Defense Media Network

USASOC Year in Review: 2011-2012

4th Military Information Support Operations Command (MISOC)

For decades, the Army’s Psychological Operations (PsyOps) community has lived a seesaw existence, being grudgingly accepted in wartime and usually neglected during peace. But the “long war” of the past decade has finally convinced the Army leadership that PsyOps, now reflagged as “Military information Support Operations” (MISO) is a necessary mission in overseas operations, and has finally been shown some respect and financial attention. In 2010, the 4th Psychological Operations Group (POG) was reflagged as the 4th Military Information Support Group (MISG), reflecting the DoD-wide shift to the MISO mission. MISO is the dissemination of information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives.

U.S. Army Ranger Capabilities Exercise

U.S. Army Rangers from U.S. Army Special Operations Command (Airborne) conduct close-quarters battle drills at a range for CAPEX 2011 participants. A capabilities exercise, or CAPEX, demonstrates Army special operations forces’ diverse capabilities, uniqueness and importance to national security to key civilians and organizations with a desired end state of garnering enduring support from the command’s invited guests. U.S. Army photo by Trish Harris

As big as 2010 was in the Army MISO community, it pales with what happened in 2011. As part of the SOF expansion plan that came about as a result of the 2006 QDR, the entire U.S. Army MISO community was finally consolidated into the Military Information Support Operations Command (Airborne) (Provision) – or MISOC – on Aug. 4, 2011. Taking command during the standup ceremony was Col. Nils C. “Chris” Sorenson, who previously had been the USASOC deputy chief of staff G-3/5/7. His senior enlisted advisor is CSM Thomas W. Hedges Jr., who assumed the post on March 2, 2012. Hedges came to MISOC from Special Operations Command Forward-Yemen, where he had helped look after all the SOF personnel assigned there. Together, they command and operate the most impressive collection of PsyOps personnel and MISO units assembled since World War II.

The command today includes:

• MISOC (P) Headquarters – Based at Fort Bragg, N.C., the MISOC is now the home for 2,700 of the U.S. Army’s 37-series PsyOps personnel.

• 4th Military Information Support Group – The existing 4th POG reflagged as the 4th Military Information Support Group (MISG), with Col. Reginald J. Bostick taking over from Col. Carl E. Phillips. Composed of the 6th (European Command), 7th (Africa Command), and 9th (Central Command) Military Information Support Battalions, the 4th MISG is one of two such units that make up the field deployable elements of MISOC. In addition, 4th MISG has three Military Planning and Advisory Teams (MPATs) to assist in setting up deployable MISO units for the field.

• 8th Military Information Support Group – Activated Aug. 26, 2011, and commanded by Col. Brian Cavanaugh, 8th MISG is the sister unit to 4th MISG. 8th MISG is composed of the 1st (Southern Command), 5th (Pacific Command), and 9th (Worldwide) MISBs, along with three MPATs.


95th Civil Affairs Brigade (CAB)

During 2011, Col. James “Jay” Wolff continued to command the 95th CAB, while Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas E. Wall handed over the senior enlisted advisor duties to Command Sgt. Maj. Tony Duncan. As they finished up 2011, the 95th had grown to 1,200 soldiers, including five battalions, the: 91st, 92nd, 96th, 97th, and 98th Civil Affairs battalions. In addition, each CA Battalion is growing from five to six companies by 2017 as part of the ongoing effort by SOCOM to grow the CA/MISO capabilities of the U.S. military. The year also saw one of the 95th’s CA soldiers being honored for his valor in a firefight in Afghanistan on Jan. 29, 2010. For his actions, Sgt. 1st Class Steve Kimsey of Company A, 91st Civil Affairs Battalion, was awarded the Silver Star on March 17, 2011.


Coalition Special Operations Forces In Afghanistan

Coalition special operations forces (SOF) sprint to board a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a mission in Chawkai district, Kunar province, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2012. The commando-led mission was to conduct reconnaissance for a future village stability platform where Afghan forces and coalition SOF can live and work with villagers. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Clayton Weis

U.S. Army Special Operations Support Command

2011 saw the 528th Sustainment Brigade get a new commanding officer when Col. Thomas J. Rogers took command from Col. Lenny J. Kness, while Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Tobin handed over his duties to Command Sgt. Maj. Bobby R. Hagy. Though the 528th rarely makes the news, it is worth remembering a speech Mulholland gave in 2009, when he said, “There’s a saying that amateurs talk about strategy, while professionals speak about logistics. No matter how tough of a burly Ranger or Green Beret you may be, without the ammunition, the food, the clothing and equipment you need every day … well, let’s just say you can only do so much with rocks. It is the logisticians behind the scenes, the communicators and special operations medical specialists bringing their magic to the battlefield, who allow the warfighting piece of this command to do what they do.”


The Cost

For all of the achievements of USASOC over the 25 years they have been part of SOCOM, it is important to remember SOF operations are always high-risk and hazardous. Every year USASOC remembers those lost over the previous year with a ceremony as part of the Memorial Day celebrations at Fort Bragg. Held this past year at the Meadows Memorial Plaza on May 26, some 250 family members of the 30 fallen USASOC warriors from 2010/11, along with dignitaries like actor Gary Sinise and billionaire H. Ross Perot, gathered to see the names of their loved ones inscribed in the stones.

This article was first published in The Year in Special Operations: 2012-2013 Edition.

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John D. Gresham lives in Fairfax, Va. He is an author, researcher, game designer, photographer,...