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Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne)

The Army announced on May 16, 2006, a decision to immediately transfer operational command and control of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, its Army Reserve civil affairs and psychological operations forces and resources from U.S. Army Special Operations Command to the U.S. Army Reserve Command.

Under the plan, USASOC was to retain proponency for Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations -- including doctrine, combat development and institutional training. Additionally, the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Provisional) and the 4th Psychological Operations Group were to remain assigned to USASOC.

The move was aimed at enabling the Army to maximize the effectiveness of these forces by reducing the number of coordinating headquarters, enabling closer and more direct care for the Army Reserve Soldiers and family members assigned to these units. The realignment impacted 9,000 Army Reserve Soldiers located in 25 states.

The U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) is the headquarters for Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations units. Of USACAPOC(A)'s approximate 10,000 soldiers, about 96 percent are in the Reserve component and are located in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

The command has one active duty Psychological Operations unit, the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), with five battalions; and one active duty Civil Affairs unit, the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), with six companies. Both units are located at Fort Bragg, NC. It also has four reserve CA commands, seven reserve CA brigades, and 24 reserve CA battalions, two reserve PSYOP groups totaling eight reserve PSYOP battalions.

USACAPOC(A), also headquartered at Fort Bragg, is one of four major commands comprising the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. USACAPOC(A) soldiers maintain the highest standards of training and physical readiness in order to be prepared to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice.

Although Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations activities often complement each other, each battle system operates individually in support of field commanders. Civil Affairs soldiers are the field commander's link to the civil authorities in his area of operation. With specialists in every area of the government, they can assist a host government meet its people's needs and maintain a stable and viable civil administration.

Civil Affairs soldiers possess unique training, skills and experience. Since the majority of the Civil Affairs forces are in the Reserve component, these soldiers bring to the Army finely honed skills practiced daily in the civilian sector such as judges, physicians, bankers, health inspectors and fire chiefs.

Psychological Operations (PSYOP) soldiers use persuasion to influence perceptions and encourage desired behavior. The cornerstone of PSYOP is truth, credibly presented to convince a given audience to cease resistance or take actions favorable to friendly forces. During Desert Storm, the effective use of PSYOP was a combat multiplier that directly contributed to the surrender of thousands of Iraqi soldiers. It is clear its effectiveness saved countless coalition and Iraqi lives.

Psychological Operations units also have soldiers with unique skills. These soldiers are communicators who provide the commander with the ability to communicate information to large audiences via radio, television, leaflets and loudspeakers. The PSYOP soldier's language skills, regional orientation and knowledge of communication media provide a means of delivering critical information to host-nation audiences.

The majority of the Army's PSYOP forces rest in the Army Reserve. During peacetime, Reserve Component (RC) PSYOP personnel will actively participate with Ative Component(AC) PSYOP personnel in an integrated planning and training program to prepare for regional conflicts or contingencies. RC personnel and forces will also be involved with the AC in the planning and execution of peacetime PSYOP programs. In wartime, RC PSYOP personnel or units may be mobilized by the service, as required by combatant commanders, to augment AC PSYOP forces. RC PSYOP forces can also continue peacetime PSYOP programs in the absence of AC PSYOP forces when mobilized or directed. RC PSYOP Groups and Battalions possess the capability to deploy a PSYOP task force if required.

US Army PSYOP forces plan and execute the Joint Force Commanders' PSYOP activities at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels; support all special operations missions; and conduct PSYOP in support of consolidation missions. Specially trained units support enemy prisoner of war (EPW) missions. US Army PSYOP group and battalion headquarters are structured to provide command and control of subordinate units that conduct PSYOP missions.

All AC and RC US Army PSYOP forces are assigned to the US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC), a major subordinate command of the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The AC forces are organized under the 4th Psychological Operations Group with four regionally oriented battalions, a tactical support battalion, and a PSYOP dissemination battalion.

The Psychological Operations Group plans and conducts PSYOP activities authorized and implemented worldwide in support of all non-mobilization contingencies during crisis and open hostilities short of declared war. It also develops, coordinates, and executes peacetime PSYOP activities. In addition, should war be declared, the PSYOP Group assists in the planning and execution of strategic and operational PSYOP for the unified command CINCs.

The PSYOP Dissemination Battalion provides audiovisual and printed material production, signal support, and media broadcast capabilities to support the PSYOP group, Regional Support Battalions (RSB), and the Tactical Support Battalions (TSB). This battalion is capable of deploying these capabilities or can produce products at Fort Bragg. If host nation support agreements are in place, PSYOP personnel can print on foreign presses and broadcast from surrogate stations in theater. The PSYOP Dissemination Battalion also provides many non- PSYOP specific support service to the PSYOP Group like communications and electronic maintenance services.

The PSYOP Regional Support Battalion (RSB) consists of a headquarters element, a support company, and one or more regional support companies. Each regional battalion divides geographic responsibility between their subordinate companies and further to the individual Product Development Centers (PDC) at the Operational Detachment (OPDET) level. A PDC consist of a team of 10-15 soldiers who develop audio, visual, and audiovisual product prototypes in support of the PSYOP campaigns. Each RSB is supported by a Strategic Studies Detachment (SSD) that is staffed by civilian analysts and produces PSYOP studies for the regional CINCs.

A Tactical Support Battalion (TSB) provides tactical PSYOP support for one rapid deployment corps' contingency requirements and, as required, the SOF community. The battalion consists of a headquarters and support company and one or more tactical support companies. The Tactical Support Battalion serves as the Corps PSYOP Support Element (CPSE) and assigns its subordinate Tactical Support Companies (TSC) to serve as the Division PSYOP Support Elements (DPSE). DPSEs are further supported by their platoons in the form of Brigade PSYOP Support Elements (BPSE). The smallest unit of tactical PSYOP support is the three-soldier Tactical PSYOP Team (TPT).

CA units are designed to provide support to both GP and SO forces at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. The vast majority of army CA forces are in the reserve component (RC). The army's active component (AC) CA unit (96 th CA BN, Ft. Bragg, NC) is capable of rapidly deploying one of its five regionally aligned CA companies to meet the initial CA support requirement, with transition to RC units beginning as soon as mobilization permits. The RC civil affairs units have functional specialties, with the unit's soldiers being assigned to functional teams.

The 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), with four percent of the civil affairs forces, is the only active Army civil affairs unit. The unit is readily available to deploy and provides primarily tactical support. The remaining 96 percent of the Army's civil affairs forces are found in four Civil Affairs Commands, subordinate brigades and battalions in the Army Reserve. They provide a prime source of nation-building skills. USACAPOC(A) units provide support to all theater commanders in meeting their global commitments. USACAPOC(A) soldiers have contributed significantly to humanitarian missions.

These reserve-component civil affairs units include soldiers with training and experience in public administration, public safety, public health, legal systems, labor management, public welfare, public finance, public education, civil defense, public works and utilities, public communications, public transportation, logistics, food and agricultural services, economics, property control, cultural affairs, civil information, and managing dislocated persons.

CA deployments have provided tactical support to military commanders during Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in Southwest Asia, support to the restoration of the Panamanian government infrastructure during Operation Promote Liberty, management of Haitian refugee camps at Guantanamo Bay, natural disaster assistance in the aftermath of Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki and, assisting humanitarian efforts in Somalia.

Civil affairs experts were also called on to help rebuild the Haitian civilian infrastructure during Operation Uphold Democracy. Active and Reserve CA Units have also participated in the ongoing NATO peacekeeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, as well as other operations and exercises around the world.

Two of the Army Reserve's hardest working and most mobilized specialties will receive plus-ups in personnel and structure over several years, according to Major General Thomas J. Plewes, Chief, Army Reserve. A review of Army Civil Affairs (CA) and Psychological Operations (PSYOP) structure by the Joint Staff, Department of the Army and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command recommended additions to the current force structure and increasing current unit strength authorizations. The additional authorizations will add a total of 1,123 CA personnel and 308 PSYOP personnel.

The increase for CA and PSYOP does not mean an increase in the overall Army Reserve strength authorization of 205,300. The new activations increase the number of units and strength in existing units in CA and the number of units in PSYOP. CA will get one new Foreign Internal Defense/Unconventional Warfare (FID/UW) battalion, nine Tactical Planning Teams and three General Purpose (GP) battalions. Included in this are 40 full-time personnel for the new units. Existing CA units will get a total of 437 additional personnel authorizations.

The increased authorization for existing CA units is effective fiscal year 2001 and recruiting for the positions had begun. One FID/UW battalion and the Tactical Planning Teams will be activated in FY 2002. One GP battalion will be activated each year in FY 2003 through FY 2005. The FID/UW battalion will be located in Columbus, Ohio. Locations for the other units have not been set.

The Army Reserve's CA forces have been activated frequently since December 1989, starting with Operation Just Cause, when CA reservists were called upon to help re-establish democracy and the rule of law in Panama. In 1990 both CA and PSYOP units were mobilized under the Presidential Selected Reserve Call-Up for Operation Desert Storm. During that conflict they supported the allied task force. The CA units also helped plan the rebuilding of Kuwait and supported humanitarian relief efforts for the Kurds in Northern Iraq as part of Operation Provide Comfort.

Three years later, USAR CA and PSYOP soldiers deployed to Haiti as part of Operation Uphold Democracy. Then, in 1994, a team of USAR CA soldiers went to Somalia in support of the humanitarian relief efforts. Soon after that, both CA and PSYOP soldiers helped with damage relief and communications in central Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.

They were among the reservists who have been mobilized to serve in Bosnia and Kosovo. In the past year more than 400 Civil Affairs soldiers representing 30 units have served in Bosnia and Kosovo alone, and more are projected to serve there over the next several years. In all, since 1996 almost every CA and PSYOP unit in the in the Army Reserve has deployed to Bosnia and/or Kosovo.

PSYOP will add four Regional Companies, with the earliest activation in FY 2004. Unit locations and the number of full time support personnel have not been determined yet. Currently, 97 per cent of the Army's Civil Affairs capability and 70 per cent of the PSYOP capability reside in the Army Reserve.

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