If MI is Deploying A Bde HQ – What About PSYOP/MISO?

If MI is Deploying A Bde HQ – What About PSYOP/MISO?I knew I was under the gun to post something today and was concerned I couldn’t find anything of interest until I found this piece of ‘news’. On March 10, 2017 the Fayetteville (NC) Observer published an article headed “Military Intelligence soldiers head to Afghanistan” (see: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170309/military-intelligence-soldiers-head-to-afghanistan; which is also the photo source). The article noted: “The brigade will assume the mission of Task Force Observe, Detect, Identify and Neutralize (ODIN), which is an Army aviation battalion chartered in 2006 to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition operations to defeat the threat of improvised explosive devices.The battalion has been used to “win back the roads,” by conducting persistent missions over at-risk areas for improvised explosive devices, according to the Army.” According to the Bde’s website “We are the Army’s Intelligence BDE of choice; providing rapidly deployable, multi-discipline help tailored to the warfighter. The Lightning BDE’s core tenant is P.R.I.D.E.-Professional, Ready, Innovative, Dedicated, and Effective.” (source: https://www.bragg.army.mil/index.php/units-tenants/xviii-airborne-co/525th-expeditionary-military-intelligence-brigade)On March 15, 2017 Task and Purpose reported that “US Draws Up Plans For 1,000 More Troops in Syria as Raqqa Siege Looms (see: http://taskandpurpose.com/us-draws-plans-1000-troops-syria-raqqa-siege-looms/; source for photo at left.)There have also been calls for bolstering US Troops in Afghanistan as featured in the NY Times of February 9, 2017 (“U.S. General Seeks ‘a Few Thousand’ More Troops in Afghanistan”, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/us/politics/us-afghanistan-troops.html?_r=0; photo source as well.)I cannot comment on whether all of these developments are related, but, it does seem sweet clear that the OpTempo is picking up yet again. Given the contemporary MISO Force strategy wherein the USAR PSYOP Groups help ‘the Huge Army” and the active MISO Force supports Unique Operations Forces this can only mean more proceedings for both.The MISO community is a small one and any OpTempo increase impacts the entire community.  This puts more pressure on the Reserve Force whose members have deployed extensively to Iraq and Afghanistan. These deployments have place pressure on families that may translate into a reduced Reserve force as family members are fatigued with prolonged absences and reenlistments decline preciptiously.From a career perspective, even though Reserve soldiers have the protection of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) many careers have been torpedoed by continual absences that are often not offset by comparable increases in health care and pension benefits.Experience has shown that dominating the shape battlefield is the key to long-term victories. Iraq has clearly shown that failure to work with the country’s population and prepare them to help rebuild their will lead to yet more conflict.Notwithstanding the impact on the Force, it would seem that America’s longest war in Afghanistan is nowhere close to ending. One wonders if we have learned our lessons from both Iraq and Afghanistan and if contemporary our military strategy is putting as much emphasis on shape combat as it seems to be on military operations and training.Failure to help mature the media landscape to help foster peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and Iraq may turn out to be more catastrophic in the long run than any lapse in military expertise. 

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Survival of the … Nicest?

Eric Michael Johnson wrote the subsequent article for How Cooperatives Are Driving the New Economy, the Spring 2013 issue of YES! Magazine. Eric is a doctoral student in the history of science at the University of British Columbia. His research examines the interplay between evolutionary biology and politics.
A century ago, industrialists like Andrew Carnegie believed that Darwin’s theories justified an economy of vicious competition and inequality. They left us with an ideological legacy that says the corporate economy, in which wealth concentrates in the hands of a few, produces the best for humanity. This was always a distortion of Darwin’s thoughts. His 1871 book The Descent of Man argued that the human species had succeeded because of traits like sharing and compassion. “Those communities,” he wrote, “which included the greatest digit of the most sympathetic members would flourish best, and rear the greatest digit of offspring.” Darwin was no economist, but wealth-sharing and cooperation have always looked more consistent with his observations in this area human survival than the elitism and hierarchy that dominates contemporary corporate life.
Corporate culture imposes uniformity, mandated from the top down, throughout the organization. But the cooperative—the financial model in which a assemble of members owns a business and makes the rules in this area how to run it—is a modern institution that has much in common with the collective tribal heritage of our species.
Nearly 150 years later, modern science has verified Darwin’s early insights with direct implications for how we do business in our society. New peer-reviewed research by Michael Tomasello, an American psychologist and co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has synthesized three decades of research to develop a comprehensive evolutionary theory of human cooperation. What can we learn in this area sharing as a result?
Tomasello holds that there were two key steps that led to humans’ unique form of interdependence. The first was all in this area who was coming to dinner. Approximately two million years ago, a fledgling species known as Homo habilis emerged on the fantastic plains of Africa. At the same time that these four-foot-tall, bipedal apes appeared, a period of global cooling produced vast, open environments. This climate change event ultimately mandatory our hominid ancestors to adapt to a new way of life or perish entirely. Since they lacked the ability to take down large game, like the ferocious carnivores of the early Pleistocene, the solution they hit upon was scavenging the carcasses of recently killed large mammals. The analysis of fossil bones from this period has revealed evidence of stone-tool cut marks overlaid on top of carnivore teeth marks. The precursors of modern humans had a problem of arriving late to the feast.
But, this survival strategy brought an entirely new set of challenges: Individuals now had to coordinate their behaviors, work together, and learn how to share. For apes income in the dense rainforest, the search for ripe fruit and nuts was largely an individual activity. But on the plains, our ancestors needed to travel in groups to survive, and the act of scavenging from a single animal carcass mandatory proto-humans to learn to tolerate each other and allow each other a honest share. This resulted in a form of social selection that privileged cooperation: “Individuals who attempted to hog all of the food at a scavenged carcass would be actively repelled by others,” writes Tomasello, “and perhaps shunned in other ways as well."
This evolutionary legacy can be seen in our actions today, particularly amongst children who are too young to have been taught such notions of fairness. For example, in a 2011 study published in the journal Nature, anthropologist Katharina Hamann and her colleagues found that 3-year-ancient children share food more equitably if they gain it through cooperative effort rather than via individual labor or no work at all. In contrast, chimpanzees showed no difference in how they mutual food under these different scenarios; they wouldn’t necessarily hoard the food individually, but they placed no value on cooperative hard work either. The implication, according to Tomasello, is that human evolution has predisposed us to work collaboratively and given us an intuitive sense that cooperation deserves equal rewards.
The second step in Tomasello’s theory leads directly into what kinds of businesses and economies are more in line with human evolution. Humans have, of course, uniquely large population sizes—much larger than those of other primates. It was the human penchant for cooperation that allowed groups to grow in digit and eventually become tribal societies.
Humans, more than any other primate, developed psychological adaptations that allowed them to quickly recognize members of their own assemble (through unique behaviors, traditions, or forms of language) and develop a mutual cultural identity in the pursuit of a common goal.
"The result,” says Tomasello, “was a new kind of interdependence and assemble-mindedness that went well beyond the joint intentionality of small-scale cooperation to a kind of collective intentionality at the level of the entire society.”
What does this mean for the different forms of business today? Corporate workplaces probably aren’t in sync with our evolutionary roots and may not be excellent for our long-term success as humans. Corporate culture imposes uniformity, mandated from the top down, throughout the organization. But the cooperative—the financial model in which a assemble of members owns a business and makes the rules in this area how to run it—is a modern institution that has much in common with the collective tribal heritage of our species. Worker-owned cooperatives are regionally distinct and methodical around their constituent members. As a result, worker co-ops develop unique cultures that, subsequent Tomasello’s theory, would be probable to surpass promote a mutual identity amongst all members of the assemble. This mutual identity would give rise to greater trust and collaboration lacking the need for centralized control.
Moreover, the structure of corporations is a recipe for worker alienation and dissatisfaction. Humans have evolved the ability to quickly form collective intentionality that motivates assemble members to pursue a mutual goal. “Once they have formed a joint goal,” Tomasello says, “humans are committed to it.” Corporations, by law, are required to maximize profits for their investors. The mutual goal amongst corporate employees is not to benefit their own community but rather a distant population of financiers who have no personal connection to their lives or labor.
But, because worker-owned cooperatives focus on maximizing value for their members, the cooperative is operated by and for the local community—a goal much more consistent with our evolutionary heritage. As Darwin concluded in The Descent of Man, “The more lasting social instincts conquer the less persistent instincts.” As worker-owned cooperatives continue to gain prominence around the world, we may ultimately witness the downfall of Carnegie’s “law of competition” and a restore to the mutual environments that the human species has long called home. Read more

Psy’s Gangnam Tops Bieber with 812 Million You Tube Views

It's official. You Tube says Psy's "Gangnam Style" is the most-watched video of all time -- 812 million views as of Saturday night. Sweet incredible considering it's only been up four months. Here's You Tube's list of the most watched videos. (Justin Beiber is second with 804 million views for Baby ft. Ludacris, which has been out nearly two years.) Read more

Troops, retirees get a pay boost in 2013

Active-duty troops, reserve-component members and military retirees will get a 1.7 percent pay boost at the end of the year in a rare confluence of break pay formulas.The increases in basic and retired pay are virtually assured unless Congress returns to work in a post-appointment session and unexpectedly decides to resolve the nation’s budget quandary by sinking or eliminating pay raises that are calculated under permanent law.Basic pay charts:• 0-20 years• 20+ yearThat seems highly unlikely, as the House of Representatives has passed a fiscal 2013 defense budget that endorses the 1.7 percent military raise and a centralized budget that assumes a 1.7 percent cost-of-income adjustment.The COLA would apply not only to military retirees but also to Social Security beneficiaries and centralized civilian retirees.The Senate has not yet acted on the 2013 budget, but the Senate Armed Services Committee has formal the 1.7 percent military pay raise, the amount requested by the Obama administration that matches last year’s average increase in private-sector wages.For the 1.4 million active-duty and 857,000 Selected Reserve members, the 1.7 percent increase in basic and drill pay would take effect Jan. 1 and first appear in midmonth checks.The military raises for 2011 and 2012 also were less than 2 percent, but troops are still doing surpass than centralized civilian workers, who are under an extended pay freeze ordered by President Obama and Congress.But military raises that match the Employment Cost Index, a Labor Department rate of private-sector wage growth, could be coming to an end after 2014.The Jan. 1, 2014, raise would continue to match the ECI under the Defense Department’s five-year spending plot. But raises in 2015, 2016 and 2017 would be capped at less than the average private-sector increase.Under that plot, which would take effect only with approval from Congress, the Jan. 1, 2015, raise would be 0.5 percent; the 2016 raise, 1 percent; and the 2017 raise, 1.5 percent.COLA for retireesLike the military raise, the 1.7 percent COLA that applies to 2 million military retirees and the more than 300,000 recipients of military survivors benefits is automatic unless a law is enacted to modify the adjustment, which is based on the Consumer Price Index, a Labor Department survey of the price of goods and services.Because the military raise is calculated based on private-sector wages and the retirement COLA is calculated based on consumer prices, the two amounts are nearly never the same.While COLAs are automatic for Social Security and both military and centralized civilian retired pay, they are not automatic for the 3.9 million people getting veterans’ disability compensation and addiction and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children paid by the Veterans Affairs Department.Veterans’ COLAs require an act of Congress to be paid, and Congress has not yet refined work on that legislation this year.The House of Representatives has standard a veterans’ COLA bill, but the rate has been tied up in the Senate, which has been slow to pass veteran-related legislation this year and has seen partisan bickering specifically on the veterans’ COLA bill.Democrats, who control the Senate, wanted to pass the bill by voice vote Sept. 20, just as senators were rushing to leave town for a pre-appointment break, but an objection was raised by an nameless Republican senator.With Congress not due to reconvene until Nov. 13 — the Tuesday after the appointment — Republicans proposed allowing the bill to pass during twice-weekly “pro forma” sessions held during the recess.Democrats balked at this thought, which means they can continue to claim through Appointment Day that Republicans are trying to deny a cost-of-income adjustment for veterans. But they also will have a must-pass bill lined up for a vote when Congress returns to work.VA officials have promised veterans will receive the 1.7 percent COLA in January checks as long as the law providing the increase is enacted by the first week of December.

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Another PSYOP Contractor in the Spotlight – Not In A Good Way

Another PSYOP Contractor in the Spotlight – Not In A Good Way This being Thanksgiving week here in the US I was worrying that I would not be inspired sufficient to make my more or less weekly Blog posting, but thanks to USA Today – I was incorrect. Today’s (20 Nov 12) USA Today published the article “Pentagon overseas propaganda plot stirs controversy”. (see http://www.usatoday.com/report/news/nation/2012/11/19/pentagon-overseas-communications-strategy-stirs-controversy/1715741/)This article like many other USA Today articles in the past focuses on US “propaganda” and the contractors that provide services to the government. This time the center of attention is the Boston based Rendon Assemble and its founder, John Rendon. According to the article, “Since 2000, the military has paid the Rendon Assemble more than $100 million to help shape its communications strategy, analyze media coverage, run its propaganda programs and develop counter-narcotics hard work around the world”.I’ve heard John Rendon speak and he is to be sure someone who knows marketing and his company has provided the government with a lot of services over the years, chiefly in Latin America as I be with you it.What’s fascinating in this area the article?1.       How is the article positioned to attract readers?The article screams “propaganda” which is always a red flag and a universally unenthusiastic word. It leads with the fact that allegedly Rendon’s company once “weeded out reporters who wrote unenthusiastic tales in Afghanistan and helped the military deceive the enemy in Iraq”. As to deceiving the enemy – are you kidding me? That’s the right thing to do, as for weeding out reporters, apparently the reporter has never worked in Commercial companies where public relations people do this all the time.      Is there something inherently incorrect in outsourcing tasks?Inherently any organization should be free to work with vendors who it feels can help the organization. As the war in Afghanistan winds down anyone who thinks that ‘green suiters’ aren’t going to be replaced by contractors to some extent should look for a really cheap bridge in Brooklyn.3Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Personnel, Admiral Mullen’s quote from a year ancient interview was injected into the article “"I really do not like the term at all. It confuses people," Mullen said. "It means all things to all people. It's way overused and way overrated. I literally try never to use the term. We communicate as much if not more by our actions. I have become particularly concerned at a time that resources are so precious. It has become a thing unto itself. It is taking resources from the fight, I don't have time for it." I reckon he was right and that USA Today was trying to imply that these contracts are a waste of time and money.In small – PSYOP work is place under yet another grey cloud. Members of Congress who are scurrying in this area looking for ways to save money who read the article are apt to go on a PSYOP/MISO cost cutting witch hunt – yet again.The need for systematic and aggressive education for the public and Members of Congress seems to escalate any day. Hopefully, the nascent Regimental Association will consider this challenge as a part of their charter. But, serving military need to tread with care if they be going to to work with Congress as there are legal and career implications.Let us all take a moment and give thanks for what we have and our ability to delight in it in peace. Peace that has often come at a high price to those who serve. To those of you serving today – my thanks and I salute YOU!Photo Source: http://www.prwatch.org/node/4954, a 2006 article in this area John Rendon, “John Rendon’s Long, Weird Trip in the Terror Wars

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