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Pentagon Adds MISO To Alphabet Soup

According to the DOD, PSYOPS is now called MISO. Phillip J. Hunt/iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Phillip J. Hunt/iStockphoto.com

The Department of Defense (DOD) has decided that "Psychological Operations" or "PSYOPS" doesn't have many positive connotations. Upon hearing the terms, Americans are likely to think of The General's Daughter, Apocalypse Now, or The Men Who Stare at Goats.  So, they've rebranded.  From here on out, the units comprise "Military Information Support Operations," or MISO.

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder obtained a copy of an internal Pentagon email from Rosa Brooks, Senior Advisor to the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rule of Law and International
Humanitarian Policy, "explaining to senior Pentagon officials that the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, has signed off on an effort to reduce the stigma of 'psychological operations' — 'PSYOPS' — by changing its name."

In the message, Brooks outlines some key points "to make if asked":

This is just a terminological change, not a substantive change. The term PSYOP was anachronistic and misleading; Military Information Support is a more accurate description of the activities and programs at issue. We already use the term "Military Information Support Teams" to describe the PSYOP personnel who deploy to embassies and provide support to State Dept public diplomacy efforts; this more thoroughgoing terminological shift will make our terminology consistent and help reduce misunderstandings.