MISO Name Change – The U.S. Army is changing the name of the units that conduct influence operations from Military Information Support Operations or MISO to Psychological Operations. A few years back PSYOP was discarded and MISO became the general term to describe the units that conducted information operations.
The MISO name was supposed to reflect a new age in information operations that encompassed new aspects with the inform and influence activities that the U.S. Army conducted. It also seemed to be a term that was less offensive to non-military members of government (State Department?).
MISOC. The Military Information Support Operations Command (Airborne) (Provisional) was provisionally activated in August 2011. The commander is a one-star general officer. The command was created with the intent of unifying MISO efforts globally – with two MISO groups. The command has approximately 2,500 Soldiers. The MISOC is part of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). MISOC consists of the 4th and 8th Military Information Support Groups. There are several Military Information Support Battalions – five with a regional orientation and two with a general, worldwide mission. In addition, there are MISO Planning and Advisory Teams (MPATs) that work with the Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs).
There are three levels of PSYOP – strategic, operational, and tactical. These three levels of PSYOP operations are conducted to support national security objectives. At the strategic level – especially when working within embassies – the term PSYOP was viewed with a little suspicion. MISO was a more benign term that non-military people could more easily accept.
The name change is mostly administrative – the mission of PSYOP units and personnel will not change. Some see the MISO name change as a morale booster – and a re-establishment of the PSYOP communities heritage and history.
Read “The Army’s psychological operations community is getting its name back”, by Meghann Myers, Army Times, November 6, 2017.
Info on 4th Military Information Support Group
Read an interesting article on why the Army decided to go with “MISO” in 2011 by Col Curtis Boyd entitled “The Future of MISO”, Special Warfare Magazine, January – February 2011.