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NEWS | June 30, 2022

Foreign Defense Attachés visit USACAPOC(A)

By Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Litchfield U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) Assistant Chief of Staff G 3/5/7, Col. M. Straus Scantlin, welcomed 18 Foreign Military Defense Attachés to the final briefing on their post tour of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, June 14, 2022. 

USACAPOC(A) commands Soldiers across 28 contiguous states and the U.S. Army Reserve has additional forces under three Mission Support Commands in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Germany.

With 78% of the tactical and 100% of the strategic and operational Civil Affairs (CA) force, 100% of the conventional Psychological Operations (PSYOP) and roughly 28% of Information Operations forces currently falling under USACAPOC(A), the capabilities in the U.S. Army Reserve are vast. 

“We understand the situation and understand the environment,” explained Scantlin to the visiting attachés. “We interact with civilian populace, we work with civil governance, help host nation's governance, conduct transitional governance while helping the country rebuild, and also provide military governance in support of humanitarian law.” 

Scantlin went on to describe USACAPOC(A)’s role in identifying protected targets, including museums, hospitals, schools, administrative and civilian buildings.

Commending Lt. Col. Daniel Drogomirecki , Assistant Defense, Military and Naval Attaché, Poland, on Polish support to refugees and displaced civilians during times of crisis, Scantlin went on to address USACAPOC(A)’s capability for planning and conducting civil affairs operations, dislocated civilian movement, and working with military police to help guide civilians across the battlefield and out of harm’s way. 

Adding to the capabilities of the Civil Affairs team is the inclusion of the new Military Support to Governance officers (38G). Divided into 18 different skill sets, these officers work with the host nation on a national level. 

Focused on the ability to get a country back up and running these specialties are focused on corrections, water, sanitation, transportation, national administrations, emergency management, medical, law enforcement and others. Highly educated with a minimum job qualification a master’s degree with four years in the civilian sector, these Soldiers are invaluable to host nation recovery.  

Alongside the Civil Affairs Soldiers stand the conventional Psychological Operations Soldiers. 

“We do influence operations, foreign operations, and stability work,” said Scantlin. “Our main focus is foreign audiences, civilians on the battlefield, the adversary.” PSYOP Soldiers focus their attention on interventions, contingency operations, irregular warfare, and major combat operations. Trained to avert crisis, create understanding, provide stability, deter aggression, prevent escalation of armed conflict, and communicate messages to the population, these small teams support maneuver commanders from the company level on up to the Joint Task Force commander. 

A smaller force than their CA and PSYOP brethren but no less important are the Information Operations (IO) Soldiers who focus their activity at a much higher level. With many of their forces at the Corps or Theater level, IO has the ability to attack, defend and stabilize communication platforms while still coordinating all the information related capabilities on the battlefield, from cyber to space and including Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, and Public Affairs messaging and information dissemination. 

When questioned by attendees, Scantlin agreed that going forward, IO will be looking at communication in a different manner. 

“I do believe that in the future we need to change how we do Information Operations,” he explained. "I think we need to update how we conduct information warfare. At USACAPOC(A), we are experimenting with how the U.S. Army could do things differently."  

With Soldiers in Europe, Central and South America, across the Horn of Africa, throughout Southwest Asia and in the Middle East, USACAPOC(A) stays engaged worldwide, mostly in theater security operation events. Attendance at the attaché briefing allowed participating defense attachés the opportunity not only to learn about capabilities organic to USACAPOC(A), but the briefing and follow-on question and answer period allowed them to better understand the process in requesting support for their home country exercises and training events. 

“We have a lot of people who want to get the job done right now, we have a lot of resources,” said Scantlin. “Tell the people what you are going to do, and then show them by doing it. I think that’s the most important way of messaging and if we can’t do that we are in trouble.”