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: http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/intelligence-and-combat-support/psychological-operations-officer.html