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Old 10 May 2010, 02:28
TEX53 TEX53 is offline
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Becoming a PSYOP Officer

Greetings All,

Thank you in advance for reading this thread and posting any advice you may have. I've hunted around the site for details on what PSYOP Officers do, and I haven't found much.

Background: I'm a MI branch detailed Infantry officer for YG 08. I'm currently in the window to apply for PSYOP. I'm deployed to OEF as a BN S2 OIC, and i find the job to be a bit unchallenging. I'm talking over putting in a packet with my wife, and I'm engaging the ARSOF recruiters as well. I graduated with a political science/IR degree and a 3.79 GPA. I'm a 2/1+ in Russian, a 5 jump chump, and I have my clearances already. I'm interested in the fact that this is a small community, with well trained volunteers and professionals. I have a feeling its a great idea to have a branch manager who knows my name, rather than a number. The PSYOP recruiters have been incredibly responsive and informative, and that speaks volumes for the organization.

Questions:
-Are there any PSYOP people out there who can tell me what the OPTEMPO is like? Is this a "family friendly" branch?
-How much dwell time is there?
-What kind of deployments you do?
-Will my language background be taken into account when I'm assigned to 4th POG?
-How many officers apply for PSYOP and how many are accepted?
-I don't really know anyone who ever went into this branch, its a big committment, and one I take seriously, so I'm trying to gather as much information as possible before I make a decision.

Thanks again!

-TEX
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  #2  
Old 10 May 2010, 16:23
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PSYOP ROB PSYOP ROB is offline
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Questions:
-Are there any PSYOP people out there who can tell me what the OPTEMPO is like? Is this a "family friendly" branch?
I would say no, OPTEMPO is high, manpower is low. It really depends on your family, can yours deal with long deployments, how about short notice trips that have open ended timelines or change mid stream? This job requires a lot of flexibility as you wont be on a set ARFORGEN timeline, people get hey youed all the time.
-How much dwell time is there?
See above, it dictates your dwell.
-What kind of deployments you do?
Varied, OIF and OEF as well as others.
-Will my language background be taken into account when I'm assigned to 4th POG?
Hopefully, but not necessarily, might need you to learn something else in addition, but time and money will probably factor greatly into that decision.
-How many officers apply for PSYOP and how many are accepted?
Dont know, ask the recruiter next time you talk.
If you come to this job looking to escape your old branch, or grab some down time, or any reason other than " I want to be the best PSYOP officer I can be because I know that the job is vitally important and I will be an asset to the field" you will be dissapointed and waste your time and that of others who would depend on you. Not saying that is you, just saying.
Im a true believer, Ive seen this stuff work. I have also seen a lot of people come here for the wrong reasons and with the wrong mindset. Know what you are getting into and prepare to give it all you have.
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Old 10 May 2010, 16:48
ilots ilots is offline
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edited - ^ HEY, that wasn't there before - see, I guess I am getting old & slow ^


Please be patient, as I am confident a former or current officer will come along to give a better answer...

my .02 cents...
I reclassed to PSYOP for some of the same reasons (as enlisted) that you mentioned - except I did so specifically due to the high level of optempo - and - this was PRIOR to OFKATGWOT (that would be the Operation Formerly Known As The Global War on Terror). There were always contingency operations, lno tours, extended TDY; not to mention training & excs.
I deployed in the early days of OEF (PSYOP Reserve unit) &, since that date, that unit has had atleast a detachment deployed continuously in OIF/OEF until the tail end of last year (not to mention TDY in LATAM, North Africa, etc.) I cannot imagine things changing so much in the active component that things are significantly different.

Language wise, I stopped being language relevant after the Balkans until I "learned" enough Farsi/Dari to embarass myself. I never had a problem being in an eligable slot for FLPP pay; however, it is the army - I sat with French troops as French speakers sat with Russians on more than one occasion.
I would defer to the recruiters.

I offer my comments with not a pinch, but a HEAPING table-spoon of salt - but I hope it offers just a little perspective. I am sure a response that is more reflective of the current active community will come shortly.

All that said, I loved the career field & had a blast in doing the job!

Best of luck to you, Sir.

Last edited by ilots; 10 May 2010 at 16:52.
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Old 10 May 2010, 22:15
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TPD1280 TPD1280 is offline
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For starters, PSYOP ROB's post was spot on.

To reiterate what was said above, OPTEMPO is high. I heard someone once say that 4th POG is stationed world wide, and deploys to Bragg for short term refits. The Reserve side of house is no better. 1 weekend a month/2 weeks in the summer does not exist in RC PSYOP. An average of 100 days a year on AD away from home, not including deployments is the reality.

If your definition of "family friendly branch" means you get to be there for birthdays, holidays, and other significant events, the answer is no.

I'm not trying to blow smoke up your 4th point of contact, that's just the way it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TEX53 View Post
...details on what PSYOP Officers do, and I haven't found much.
So many punchlines, so little time.

But seriously folks;

The Officer side of the house is Staff heavy. There is precious little "psyoping" done by the Officers. They are the planners and taskers, but the bus is driven by NCO's.

Even at the smallest level, the Tactical PSYOP Detachment (TPD), the Officers primary function is as a member of the Brigade Commanders staff. Writing annexes and MDMP sessions abound. There are always exceptions, and a few opportunities to get outside the wire will occur, but they are few and far between. Face to Face and dissemination are not your job. Balancing the needs/demands of the supported unit, the Division PSYOP support element, and the POTF are a full time job. PSYOP operates with responsibility to two chains of command: the supported unit and the POTF. Sometimes those interest will seem to conflict. Your job is to de-conflict it.

Same thing at the Division and Corps elements, with the added responsibility of ensuring the support of the elements subordinate to yours.

A PSYOP Officers real chance to "do PSYOP" comes inside the POTF. That's where the voodoo is dreamed and created. Well conceived and timely products can do amazing things. Conversely, if the products and campaigns are ill-conceived or un-timely, credibility can be lost very quickly both with the target audience and the supported units as well as your own troops.
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Old 10 May 2010, 22:19
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TPD1280 TPD1280 is offline
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another thought: With a PoliSci/IR degree, have you given a look at Civil Affairs?

Much more of the actual work is done by the Officers, and may give you more of the challenge you are seeking.

But the OPTEMPO is the same.
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  #6  
Old 11 May 2010, 11:27
TEX53 TEX53 is offline
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Gents,

Thanks for the input. Some things I would like to add: I'm interested in PSYOP because I want to make a difference in an organization, for some reason, I just don't feel like I'm making one at the moment. My work right now is a bit unfulfilling.

Staff work... I have no illusions of being outside the wire constantly, or anything Jack Bauer-esque.

I decided to drop my packet. We'll see if the organization wants me.

-TEX
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Old 11 May 2010, 15:38
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PSYOP ROB PSYOP ROB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEX53 View Post
Gents,

Thanks for the input. Some things I would like to add: I'm interested in PSYOP because I want to make a difference in an organization,
-TEX
I would focus more on making a change in your target audience once you come on board. The organization is still a military one and resists change like any other top heavy bureaucracy. Adding one more hard working, dedicated PSYOP O to the Group would be nice though. I think that you will find the job very rewarding, and your responses show that you are looking at it in the right frame of mind. Good luck with the board.
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Old 26 May 2010, 20:58
MrGlory MrGlory is offline
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Is it possible to commission from the inside/enlisted, or is the Officer field a lateral transfer only system?
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Old 27 May 2010, 01:14
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PSYOP ROB PSYOP ROB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGlory View Post
Is it possible to commission from the inside/enlisted, or is the Officer field a lateral transfer only system?
No, you cant be commissioned into the PSYOP Branch even if you were a 37F. PSYOP is a non accession branch.
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Old 28 May 2010, 10:26
MrGlory MrGlory is offline
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Got it. Thanks.
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