Counter-Terrorism: May 1, 2005


Among the more potent troops deployed against terrorists are the psychological warfare (PSYOP) and civil affairs personnel from SOCOM (Special Operations). But most of these troops are in the reserves, and most have reached the limits of their active duty time (24 months), for the current partial mobilization authority. So unless the law is changed (possible, but not likely) SOCOM has to depend on newly raised PSYOP and civil affairs units. These include four reserve PSYOP companies, two active duty PSYOP companies, two reserve Civil Affairs battalions, and two active duty Civil Affairs companies. Recruiting for reserve civil affairs units is difficult, as few people have the skills, or the desire, to spend several years in a combat zone right after they join. Because of the importance of PSYOPs and civil affairs, more effort has gone into supporting troops in combat units to do a lot of this work. Its often a natural fit in peacekeeping operations, as the troops have an incentive to stay close to the locals (for information on hostiles) and to cultivate good will in the area. 


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