Small Wars Journal

MISO: Is it Soup Yet?

MISO: Is it Soup Yet? - Lawrence Dietz, PSYOP Regimental Blog.

With lightning and a clap of thunder from the Pentagon, PSYOP is to be stricken from the Defense system just as the name Moses was removed from the legacy of Egypt. The Secretary of Defense has approved the recommendation to change PSYOP to Military Information Support and/to Operations (MISO). The Army Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey, Jr. has directed his staff to develop and orchestrate a plan designed to replace "PSYOP" with MISO in the Army (and presumably DOD) lexicon and branches.

The name change follows the recommendation of the DSLC or Defense Senior Leader's Conference. This is a conference co-hosted by SecDef (Secretary of Defense) and the CJCS (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)...

The name change has been an emotional topic and has been bandied about for years. On the one hand, "PSYOP" has a long and distinguished history with traditions and a nascent branch espirit de corps. On the other, demand for PSYOP forces is escalating and the optempo is breathtaking...

More at PSYOP Regimental Blog.


Scot (not verified)

Thu, 02/24/2011 - 9:46pm

All I can think of is that Saigon prostitute in that Viet Nam movie saying to the GI's "Me so horny...Me love you long time, GI..."...MISO, huh? I remember this from last year. We haven't heard anything more in the "Media" since. Now, Yahoo has a story about doing "mind control" on Senators visiting in Afghanistan, but no mention of "M.I.S.O." "Psy Ops" was a bandied-about term in the article, tho. Also, I remember seeing the news blip about the Pentagon opening an official "Office of Dis-Information", but announcing the next day that they were changing their minds, and really weren't gonna do that. Isn't that in itself "dis-information"? I wish you all could see me smiling now! See, I win. If this story is true, then I now know the truth. If this story is false, then I know the false. Either way, true or false, I know what I know, and that's the truth. Even if it's false. That's the truth. Even if it's false. Can I have a bowl of that M.I.S.O. soup? Even if it's Psy Ops, too. Can "Psyops2" be PsyOps stew? I doubt even Watson would be in, or on, jeopardy, answering THAT*ONE!...Q?: Why is the "Wilderness of Mirrors" empty? A: Because of all the "leaks"!~thnx, mr.vonnegut, for your service as a corpse miner. moreso your service as a wordsmith.

Recently deplo… (not verified)

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 2:18pm

AS a recently redeployed PSYOP soldier, I witnessed firsthand the transition in command atmosphere that led to this name change. In 2004-2005 I worked strictly in the "tactical" arena conducting standard loudspeaker broadcasts and I guarantee you that without trained soldiers to do what we did, it would have been a hell of a time enforcing curfews and putting out directions to large numbers of people as you encounter in cordon and searches, or as we now call them, cordon and knocks. In November 2004, we supported Operation Phanton Fury in Anbar province and we were able to move civilians off the battlefield which no doubt kept civilian casualties extremely low. During my last deployment, I operated as a team chief and spent much of my time mentoring Iraqi soldiers so that they would understand the importance of putting truth out to civilians to negate insurgent propaganda and claims. Simple information "warfare" can help reduce the amount of confusion on the battlefield. Most of this was done without help from supported units as they continued their "catch bad guy" campaigns even as USF drew down. This phase of the war has lowered confidence in US commanders of the value of PSYOP because they continue to focus on combat operations. Their interest in CA grew as they were handed millions of dollars to conduct projects in their areas, while PSYOP fell to the wayside as commanders had increasing contact with the local leaders in their operations environments, which is really what counter insurgency is all about (see PSYOP FM). As they've taken over this responsibility, which I do not argue with, they've seen less and less need for the tactical side of PSYOP. What this has led us to is a reduced perceived need for tactical PSYOP by US commanders which will make PSYOP essentially a desk job. Five years ago this never would have been the case and what is most likely is that the next war the US is involved in will reveal a huge gap in support of combat troops at the BDE and lower levels. This is a sad day, not just for PSYOP, but for USF overall. When the next war kicks off, commanders won't have the time or knowledge to fulfill the tactical PSYOP needs and the Army will be left with a bunch of "MISO" trained soldiers who don't know how to do anything but sit at a desk.

John Repischak (not verified)

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 1:04pm

Military "Information" Support "Operations"...I can see the coming confusion in an Army that interchangably confuses PSYOP and Information Operations as it is!

A PSYOP soldier (not verified)

Sun, 06/27/2010 - 12:30am

This name change is the most rediculous thing I've ever heard of. The men in charge need to get their heads out of their fourth point of contact and realize that this is going to do nothing but lower moral in current PSYOPers and make it a lot harder to get new recruits. Hell they've watered our job down so much as it is with all the red tape and political bullshit, at very least they could let us keep the one thing we have left, our name. With all the rediculous ROEs, and limitations our Army already has, it won't be long before were not even gonna be allowed to shoot at them. I'm not anyone that has credability when it comes to making decisions, but if this is the kind of leadership we're going to have to deal with in the future, one that cares more about our public image than actually getting shit done, then I really can't see us going very far as an Army, or a nation for that matter. When are they going to wake up and realize that its probably more important to actually win this war on terror than worry about what everyone in the world thinks about us, like were some kind of pre-pubecent teenage girl putting on too much make-up because she's too insecure with her looks.

-A PSYOP soldier

MAJ Chris Isgrig

Fri, 06/25/2010 - 10:34am

Another excercise in rebranding and sympathetic magic. Any name becomes what people associate with it, so whatever they call it I hopw they make a good name for themselves. I know that the name "psyops" has grown to include a lot of confusing associations that may distract from their mission. Doubtlessly the name MISO will have a short half-life and will decay into one of those terms only found in doctrine publications. There is a certain inflexibility that reflect the limitations of control over what people call things. Witness the growth of the term "IED" and how it has eclipsed other terms like "mechanical ambush" and "car bomb". So soon enough MISO will retreat to the un-opened manuals and the term used will be decided in the field.

Joe Snuffy (not verified)

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 11:39pm

I would have suggested "Perceptual Orchestration, Organization and Planning" (POOP). Many imagine that PSYOP is full of science and intrigue. In reality, it is little more than a self-perpetuating confidence game that involves impressive-sounding sales pitches for capabilities that do not so neatly exist: projections of influence in direct accordance with the will of the commander. It is a well-developed scam in which our own strategic decision makers appear to be the rubes.

What the Army has is a travesty that burns dollars like garbage. The solution? Contract some of it out to civilian professionals (and academics) but leave the real wizz-bang stuff to the State Department and OGAs. As for the "PSYOP legacy," the 4th POG's intitutional ego is probably the single greatest obstruction to our development of a genuinely integrated IO strategy. We should hope this name change heralds the beginning of the end for that organization--and the dawning of a new era in integrated information warfare. Our competitors on the global stage will not wait.

Anonymous (not verified)

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 2:23pm

So instead of PSYOPers they'll be MISOgynists?

Anonymous (not verified)

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 10:05am

"and/to" operations?

You've got to be kidding me.

Anonymous (not verified)

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 6:50am

Yeah well, some of us joined Psychological Operations because it sounded awesome for it's name alone. Today, we fall under people who get to dictate and control what we do without knowing fully what our capabilities are. To now have the name changed from PSYOP to MISO is a slap in the face. The intimidation factor brought on by the words alone are what attracts many recruits to the MOS. Now when you hear MISO you might as well just join admin or supply. I love my job as a PSYOP soldier and I have been a PSYOP baby for four years now. All the name change has done for moral here is convince everyone to now reclass or join a different branch of service. Hell, now I'm thinking about just joining the marines. I can't even tell people what I do anymore because it sounds pathetic so, thanks for changing the name. Maybe you should have done what a PSYOP soldier does and pre-test the name first before freaking changing it. Then maybe MISO wouldn't have ever been created.

Bill Meara

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 1:32am

I think I may have started this. Well, at least the first three letters: Back in 1985 I was in the 1st PSYOP Battalion. We were trying to get some projects going in Honduras, but the officials who needed to approve them kept getting freaked out by the Manchurian Candidate connotations of "PSYOP." So, I came up with a new name: The Military Information Support Team. Yea! THE MIST! They loved it. This story of acronym creation appears in my book "Contra Cross"

Anonymous (not verified)

Wed, 06/23/2010 - 8:28pm

MISO - said as "mee soo" as in "mee soo" confused!!!!


Wed, 06/23/2010 - 8:10pm

Seriously? That must be a hell of a write up for a OER or Legion of Merit. I renamed PSYOP MISO...