Monday, August 6, 2012

PSYOP Training in the 21st Century

I’m up in Idaho for my annual summer rural reintegration training. As I pondered this Blot entry I recalled that it’s been quite a while since I went through the POOQ (PSYOP Officer Qualification Course). 

Like most Reserve courses of the day, as I recall, it was a combination of correspondence and physical attendance. I also had the opportunity of attending the US Army War College Distance Learning program from which I graduated in 2002. Since 2009 I’ve been teaching on-line for American Military University.

I’ve noted some ‘issues’ between the AC and RC with respect to training and qualifications. My stated philosophy is that both AC and RC soldiers and officers need to be trained to the same standard and perhaps more importantly need to be able to work with each other quickly, under stress with mutual respect and trust.

The AC POOQ is taught in 6 phases and extends over 40 weeks long. The Reserve program involves about 4 weeks at Fort Bragg which overlap the last phase of the Military Information Support Operations (MISO) Core and the two week Cumulative Exercise (CULEX). Some NCOs are also involved in the CULEX as well.

In looking over the AC program at Bragg there are some obvious differences in addition to the time factor. PT is an ever present part of the training and there is of course M4 and M9 qualification. AC folks also get language training that RC personnel do not. 

Another unknown for me is the scope and depth of the CORE subjects on both sides of the ledger. While I don’t think language training is an absolute requirement, I do believe that the use of interpreters needs to be a core subject mastered by all PSYOP Officers. 

It occurred to me that the Resident Phase IV (MISO Core) could include some distance learning components to allow the AC and RC officers to cross fertilize the courses and broaden their mutual experiences. 

I’m also wondering if there is a battery of tests and a  series of role play exercises that are administered at the end of the Core phase. In my mind there needs to be an assurance that all officers have the same baseline of achievement with respect to the Core materials.

I also noted that the AC Graduation Week has a Regimental Induction. I am hopeful that the RC is a part of that event so that all of the graduates recognize that they are a part of the same Regiment. It would be a pity to disperse a cohort that had spent two weeks together in a Culmination Exercise without completing the process of bonding and incorporation into a greater whole.

As always – comments invited.

Photo source:


Voodoo said...

The training discrepancies between the two components simply needs to be eliminated. If an 18 series for the NG can devote the time and energy to qualifying, so can a 37.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Voodoo...well said.

Rest assured Mr. Dietz - The Regimental Induction Ceremony includes Reserve Component Graduates, too.

It would be great to eliminate the "1st Training Brigade" altogether - and have all 37s train together at Fort Bragg, in the same pipeline, in the same fashion.

Anonymous said...

Instead of opining about the differences, why don't you come down to Bragg and get a bird's eye view?

Distance Learning can never replicate resident training - where the exchange of ideas and experiences are truly the foundation of education.

Lawrence Dietz said...

@Anon, it would be my pleasure, I'm just never invited.

Anonymous said...

Having the status and title of former Honorary Colonel of the Regiment would lead me to believe that you don't need a personal invitation to attend a graduation ceremony.

But, if that's your reason, who am I to argue it.

Lawrence Dietz said...

Don't misconstrue an Honorary former title. Frankly as the Honorary Colonel I was only invited twice in 7 years. One does not just show up at Bragg - especially from California.

Anonymous said...

Come on down for the upcoming Graduation and MISOC First Formation...I know you were invited this time.

Lawrence Dietz said...

@ Anon - no invitation received on this end.