Pentagon “roadmap” calls for “boundaries”…

Heads up on a report just acquired by FOIA by National Security Archive: Information Operations Roadmap. The National Security Archive headline describes it thus:

A secret Pentagon "roadmap" on war propaganda, personally approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003, calls for "boundaries" between information operations abroad and the news media at home, but provides for no such limits and claims that as long as the American public is not "targeted," any leakage of PSYOP to the American public does not matter.

Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University and posted on the Web today, the 74-page "Information Operations Roadmap" admits that "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa," but argues that "the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S. government] intent rather than information dissemination practices."

The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, amended in 1972 and 1998, prohibits the U.S. government from propagandizing the American public with information and psychological operations directed at foreign audiences; and several presidential directives, including Reagan’s NSD-77 in 1983, Clinton’s PDD-68 in 1999, and Bush’s NSPD-16 in July 2002 (the latter two still classified), have set up specific structures to carry out public diplomacy and information operations. These and other documents relating to U.S. PSYOP programs were posted today as part of a new Archive Electronic Breifing Book.

Several press accounts have referred to the 2003 Pentagon document but today’s posting is the first time the text has been publicly available. Sections of the document relating to computer network attack (CNA) and "offensive cyber operations" remain classified under black highlighting.

There is a lot to digest in this and related documents. Other priorities prevent me from diving deep right now, but I’ll return to this later.

UPDATE 1 Feb 06 See ZenPundit’s posting on same (but with a different title and 3 days after this post :).

4 thoughts on “Pentagon “roadmap” calls for “boundaries”…

  1. RunnerThe distinction between US and foreign publics are largely illusory. Whats aimed at a foreign news services my be subsequently picked up by a US network.
    Also English and Spanaish language “foreign” blogs carrying disinformation might also be perused and believed by US audiences.
    So big problems with these documents.

  2. Consider what makes it through the giant barrier is the American media bubble. The distinction is definetly blurred in theory, but what about in practice? The boundaries of states are many, from media to people-to-people exchange / interaction, markets, ideology, etc. In other words, the nation-state is not and the market-state is… so what? Blogs penetrate (unless you’re in China or elsewhere and they may penetrate less; or language barriers inhibit ideas transmission, etc) through borders… but what still makes up the news? First you need to define news and then consider how that news makes a difference. Is it really news if it is not in NYT? Is it still news if it does (…Judith Miller…Jayson Blair…)? How many stories are broadcast in Australia, Europe, China, etc that do not (but should) make it into the US media market? From the Middle East? The focus and spin of / by the US media does not always sync w/ non-US media (avoiding the use of “foreign” as it is US-centric).The distinction between publics is illusory, the distinction between media is not. That said, I still haven’t gone deeper into the Pentagon document.

  3. Should responses be stovepiped? If the threat is flexible and across what Michael Mann describes as a world best conceived as multiple, overlapping, intersecting networks of power. A theory picked up on by Manual Castells and (loosely) put into a politico-military context by Thomas Barnett.In the networks of power, human desires propel us to create networks of interaction.
    1. Ideological (cultural)… Church for religion
    2. Economic… Markets
    3. Violent… Army / Military / Police
    4. Political… Government / State
    Each society piece has organizational counterpart, or to use a big Scrabble word, a ‘mediated symbolic environment’. The four above forms, abbreviated I E V P, are what Mann describes and Castells agrees with are the sources of social power. (incidently, we may add environment into the mix, but that’s a seperate conversation.)
    If through IEVP people attain what they want (pick a political group), they must work within one or more of these forums. These are not precise spheres but overlapping spheres. There is slippage between. For example, states’ market desires tend to be associated w/ military (overlap between E and V). Stateless violence is not associated to any one state; sub-state groups use violence… both meaning V and P are not concentric or have 100% overlap.
    What I’m really saying is threats span the spectrum, shouldn’t solutions span the spectrum? How do you win hearts and minds? If you cannot win the hearts and minds, do you, as another put it, put two in the heart and one in the mind?
    Does, however, the Pentagon get tasked with too much here? Should State take on more? Should USIA be resurected as an independent, like the British Council, to provide long-term and steady (not subject to myopic tweaking ala Jesse Helms or President Bush) consistency? Is the Pentagon taking up or being given the slack when it should not?

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