- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The U.S. Army is reversing course on a 2011 decision to rebrand its PSYOP community to the less controversial alternative “Military Information Support Operations.”

Troops who specialize in psychological operations are once again embracing their role with an organizational name change from MISO to PSYOP. The shift comes against a political backdrop in which the federal government is investigating Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.

“Given Russian disinformation, given this new world where the information fight is becoming more complex and nuanced, there’s a level of pride when I can say, I’m a PSYOP soldier in a PSYOP unit that has this lineage and did these kinds of things,” Lt. Col. Brad Carr, the director of information operations at U.S. Army Special Operations Command, told Army Times in an interview published Monday.

Officials within the community struggled with the PSYOP identifier since 2005, when then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others reflected on the public’s understanding of using psychological warfare to forward America’s interests around the globe.

Army Times noted that using MISO in 2011 was seen as a way of presenting a “kinder, gentler update to the PSYOP mission” when working with the State Department and other agencies.

“We’re really kind of helping to get back to efficiencies, probably in the way we should have been — not having to translate PSYOP to MISO and back,” Lt. Col. Carr said. “I will tell you, our partner forces — NATO, the U.K. — they still refer to it as PSYOP. If I say I’m a PSYOP soldier? ‘Oh, I am, too.’ In terms of language lenses, it could potentially be more sinister to give this term [MISO] that they’re not aware of for a unit coming in.”

“I will say, there’s a level of pride, and I would open it up to anyone in uniform when you can tie into this lineage, or any kind of lineage,” the officer added. “When you see the 101st [Airborne Division] or the 82nd [Airborne Division], and the stories, it does bring a level of pride.”

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