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Another 350 Army officers get pre-deployment training

CAMP SHELBY, MISSISSIPPI – In preparation for their upcoming deployment to Iraq, Professor J Michael Waller gave information operations seminars to nearly 350 officers and non-commissioned officers. Waller is part of the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace (LDESP), which conducts an innovative social science education program for officers about to be deployed.

During his week at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the IWP professor led seminars on influence operations and cultural communication. He worked with the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 256th Brigade Combat Team (insignia pictured) which are headed for Iraq to help begin the drawdown of US forces.

“It’s been exciting to teach military leaders new ideas to fight the enemy more effectively, and it’s rewarding to work with some of the last combat units to deploy to Iraq,” says Waller. “Once the 278th and 256th finish, they’ll be among the last major American military units deployed in their area of operations. Their mission is different from their previous deployment to Iraq. First they went there to win the war. Now that that job is done, they’re going back to help win the peace. I love my job.”

As a civilian Army instructor through the Naval Postgraduate School program, Waller has taught 2,700 commissioned officers and NCOs in preparation for their deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. The 278th and 256th are Army National Guard units, respectively from Tennessee and Louisiana, though officers from other units will be deploying with them.

LDESP’s mission is “To provide military and civilian leaders an educational program which focuses on US objectives, regional geopolitical, and cultural frameworks in accordance with Department of Defense Directive 3000.05, JP 3.07.3 and Army education requirements. This program gives leaders the knowledge to establish a unique frame of reference allowing them to comprehend a specific operational environment.”