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NEWS | Aug. 14, 2018

USACAPOC(A) seeks to stay ready and become a learning organization

By Story by Lt. Col. Jefferson Wolfe United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne)

With Soldiers taking part in exercises and operations around the world, the United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) is one of the U.S. Army Reserve’s busiest units.

USACAPOC(A) Soldiers are working in support of operations in the Horn of Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, across Europe, in Hawaii and the Pacific, Central America and other locations, said Maj. Gen. Darrell J. Guthrie, the USACAPOC(A) commanding general.

“We’re globally engaged,” he said. “Any given day of the year, we have 400-500 Soldiers outside the continental United States.”

The key to being that busy is to ensure Soldiers and units are prepared to do their missions, Guthrie said. Echoing the priorities of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserve, one of the command’s key lines of effort is readiness.

“It’s really fundamental, we have to have ready Soldiers,” he said. “We can’t do anything unless our Soldiers are ready.”

The USACAPOC(A) headquarters is responsible for manning, equipping and training the force, but the down-trace units, the brigades and battalions, hold the bulk of the 13,000 Soldiers who are engaged around the globe.

“We bring Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Information Operations capabilities that are critical to the Army Reserve’s support to Army conventional forces and the joint warfighter,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie’s vision for the USAR’s third-largest command is to be globally engaged, capable, lethal and combat ready.

Now, about one-third of the command is part of the Army Reserve’s Ready Force X, which are the units the USAR will bring to a fight quickly.

Since he took command in 2017, USACAPOC (A) has made strides in improving readiness, achieving higher medical readiness and improving Duty Military Occupational Specialty qualification.

For collective readiness, the command took part in 24 separate combat training center rotations and command post exercises. Also, Soldiers have taken part in various combatant command level exercises, four warfighter exercises and the Army Reserve’s Cold Steel. Soldiers also have been mobilized for 27 separate deployments.

“We’re more capable and combat ready,” Guthrie said.

USACAPOC(A) leaders are also looking at ways to use Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations to enhance the lethality of warfighters across the spectrum of conflict, he said. This follows directives of the Chief of the Army Reserve and Secretary of the Army, he said.

From a Civil Affairs standpoint, the command understands how to help shape an operational environment and what it means to consolidate gains after major operations have concluded, Guthrie said. For example, Civil Affairs efforts in Eastern Europe are helping to shape the operational environment by learning more about working with NATO allies and partners.

To enhance lethality, leaders are evaluating contributions across the spectrum of conflict, he added.

Guthrie wants leaders across the command to take ownership of the challenges they face and, “accept that the way we have done things in the past must change or adjust to the current environment.”

This is consistent, again, with the Army and Army Reserve’s desire to look at how the service does business and what may have to change in the future.

“We’ve got to be more of a learning organization,” the general said. “Let’s not make the same mistakes. Let’s make new mistakes. Let’s learn.”

One way USACAPOC(A) is doing that is through capturing and sharing lessons learned during Combat Training Center rotations.

“It appears that that’s having a positive impact,” Guthrie said.