In “Legitimizing Army Psychological Operations” (JFQ 56, 1st quarter 2010), Alfred H. Paddock, Jr., makes the Army argument against any kind of name change, which had not yet occurred when the article was published. He traces the Service’s use of terminology since World War I to describe the “employment of persuasive communication,” points out the practical difficulties the change would place on doctrine writers, and asserts that using euphemisms for a term that some find distasteful only draws more attention to the purpose of the activities conducted under the term’s guise. For Paddock and many others, MISO is likely to be a no-go.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Secretary of Defense Gates reportedly has approved a recommendation by the Defense Senior Leaders Conference (comprised of the Combatant Commanders, Service chiefs, and civilian Pentagon leaders) to replace the term psychological operations (PSYOP) with military information support and/to operations (MISO). The relabeling issue, which has been rearing its linguistic head for years, is an emotionally charged subject for many PSYOP practitioners; a commenter on the Small Wars Journal blog bemoans the loss of the “intimidation factor” that the term PSYOP itself carries, not to mention the loss of the identity of his branch.