USAWC STRATEGY RESEARCH PROJECT
THE EVOLUTION OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE
LTC SUSAN L. GOUGH UNITED STATES ARMY
Professor Frank Jones Project Adviser
The views expressed in this academic research paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or any of its agencies.
U.S. Army War College CARLISLE BARRACKS, PENNSYLVANIA 17013
LTC Susan L. Gough
The Evolution of Strategic Influence
Strategy Research Project
7 April 2003
This paper will examine the evolution of how the U.S. Government and the Department of Defense have organized to conduct strategic influence as an instrument of national power, from the Psychological Warfare Division of World War II, through the Psychological Strategy Board and Operations Coordinating Board of the early Cold War, through the Vietnam years to today. Are they organized effectively today to meet the asymmetric threats of the 21st Century?
TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT………………….……………………… …….……………………..……………….iii THE EVOLUTION OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE……………………………… .....…………………1 WORLD WAR II ……………..………...………………...……………………………….……3 EARLY COLD WAR ……………………...…….……….. ...………….…………………….…6 TRUMAN…………………………………………………. .……………….…………………...7 EISENHOWER ……………………………………..……. …………………..…………….…12 MIDDLE COLD WAR ………………………………..……..….……………….……….…….15 REAGAN AND BEYOND …………………..…………….…...………………………………20 STRATEGIC INFLUENCE TODAY ……………………... …………..…………….………...28 THE WAY AHEAD ……………………………………..……………………………….……..33
ENDNOTES…………………………………………………. .…………………………….…….39 BIBLIOGRAPHY…………………………………………………….. …………………….……..49
THE EVOLUTION OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE
It is the significant actions taken by government in and of themselves, the appropriate and most desirable arrangements of such actions, and the manner and emphasis of the publication of such actions to the world, that advance the struggle for men’s minds and create a desirable climate of world opinion. Robert Cutler
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America in September 2001, both the American people and the U.S. Government tried to understand why some people could hate the United States so much that they would perpetrate such acts. Time and investigation into the motivations behind the terrorist acts have revealed that simply destroying terrorist organizations will not alter the conditions or mindsets that fostered such actions. America has again entered a war of ideas, of hearts and minds - a war of ideologies as potent and potentially dangerous as the Cold War. Failure to succeed could have equally dire consequences as any envisioned in the struggle against the Soviet Union and Communism. Like the Cold War, this is a global war. Like the Cold War, the War on Terrorism needs to contain the wellsprings of Anti-Americanism to prevent further spreading, and then to erode and eventually eliminate those wellsprings. As before, this new war for the minds of men includes our friends, allies and neutral audiences, as well as hostile ones. Despite its lone superpower status, the United States will need the support of other nations to succeed on a long-term, global scale. Since September 11, the Bush Administration has wrestled with how to organize and conduct a campaign to influence world audiences on a global scale – how to organize for strategic influence. In this paper, strategic influence is broadly defined as the deliberate, conscious coordination or integration of all government informational activities designed to influence opinions, attitudes, and behavior of foreign groups in ways that will promote U.S. national objectives, combined with other elements of national power to achieve maximum psychological effect. Every act of government has a psychological impact. The movement of a carrier battle group from one end of the Mediterranean Sea to the other, for example, has a direct psychological impact on the countries in the area it departed and the countries near its new location. It may also indirectly influence other audiences around the world. The movement of the carrier becomes part of a strategic influence campaign when its movement was deliberately
directed and timed with White House and Department of Defense (DoD) press conferences, with State Department diplomatic endeavors, and with other government actions to magnify the psychological effect. Strategic influence is nothing new; the United States has conducted strategic influence campaigns since its inception. The history of strategic influence in the United States has been a roller coaster, with ups and downs and occasional unexpected turns in new directions. And like a roller coaster, we always seem to end up back where we started. This oscillating approach has been a result of a peculiarly American outlook that using persuasion and influence at the national level is somehow unethical and inconsistent with a democracy, that using “psychological tricks” is “dirty” and immoral, and that it’s completely unnecessary: there is no need to overtly persuade; the United States should just factually show the world who we are, and everyone will automatically recognize how wonderful we are and want to emulate us. The successful propaganda efforts of U.S. enemies also contributed to the American distaste in many circles for strategic influence. Anything that smacked of propaganda or psychological warfare became something that only the “bad guys” did: first the Nazis, then the Soviets. Fortunately, despite this attitude and resistance, most U.S. administrations in the latter half of the 20th Century recognized both the value and need for strategic influence. Strategic influence and its elements have been known by many names: foreign information program, international information activities, political warfare, propaganda, psychological warfare, psychological operations, public information, public affairs, public diplomacy, international military information, information operations, influence operations, and perception management, to name just a few. Further, strategic influence has always had both overt and covert components. Today, key informational components of strategic influence include public affairs, political warfare, political advocacy, public diplomacy and psychological operations. While each of the components contains a persuasive element to some degree, by themselves they do not constitute strategic influence. Public diplomacy by itself is not strategic influence. Psychological operations are not strategic influence. None of these components can be conducted in isolation in the 21st Century. Strategic influence constitutes the orchestrated combination of them all. There is an accepted belief that history repeats itself, and that the mistakes of history will be repeated if we don’t learn them. As the Bush Administration continues to prosecute the War on Terrorism, what can history teach us about organizing for strategic influence? How has the U.S. Government organized in the past to coordinate and conduct strategic influence? What
has been the DoD organization for and role in strategic influence? In a world where information, both true and false, is available worldwide, twenty-four hours a day, where events are broadcast worldwide virtually instantaneously, is the United States organized effectively to win the strategic influence battle of the War on Terrorism? WORLD WAR II The real crucible for the evolution of U.S. strategic influence was World War II. While there had been a successful foray into propaganda during World War I, that experience was fleeting. U.S. propaganda in World War I had no lasting impact on the people involved, the U.S. Government, or the War Department. World War II, however, laid the foundation for the future for strategic influence. While many people still had doubts about the efficacy of propaganda and psychological warfare, few had been unexposed to it. Propaganda was everywhere: on the home front, in local, national and international news, and across the battlefields. Names synonymous with early U.S. Government and DoD efforts in strategic influence had their seminal experiences in psychological warfare in World War II – Robert McClure, Robert Cutler, and Gordon Gray, to name just a few. And the impressions and experience of these and other World War II veterans directly affected the U.S. Government’s approach to strategic influence through at least 1960. At the outbreak of World War II, neither the U.S. Government nor the War Department had an organized capability to conduct psychological warfare. There were no committees trying to coordinate amongst the departments. No departments or agencies had offices or personnel dedicated to propaganda. The Army had no psychological operations units, and had not had a psychological warfare office on the staff since 1918. 1 In early 1941, Colonel William B. Donovan conducted a fact-finding trip to the Middle East and Great Britain. Donovan was particularly impressed by Britain’s system of coordinating and combining intelligence, counterintelligence, psychological warfare and unorthodox methods of sabotage, subversion and guerrilla warfare to achieve objectives. Upon his return, Donovan recommended that the U.S. establish a single agency to coordinate and control these same elements for the U.S. Government. Donovan’s recommendations, combined with the growing Nazi threat, apparently received support within the Roosevelt Administration. On 11 July 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), with Donovan as its first director. COI had two divisions, Research & Analysis and the Foreign Information Service
(FIS), plus sections for special intelligence and sabotage. FIS had the information piece, with a mission to explain U.S. policy everywhere except Latin America.2 Thus the initial seed for strategic influence was sowed. But conjoined to that seed from its inception was a disease that continues to plague strategic influence today: internecine and interagency rivalry, misperceptions, misinformation, and “turf” battles over control, frequently leading to deliberate roadblocks. Not everyone was happy with COI; too few people understood either psychological warfare or the infant “special operations.” Less than a year later, on 11 June 1942, Roosevelt dissolved the COI, replacing it with two new organizations: the Office of War Information (OWI), responsible for the psychological warfare function, and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), responsible for special operations. Roosevelt created OWI due to a need to consolidate wartime information and psychological warfare activities in one agency and to better coordinate with the increasing number of agencies involved in propaganda. Roosevelt also desired to separate wartime propaganda from strategic intelligence and special operations. Over the next several months, additional presidential directives clarified the lines of responsibility between OWI and OSS. OWI had responsibility for domestic and overt psychological warfare, while OSS had the mission to conduct covert operations, including covert psychological warfare. Interestingly, the last such directive, in March 1943, directed that OWI coordinate its activities with the military services, but did not direct that OSS do the same.3 The War Department also began examining psychological warfare. In June 1941, John J. McCloy, the Assistant Secretary of War, formed a Special Study Group within G-2 to plan for future psychological warfare operations. This office eventually evolved into the Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB), G-2.4 Over the next year, a multitude of committees and groups were established to wrestle with psychological warfare issues: the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) established a Joint Psychological Warfare Committee and a Joint Psychological Warfare Advisory Subcommittee; OSS established a Supporting Committee on Psychological Warfare; and Donovan chaired a Joint Psychological Warfare Advisory Committee that was chartered to coordinate psychological warfare activities with other government and civilian agencies outside JCS purview, including OWI and the State Department. 5 This multitude of groups actually proved counterproductive at this stage of the development of strategic influence. In December 1942, the War Department disbanded the PWB. Too many agencies complained about the difficulty of defining psychological warfare and the various interpretations caused conflict within the Department. Interagency “turf” battles in
the new arena hampered any coordinated, constructive effort. JCS subsequently abolished all of its psychological warfare committees and gave OSS responsibility for military psychological activities. In response, the Army eliminated its PWB.6 More than a year before the U.S. launched Operation Overlord, the top levels of the military bureaucracy had no psychological warfare offices, because they could not agree on a definition or who should be responsible for what activities. However, the military was not bereft of psychological warfare assets. The same JCS document which disbanded the PWB and committees also gave the military theater commanders control of psychological warfare within their areas. This direction implicitly gave theater commanders the authority to determine their own relationship with OWI and OSS.7 Both the Pacific and European theaters conducted operational and tactical psychological warfare, controlled by organizations at the theater level. The theater commands created Psychological Warfare Branches or Divisions, depending on their needs. General Eisenhower activated the largest of these, the PWB at Allied Forces Headquarters (PWB/AFHQ), in North Africa in November 1942. By February 1944, PWB/AFHQ had expanded to become the Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force. 8 At the tactical level, the Army established a number of Mobile Radio Broadcasting Companies, armed with print presses, loudspeakers, typewriters, radios, public address systems and leaflet bombs. These units operated much as military tactical psychological operations units do today, forming small teams that deploy forward to directly support the combat units.9 In November 1943, after much discussion and still with lukewarm endorsements, the Army reversed its earlier decision and established a Propaganda Branch in G-2 in November 1943. The new branch had responsibility to coordinate propaganda functions for the War Department, to staff OWI plans through JCS, and to provide an Army representative to the JCS liaison with OWI. 10 Following World War II, despite advice to the contrary and the efforts of those involved, Army psychological warfare staffs and units virtually disappeared during the post-war drawdown. OWI and OSS also disbanded. By the outbreak of the Korean War five years later, the Army had only one operational psychological warfare troop unit. 11 Two notable exceptions remained. In the occupied territories, the theater military Psychological Warfare Divisions became Information Control Divisions (ICD). The ICDs focused on “consolidation psychological operations” – gaining the cooperation of the civilian and military populace in the occupied area, creating favorable public opinions for Allied objectives for
the areas, and controlling all information sources as well as the dissemination of information within the occupied territories.12 At the War Department and Army headquarters, the Psychological Warfare Branch moved in late 1946 from the G-2 to the Policy Section, Plans and Operations Division. This marked the first recognition that psychological operations are operational in nature, and while intelligence supports psychological operations, psychological activities are not an intelligence function. However, centralization of psychological warfare still eluded the War Department. Responsibilities for different aspects of psychological warfare rested with several different agencies within the Department. Not until the Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare was established in January 1951 did the War Department achieve centralization of effort. 13 At the end of World War II, while writing about his experiences as Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces, General Eisenhower noted: “In this war, which was total in every sense of the word, we have seen many great changes in military science. It seems to me that not the least of these was the development of psychological warfare as a specific and effective weapon…I am convinced that the expenditure of men and money in wielding the spoken and written word was an important contributing factor…Without doubt, psychological warfare has proved its right to a place of dignity in our military arsenal.” 14 When Eisenhower became President, psychological warfare became far more than just a piece of the military arsenal. THE EARLY COLD WAR The early Cold War years were a “Golden Age” for strategic influence. Veterans populated every department and agency of the U.S. Government – veterans, who, while they may not have been directly involved in psychological warfare, had seen the value and impact of such activities, and wanted to keep and utilize that capability in the future. Many people in government also correctly read the early evidence that the Soviet Union had also recognized the impact of propaganda during World War II, and was quickly building what would become a fearsome propaganda machine. The perspective of the country changed, too, in the aftermath of World War II and the beginning of the “Nuclear Age” – no longer could isolationism rule; the U.S. had to become the leader of the free world. Information and influence on the international scene grew in importance, as did the means to disseminate information. The need for enhanced coordination of national security policy at the top levels of the U.S. Government arrived on the coattails of World War II. In June 1945, James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, asked Ferdinand Eberstadt, vice chairman of the War Productions
Board, to conduct a study on what form of postwar organization should be established to provide for national security. Forrestal requested recommendations not just for better organizing the War and Navy Departments, but also how to better integrate the military services with other government departments and agencies for national security matters.15 In his report to Forrestal, Eberstadt recognized that a new organization for the military services and their integration with other departments was just one piece of a larger problem that needed to be solved. He discussed the growing necessity to integrate and provide direction for all the departments and agencies within the U.S. Government towards a common goal and a unity of effort. Eberstadt also believed that stronger ties should be created among the military services, departments and agencies for strategy, logistics, planning, scientific research, mobilization, and “between the gathering of information and intelligence and its dissemination and use.”16 To accomplish the necessary integration and direction, Eberstadt recommended the creation of a National Security Council to be the cornerstone of a new national security organization. Among its duties and functions as the formulator and coordinator for national security policy, Eberstadt recommended, “the Council should also control the policies and activities of the organizations responsible for the conduct of psychological and economic warfare.”17 Strategic influence, then, has been a part of the National Security Council since its inception. TRUMAN Two years later, on 26 July 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act, to “provide for the establishment of integrated policies and procedures for the departments, agencies, and functions of the Government relating to national security.”18 The National Security Act enacted many of Eberstadt’s recommendations, including both the creation of the National Security Council, to advise the President on the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to national security, and the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 19 The National Security Council’s first foray into a national information policy came in December 1947, with the signing of National Security Council Memorandum (NSC) 4/4A, “Coordination of Foreign Information Measures.” The National Security Council hoped this directive would correct the lack of coordination in a weak U.S. propaganda campaign, to counter the well-coordinated and increasingly effective Soviet propaganda campaign. NSC 4 dealt with overt information policy. The memorandum designated the State Department as the primary
coordinator of U.S. information policy, and created the Interagency Foreign Information Organization (IFIO). NSC 4 also identified the CIA and the Army’s Chief of Information, under the Deputy Chief of Staff, as key supporters of the national propaganda effort. NSC 4 included the Navy’s Division of Public Information and the Air Force Troop Information and Education Division as potential players as well. The latter agency, and others similar to it, was included in information policy organizations throughout the Cold War because Cold War psychological warfare and counter-propaganda campaigns also included protecting and arming troops against hostile propaganda. NSC 4A, a classified annex, directed the CIA to initiate and conduct covert psychological operations to counteract Soviet propaganda. 20 Echoes of OWI and OSS can be clearly seen in this delineation of effort between overt and covert operations. IFIO members included the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), CIA and the National Security Resources Board.21 The Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs headed the organization. IFIO did little until the Korean War. During that conflict, IFIO issued weekly directives that were to be used by member agencies as a basis for their propaganda activities overseas. IFIO’s more lasting contribution came from its chairman, Edward Barrett, who first suggested the creation of a National Psychological Strategy Board in August 1950 to more effectively coordinate the national effort. For Barrett and the State Department, however, it was also a move to demilitarize the Government’s psychological warfare activities.22 Congress also maintained a keen interest in national information and security policy. After a visit to Europe, where they had been inundated with hostile Soviet propaganda, Senator H. Alexander Smith and Representative Karl Mundt sponsored the Smith-Mundt Act. This Act, which passed with little difficulty on 16 January 1948, “breathed life into overseas information programs,” and laid the groundwork for the future U.S. Information Agency (USIA). The SmithMundt Act provided funds “to spread America’s message to the world” through a variety of media, including radio, print, film and exchange programs.”23 The Smith-Mundt Act also directed that any such information and programs “shall not be disseminated within the United States, its territories, or possessions.”24 Congressional and Department of Defense General Counsels have interpreted this statute to also apply to military psychological operations. In response to the concerns and disagreements between DoD and the State Department over the implications of NSC 4/4A, President Truman signed NSC 10/2 on 18 June 1948. This directive created the Office of Special Projects, to carry out covert activities that had been assigned to the CIA, including covert psychological operations. The Office of Special Projects carried out plans as formulated by the Departments of State and Defense, but reported only to
the CIA. This gave State and Defense some input into covert operations, but kept responsibility for it within the CIA. To maintain the secrecy and security of the covert operations, the name of the office changed shortly thereafter to the more ambiguous Office of Policy Coordination.25 One of CIA’s early ventures included the establishment and covert funding of U.S.-controlled overseas broadcasting stations, including Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. 26 As the Cold War continued to build, some officials in the Truman Administration argued that the U.S. needed to do more than it was currently doing to influence the world situation. Based on recommendations from an ad hoc committee headed by Paul Nitze, Truman signed NSC 68 on 14 Apr 1950. NSC 68 called for an intense program of both overt and covert economic, political and psychological warfare to influence the political and psychological conditions in both the Free World and Soviet areas, with a particular aim to foster unrest in Soviet satellite countries.”27 NSC 68 was the hallmark of the American containment strategy of the Cold War. While the Truman Administration prepared to fight both the Cold War and a potential World War III, North Korea attacked South Korea in the Fall of 1950 and precipitated a new type of war – “limited” war. The Soviet role in the origins of the Korean War galvanized the need for better coordination and planning of psychological warfare at the national level. The Soviets increasingly used propaganda and other unorthodox methods to increase their sphere of influence. The United States needed to find ways to counter Soviet influence that would not trigger nuclear war. Recognition arose that this was as much a battle of ideas, a battle for the hearts and minds of men, as it was a battle of tanks and artillery. Political and psychological warfare became key weapons in the U.S. arsenal. At the Pentagon, the Army activated the Psychological Warfare Division (PWD), G-3, to handle Army’s psychological warfare responsibilities in both Korea and the growing Cold War. Six months later, the PWD became the Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare (OCPW). OCPW was not a section within the G-staff, but a special staff office with over 100 personnel and a direct access to the Chief of Staff. OCPW had responsibility for developing Army psychological and special operations plans, recommending policies for psychological warfare and special operations, and supervising the execution of Army programs in the field. 28 Within the Korean theater, the military organized theater, operational and tactical level military psychological units much like the ones in World War II – with one key advancement. The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group (1st RB&L) was specifically designed to conduct strategic propaganda in direct support of military operations and to further long-term strategic aims. The 1st RB&L targeted not just enemy forces, but foreign populations in both friendly- and
enemy-occupied areas.29 It was the first military psychological operations troop unit to have a strategic psychological mission. On 4 April 1951, President Truman created the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) to develop, coordinate and evaluate the national psychological strategy effort, including the formulation and promulgation of national psychological objectives, policies and programs.30 The PSB had three principal tasks: “(1) to provide more effective planning of psychological operations within the framework of approved national policies; (2) to coordinate the psychological operations of all departments and agencies of government; and (3) to evaluate the effectiveness of the national psychological effort.” 31 The creation of the PSB was the first time the U.S. Government attempted to organize a national psychological effort for influencing international audiences above the military theater/operational level. PSB members included the Under Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Director of Central Intelligence; JCS provided a representative as the principal military adviser. PSB had a full-time Director, an Executive Secretariat, and a staff. The staff was organized into three offices, each under an Assistant Secretary: Plans and Policy, Coordination, and Review. The PSB also established panels, made up of representatives from each Office, and others agencies as needed. Panels were created as needed to handle one issue, and reported to the Offices and directly to the Board. 32 The PSB was not technically a part of the National Security Council structure. Rather, it was an independent organization, but was required to report to the NSC on its activities and its evaluation of national psychological efforts.33 An important distinction - the PSB was intended as a coordinating organization and was not authorized to perform psychological operations.34 Truman’s first PSB director was Gordon Gray, former Secretary of the Army. 35 Gray took a very broad view of PSB’s responsibilities. None of the directives governing the PSB provided a specific definition for “psychological strategy” or “psychological operations”. Gray interpreted PSB responsibilities as having cognizance over anything that had a psychological impact. Since virtually any act by a nation has such an impact, Gray eventually believed that PSB should have the lead on all foreign policy matters short of formal hostilities. A clash with State was inevitable. State firmly believed that PSB should be restricted to just coordinating information and propaganda, and not other aspects of foreign policy. Over time, other agencies and departments also became concerned that PSB was overstepping its boundaries and becoming almost a second National Security Council. This friction and broad interpretation of responsibilities eventually led to the PSB’s downfall. 36
Gray’s early priorities on taking charge, however, are still a model for today: development of a strategic plan, an estimate of the current situation, a statement of objectives, a plan for reaching national goals, and a clear delineation of responsibilities. Gray was also an early proponent of the need to improve understanding of the scientific aspects of psychological operations.37 Additional specific tasks and responsibilities for psychological operations were articulated in NSC 59/1, which covered overt propaganda efforts and established the Psychological Operations Coordinating Committee, and NSC 10/5, signed 21 October 1951, which expanded on NSC 10/2, reaffirming CIA responsibility for covert operations, including covert psychological operations, and calling for intensified covert action. 38 At this time, there were three key players in strategic influence: CIA, State and DoD. On 16 January 1952, State Department established the International Information Administration as its information arm that coordinated with PSB.39 In response to the establishment of the PSB and the additional psychological operations tasks specified in NSC Memorandums 10/2, 10/5 and 59/1, the Department of Defense (DoD) published DoD Directive C-5132.1 in April 1952, titled “Organization, Office of Psychological Policy.” This directive established the Office of Psychological Policy, under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. The new office was headed by a Deputy for Psychological Policy, formally known in Defense parlance as the Deputy Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs – Psychological Policy. DoD signaled the importance it gave this new office by specifying in the directive that the Deputy for Psychological Policy “shall have direct access to the DoD member of the PSB on matters pertaining to PSB and to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs on other matters.”40 The directive laid out DoD responsibilities, which included developing DoD positions on all PSB objectives, policies and programs; providing representation to the PSB and its panels, to the Consultant’s Committee established by NSC 10/2, to any ad hoc committees established by NSC 10/5, and to the Psychological Operations Coordinating Committee established by NSC 59/1; and ensuring coordination with all DoD departments and agencies participating in any of these committees’ activities.41 The role of DoD in peacetime psychological operations was not clear in DoD, let alone the other departments. The other departments tended to believe that, while DoD had a clear role in psychological warfare during hostilities, it didn’t have much to do in peacetime. Some senior officials in DoD, though, felt that DoD capabilities could be utilized more effectively in
peacetime than the limited scope envisaged by other departments. DoD began to make a case for a larger role in psychological operations and planning its portion of the PSB’s first status report, outlining the planning it had already done for wartime, when most of the U.S. propaganda machine would be subordinated to military goals. In the report, DoD also called for increased use of military assets for peacetime propaganda value. 43 In March 1952, the Army established the Psychological Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to train both psychological operations and special operations personnel and units. 44 In late 1952, DoD further supplemented and expanded on its policy and roles regarding psychological operations with DoD Directive S-3140.1. Two of the key purposes in DoD Dir S-3140.1 were establishing authority for using DoD capabilities to conduct psychological operations when not at war, and establishing a DoD Committee on Psychological Operations to more effectively coordinate and integrate DoD psychological operations efforts in the national psychological operations effort. 45 The directive also sought to increase senior official attention on psychological operations, and to enhance continuity, consistency, security and timeliness of psychological actions. To ensure that psychological operations received the necessary consideration at the top levels of the policy decision-making chain, DoD directed the Services Secretaries to assign functional responsibilities for psychological operations to Under Secretaries or Assistant Secretaries, and directed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to assign responsibility for military psychological matters to a general or flag officer. These officials, plus a representative from the DoD Office of Public Information, constituted the members of the new DoD Committee on Psychological Operations, headed by the Deputy for Psychological Policy. As with the earlier directive, DoD declared the significance of these new responsibilities by stipulating that the committee members “shall be specifically empowered to have necessary access to key personnel within their respective departments in all matters concerning psychological problems with which they are concerned.”46 The committee’s purpose included securing the exploitation and integration of DoD potential in psychological operations and securing DoD viewpoints on psychological operations matters. The committee’s initial task included developing and submitting an outline of the specific roles, objectives and capabilities of DoD to conduct psychological operations during the Cold War.47 EISENHOWER The “Golden Age” for strategic influence continued under Eisenhower. Due to his wartime experience, Eisenhower came to the presidency with a clear idea on the uses and effectiveness of information and psychological warfare. He also had some very firm ideas about
the need for coordination at the highest level of government to win the battle against Communism. In a campaign speech in 1952, he spoke about the need to coordinate every significant act of government, to time and direct all the departments’ actions, to produce the maximum effect.48 In his second National Security Council directive, Eisenhower stated, “psychological operations are established instruments of national power.” 49 Early in 1953 Eisenhower established the President’s Committee on International Information Activities (PCIIA), to examine in depth the nation’s Cold War information policy. The committee was headed by William H. Jackson, a lawyer and former Deputy Director of the CIA, and included other notables in Eisenhower’s Administration: Robert Cutler, Eisenhower’s first National Security Adviser and a one-time member of the PSB; Gordon Gray, who would later become one of Eisenhower’s National Security Advisers; John C. Hughes, one of Eisenhower’s aides; and C.D. Jackson, a former member of the OWI who had worked with Eisenhower during World War II and Eisenhower’s future PSB Director.50 The PCIIA report, published in June 1953, criticized the current state of information policy and the PSB in several areas. First, while the PSB had accomplished significant planning and provided guidance to the other agencies, it lacked the power and authority to effectively coordinate within an uncooperative interagency environment and to ensure implementation of its plans and policy guidance. Second, the PCIIA criticized the Truman Administration for conducting a defensive campaign against the Soviet regime, and urged Eisenhower to take the offensive in psychological warfare. And, third, they felt that the PSB had gone too far in developing an independently existing psychological strategy that was not integrated with overall national strategy. The name itself fostered a misconception that psychological strategy could be separated from every act the nation took. 51 At this time, the National Security Council was an advisory board, not a coordinating agency. There were no interagency working groups, no policy coordinating committees as there are today. There was not even a National Security Adviser yet. PSB, at least while under Gray, had tried to fill that coordinating role, but without the proper authority, was unsuccessful. Amongst PCIIA’s recommendations, Eisenhower enacted three key ones that were to have a profound effect on national security policy-making and psychological warfare under his Administration: the creation of the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the creation of the Operations Coordinating Board, with the subsequent abolition of the PSB, and the creation of the USIA. Cutler, in a separate report to Eisenhower, first recommended that the President’s Special Assistant for Cold War Planning become an adviser to the National Security Council,
with the corresponding elimination of the PSB Director as an observer. Not long after, the Cold War Planning position became the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, and Eisenhower chose Cutler as his first National Security Adviser. 52 PCIIA strongly recommended replacing the PSB with the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB) to “coordinate and integrate psychological with national strategy and, more importantly, to act as the coordinating and integrating arm of the National Security Council for all aspects of the implementation of national security policy.” 53 PCIIA clearly intended to fix some of PSB’s problems, and signaled a change in the view of the National Security Council from advisory to coordinating. This was also the birth of the modern National Security Council interagency committee system. Eisenhower established the OCB by Executive Order 10483 on 2 September 1953. Like the PSB, OCB was not originally within the NSC structure, but a separate agency that reported to it. The order also designated the Under Secretary of State as OCB chair. According to Cutler, the OCB would coordinate and “ride herd on” the performance and policies of all departments and agencies responsible for carrying out national security policy, and would be “constantly mindful” of the psychological implications of their actions.54 In January 1954, Eisenhower signed a National Security Council Memorandum that delineated the responsibilities for the departments and agencies participating in foreign information programs and psychological operations under his new National Security Council system. OCB responsibilities, with respect to psychological operations, included initiating new proposals for action, advising agencies on their operational planning responsibilities, coordinating the interdepartmental aspects of those plans, and orchestrating the timely execution of psychological operations to ensure their full contribution to the attainment of national security objectives.55 The third key recommendation of the PCIIA was the creation of the USIA. Truman had created the International Communications Agency to manage the activities under the SmithMundt Act.56 Based upon the PCIIA report, Eisenhower created the USIA to perform the same work, but now as an autonomous agency reporting directly to the National Security Council. The USIA Director regularly attended National Security Council meetings as an observer.57 Eisenhower’s directive gave USIA responsibility for coordination of policies, plans and operations for the national foreign information program. USIA also had responsibility for disseminating to other departments guidance concerning the official treatment of news in foreign information outlets. In another attempt to correct the PSB’s problems, the memo also stipulated that such guidance was authoritative for all departments and agencies. The directive also drew
a line between USIA and DoD responsibilities: USIA had responsibility for the foreign information program only in areas that were not military theaters of operations or where U.S. troops were actually engaged in combat operations. Since this NSC Memorandum also reconfirmed CIA’s responsibility for covert psychological operations in accordance with the applicable NSC directives (NSC 10 series), this relegated DoD to military psychological operations matters only, and an advisory role for the rest.58 This same directive also rescinded NSC 59/1, which had established the Psychological Operations Coordinating Committee (POCC), and established a new organization to provide OCB with a forum for carrying out its psychological operations responsibilities. Chaired by the Executive Secretary of OCB, other members included representatives from DoD, State, CIA, JCS, USIA, and the Foreign Operations Administration. The Service’s psychological warfare chiefs established in DoD Directive S-3140.1 served as consultants. All of the members also provided personnel to be a full-time staff, with OCB providing administrative support. 59 Throughout the rest of his time in office, Eisenhower continued to refine his mechanisms for coordinating national security policy and the national psychological operations effort. On 25 February 1957, Executive Order 10700 changed OCB’s status from an independent coordinating board to actually part of the National Security Council structure. The Executive Order also changed the OCB chairman from State Department to whomever the president designated 60 – and Eisenhower’s first choice was Gordon Gray. 61 On 4 June 1958, Eisenhower signed NSC 5812/1, which dealt with wartime responsibilities for psychological operations. Recognizing that “no single department or agency having responsibility in the field of psychological operations can feasibly perform these operations for the entire Executive Branch,” this directive specified the responsibilities of DoD, CIA, USIA and DoD under a variety of conditions. Eisenhower covered not just the general wartime responsibilities, but also which department or agency was in charge, depending on whether the target audience was friendly, neutral or hostile, and within or without the theater of operations. The directive also specified the workings of the coordination and flow of guidance from Washington to overseas and back. 62 THE MIDDLE COLD WAR
The next two decades after Eisenhower’s term constituted an “Ice Age” for strategic influence. The interagency structures and committees that Truman and Eisenhower built to coordinate strategic influence disappeared. The psychological warfare offices in DoD, JCS and
the Army dissolved, as did their coordinating committees. The few people on the staff who retained some responsibility, now lowly action officers rather than generals or Assistant Secretaries, lost direct access to the decision makers – an access that has never been regained. The military psychological troop units demobilized after the Korean War, except for one lone unit at Fort Bragg. Even before President Kennedy’s assassination, the focus of the Psychological Warfare Center had changed to special operations – even the name had changed, to Special Warfare Center. As one writer put it, “The congenial climate for American psychological operations was polluted in the seventeen years that followed 1956; not until President Reagan’s Westminster speech was there again much sunshine.”63 Subsequent administrations still used information and psychological methods in the Cold War, but they no longer received top-level attention. The elements of strategic influence still existed, but were compartmentalized throughout the departments. CIA retained the covert operations mission. State Department conducted its traditional foreign diplomacy mission, and USIA had the overt foreign information mission. However, starting in the 1960s, the USIA shifted focus. The informative function, focusing on objective, factual reporting of news, gained emphasis, while attention on the persuasive function and the function of advising other departments on psychological implications declined. 64 The various administrations during this period did not create any permanent overarching committees to coordinate psychological activities within the government. Departments and agencies were expected to coordinate with the others, but no one “ran the show”. There was no national level effort to direct and coordinate the timing of acts to ensure maximum effect. Ad hoc committees sometimes appeared to fill the vacuum, but these were usually narrowly focused and of short duration. Party politics played a key role in this change. Eisenhower carried over into his Administration people who had been key in Truman’s Administration, such as Gordon Gray. Kennedy, much like modern presidents, brought in a whole new team. Kennedy also, both personally and as a Democrat, had a vastly different view of the role of the National Security Council and its organization. Another key factor appears to be the loss of a voice of sufficient stature to influence the top levels of the government. This may have been due to a generational change and lack of direct experience. The Truman and Eisenhower Administrations had been filled with highranking World War II veterans who had worked together, or at least known one another, during the war, and who had had to consider the implications of psychological warfare at the theater level. Starting with Kennedy, World War II veterans in the Administration tended to have been
junior or field grade officers, with virtually no propaganda experience except at the receiving end. Truman and Eisenhower had many advocates for strategic influence; Kennedy and Johnson had few. Prior to Kennedy taking office, Senator Henry M. Jackson headed a congressional inquiry into government methods for formulating national policy in the Cold War. Jackson’s report was highly critical of Eisenhower’s National Security Council system, deeming it a bloated paper mill that didn’t accomplish much real work, and that exceeded what he envisioned as the proper role for the Council. Jackson viewed the National Security Council as a small forum of intimates for the President to explore intelligence and policy options; he believed it ill-suited for comprehensive coordinating and follow-through of responsibilities.65 Jackson recommended a complete reorganization of the National Security Council, starting with the abolishment of the OCB. He believed that State Department should not only have control over foreign information policy, but should also be the agent of coordination on all major policies toward other nations. In his view, OCB infringed on this basic responsibility. Jackson also saw no need for permanent interdepartmental committees. He believed that the lead agency should have responsibility for implementation of policies cutting across departmental lines, with possibly the assistance of an informal, temporary interdepartmental group. 66 Jackson’s views dovetailed completely with Kennedy’s own views. Less than a month after taking office, Kennedy issued Executive Order 10920, abolishing the OCB. Over 45 interagency committees died with OCB. In the next few weeks, Kennedy continued to dismantle Eisenhower’s system, abolishing another 40 interdepartmental groups. The National Security Council staff decreased significantly and lost much of its power.67 Kennedy did not completely abandon psychological warfare, due to the focus on counter-insurgency throughout his term. Kennedy issued a number of National Security Action Memorandums (NSAM) directing increased emphasis, spending and action in counterinsurgency. While psychological activities rarely received primacy, they were normally imbedded in many of these policy directives. Four in particular demonstrated that the Administration did not ignore information as an element of national power. NSAM 3, issued 15 April 1961, directed the Bureau of Budget to study continued CIA funding of activities such as Radio Free Europe, and whether open government support would be better. Someone had raised the very valid concern that if the CIA cover were compromised, the program would lose credibility and therefore most of its effectiveness.68
NSAM 61, issued 14 July 1961, directed the State Department and USIA to use their means to support and disseminate an approved counter-theme to combat a Soviet propaganda theme called “peaceful coexistence”.69 NSAM 63, issued ten days later, directed the State Department, through the USIA, to provide foreign policy guidance to all international radio broadcasting and television stations controlled by U.S. Government agencies. These included DoD stations, such as the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service and the Voice of the United Nations Command in Korea. NSAM 63 also gave the USIA the authority to preempt any of these stations as needed for “special programs”.70 Kennedy did establish some interdepartmental groups, which he called “Special Groups”. On 18 January 1962, NSAM 124 established the Special Group (Counter-Insurgency). Special Group (CI) functions included insuring that all U.S. Government agencies recognized that subversive insurgency was a major form of politico-military conflict on a par with conventional war, and that such recognition was included in the “political, economic, intelligence, military aid and informational programs conducted overseas by State, Defense, [U.S. Agency for International Development], USIA and CIA.” 71 During the Vietnam years, the U.S. Government and DoD again established a fairly robust psychological operations effort to support the war. But this effort was narrowly focused to that theater, primarily tactical in nature, and did not last once the war ended. 72 A study on national coordination of psychological operations conducted by the Joint Staff in the early 1970s noted that an ad hoc committee approach had arisen to fill the void caused by both a lack of coordination and insufficient authority at high enough level providing guidance for psychological operations. One example cited was the Psychological Operations in Critical Areas Watch Committee (POCA). Another ad hoc group, the Interagency Working Group on Psychological Operations in Critical Areas, had formed POCA based upon a 1965 USIA study. The Joint Staff deemed POCA moribund at the time of its study, as POCA had had no meetings since May 1969, even though the memorandum of agreement establishing it was still valid. 73 Military psychological operations units during the Vietnam years traveled the familiar roller coaster track. In the 1960s, the Army had just one psychological operations unit. At the height of the Vietnam War, the Army had a full Group operating in Vietnam, and other psychological operations units stationed in Fort Bragg, Germany, Panama and Okinawa. By the mid-1970s, all that remained in the active component was one Psychological Operations Group – undermanned and with poor, antiquated equipment.74
President Johnson’s national security system was modeled after Truman75, but regarding strategic influence resembled Kennedy’s. USIA clearly had the lead on psychological warfare programs, and the emphasis was on Southeast Asia.76 While Johnson strengthened the National Security Council and established interdepartmental working groups, none appear to have dealt directly with strategic influence or psychological operations. A few, limited-scope ad hoc bodies did appear: the Vietnam Psychological Operations Working Group, which had been dormant for over a year by 1967, and the Psychological Operations Pressure Operations Group, which appeared briefly during the latter stages of the Vietnam War.77 Like Kennedy, Johnson believed that the State Department should have the lead in foreign policy. In March 1966, Johnson signed NSAM 341, which gave the Secretary of State authority and full responsibility for the overall direction, coordination and supervision of interdepartmental activities overseas.78 President Nixon reformed the National Security Council more along Eisenhower’s lines. Regarding strategic influence, though, he did not resurrect anything similar to the Psychological Strategy Board or the Operations Coordinating Board. Nixon continued a multi-pronged approach with CIA, State, and USIA, responsible for covert psychological operations, public diplomacy and overt information programs, respectively. DoD continued to have responsibility for psychological operations only in military theaters of operations. Nixon did issue a number of National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDMs) which had informational or psychological components: NSDM 3, “Direction, Coordination and Supervision of Interdepartmental Activities Overseas”; NSDM 7, “Direction, Coordination and Supervision of Interdepartmental Groups”; NSDM 19, “Washington Special Actions Group”; NSDM 23, “Vietnamese Special Studies Group”; and NSDM 40, “Responsibility for Conduct, Supervision and Coordination of Covert Action Operations”. Only one dealt directly with psychological operations: NSDM 63, “Psychological Warfare Operations Against Vietnamese Communists”.79 This NSDM continued the national-level narrow strategic influence focus on the Vietnamese theater, as opposed to a global focus. Unfortunately, further information dealing specifically with these NSDMs or the establishment of any ad hoc interagency committees was unavailable or still classified. The lack of attention at the upper levels of the government on strategic influence and the limited focus on Southeast Asia led to a reduction in effectiveness against Communist propaganda worldwide. Most U.S. efforts outside the Vietnam theater were negated by the virulent anti-Vietnam movement, and the highly effective Soviet and Communist psychological operations programs, which were both strategic and global. 80 At the time, both JCS and the Army strongly recommended the establishment of a permanent standing committee with
broadened responsibilities to coordinate implementation by all government agencies of the psychological aspects of decisions rendered by the National Security Council. 81 Their recommendations fell on deaf ears. As one writer put it, “During the Vietnam years, in spite of some notable successes with psychological and political techniques of counterinsurgency warfare, the US military and the government as a whole proved unable to devise and execute an overall strategy that took due account of the vital importance of the psychological-political dimension of the struggle.” 82 President Carter continued the separation of the elements of strategic influence among CIA, USIA, State Department and DoD. However, in his restructuring of the National Security Council system, he established two new committees that included information policy within their scope, but not as a primary focus. The Policy Review Committee developed national security policies in those areas that were the primary responsibility of one department but where the subject also had important implications for other departments. These areas included foreign policy issues with significant military or interagency aspects and defense policy issues having international implications. The Special Coordinating Committee handled sensitive intelligence activities and covert operations.83 REAGAN AND BEYOND Under President Reagan, strategic influence experienced a rebirth, buoyed by his emphasis on foreign policy and determination to win the Cold War. During his terms in office, the press dubbed Reagan “the Great Communicator” for his ability to use his speeches to gain support for his policies. It is an equally apt term for what he accomplished for strategic influence. Reagan’s initial national security strategy contained four basic components: diplomatic, economic, military and informational. 84 This was the first time that information had been elevated from a supporting instrument to a top element of national strategy. This emphasis on information and the psychological component – on strategic influence – of national security strategy continued throughout his terms. Three National Security Decision Directives (NSDDs) built the cornerstone of Reagan’s strategic influence policy: NSDD 45, signed 15 July 1982; NSDD 77, 14 January 1983; and NSDD 130, 6 March 1984. NSDD 45 revitalized the U.S. international broadcasting program, declaring it an important instrument of national security policy. It directed quantum improvements in the quality and capabilities of US-controlled broadcasting stations, such as Voice of America, Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio in the American Sector of Berlin. The directive established Radio Marti, to garner and consolidate anti-Castro support in Cuba and among Cuban exiles in the U.S. Reagan specifically stipulated that the money and other resources required to implement his improvements were to be given the same priority as other programs deemed vital to the national security. 85 NSDD 45 also directed that State Department give high priority to the diplomatic requirements for modernizing and expanding these stations, with particular emphasis on obtaining international support to halt and deter Soviet jamming of the stations and to develop countermeasures to that jamming.86 Reagan foresaw the future of space-borne platforms and initiated further research into direct broadcasting by satellite. Finally, NSDD 45 directed a study between State and DoD on closer integration and role of broadcasting facilities in crisis and war.87 NSDD 77 established a Special Planning Group (SPG) under the National Security Council to strengthen the organization, planning and coordination of the various aspects of public diplomacy related to national security. Chaired by the President’s National Security Adviser, SPG members included the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director, USIA, and the Assistant to the President for Communications, with other agencies invited as needed. The directive indicated the importance Reagan placed on strategic influence by listing department and agency principals as the primary members, although they could designate an alternate. 88 NSDD 77 also established four interagency standing committees that reported to the SPG: the Public Affairs Committee, the International Information Committee, the International Political Committee, and the International Broadcasting Committee. The latter committee had responsibility for planning and coordinating international broadcasting activities pursuant to NSDD 45.89 NSDD 77 gave the Public Affairs Committee responsibility for the planning and coordination of major speeches on national security subjects, and for the planning and coordination of public affairs for foreign policy events and foreign and domestic issues with a national security dimension. The International Information Committee had responsibility for planning, coordinating and implementing international information activities in support of US national security interests. This committee dealt almost exclusively with USIA activities, and was chaired by the Director, USIA. 90 The International Political Committee had a broader role than the other three. Headed by the State Department, it had responsibility for planning, coordinating and implementing international political activities in support of US national security interests. These activities included State Department’s role in foreign aid, in training and organizational support for
democratization, and coordination and cooperation with non-government organizations and private voluntary organizations that supported democratization. NSDD 77 specifically directed the International Political Committee to develop means to increase the U.S. Government capability to promote democracy, “as enunciated in the President’s speech in London, 8 Jun 82,” known as the Westminster speech. The directive also directed the committee to develop and implement plans, programs and strategies to counter totalitarian ideologies and political action by the Soviets. Additionally, NSDD 77 gave the State Department some authority to direct other departments to implement political action strategies in support of objectives established by the International Political Committee.91 While Reagan was generally pleased with the progress made under NSDDs 45 and 77, he did not feel that the departments had gone far enough, nor that they were maintaining focus. On 6 March 1984 he signed NSDD 130 to re-emphasize and clarify his policy on strategic influence. 92 NSDD 130 reiterated the importance of U.S. international information programs to national security, expanded Reagan’s policies set out in NSDDs 45 and 77, and directed “sustained commitment over time to improving the quality and effectiveness of U.S. international information efforts” – including improving the level of resources devoted to international information activities and their coordination with other elements of national power. Areas highlighted for improvement included designing products for different cultural target audiences, further enhancing international radio broadcasting, and reconstituting a program for disseminating books and other publications abroad. NSDD 130 directed studies into more effective use of international television broadcasting, including the new audio and videocassette technologies, and into how to utilize new communications technologies to penetrate closed societies. NSDD 130 also addressed functional and personnel requirements, including development of career tracks and education programs.93 NSDD 130 also directed great changes and improvements for DoD. First, NSDD 130 directed DoD to give a high priority to the revitalization and full integration of PSYOP in military operations and planning. Second, Reagan directed DoD to participate in overt PSYOP programs in peacetime. Third, he tasked the SPG to lead the development of coordinated interagency international information plans that included utilizing DoD capabilities. Fourth, NSDD 130 directed all departments and agencies to develop special procedures to ensure policy consistency and timeliness in international information programs during crisis and war.94 When NSDD 130 was published, DoD undertook a major review and evaluation of military psyop capabilities. That review showed that DoD capabilities had significantly atrophied
since the Vietnam War. DoD’s solution to correct its deficiencies was the DoD Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Master Plan of 1985. This watershed document provided a comprehensive plan for the fundamental improvement of DoD PSYOP capabilities worldwide, across the spectrum of conflict.95 Throughout DoD, PSYOP offices were re-established or improved. DoD created a PSYOP directorate, the first such office on the staff in over 20 years. JCS upgraded its PSYOP staff element from a branch to a division. The Department of the Army Staff upgraded its PSYOP staff element from a one-man shop to a PSYOP and Civil Affairs division. 96 Both Active and Reserve PSYOP units experienced growth in personnel, more funding for training, exercises and operations, and received updated equipment. One important directive of the Master Plan was the separation of PSYOP staff elements from special operations staff elements throughout DoD, including the military departments, the Joint Staff, Service staffs, unified and specified command staffs and their components. The DoD review had determined that the subordination of PSYOP personnel under special operations “de-linked” the PSYOP personnel from broad support of national policy and objectives and critical interagency coordination. The Plan also noted that PSYOP personnel in special operations staffs tended to work PSYOP issues only part-time, and the placement within special operations staffs contributed to a continuing lack of understanding within DoD of PSYOP. It also tended to reinforce the misperception by both military and civilian senior leaders that PSYOP focused primarily on special operations.97 The 1985 PSYOP Master Plan also called for the creation of a Joint PSYOP Center (JPOC), dedicated to the long-term development and nurturing of joint PSYOP capabilities in DoD. Among the responsibilities envisaged for the JPOC would have been developing longrange strategic PSYOP plans, and assisting both JCS and the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) to develop, plan and coordinate the DoD portion of national psychological operations activities. DoD placed the implementation of the JPOC on hold pending resolution of several issues resulting from the congressionally mandated reorganization of special operations, including the creation of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Once military PSYOP was placed under USSOCOM, the implementation of JPOC was never executed – lost in the internecine battle for resources within USSOCOM. 98 Nevertheless, the other directives within the PSYOP Master Plan greatly strengthened and improved military PSYOP. Reagan provided additional guidance to DoD for increasing psychological operations with Executive Order 12333. Reagan wanted to increase and expand the execution of
democratization programs in Latin America. The EO established a presidential finding for CIA covert psychological activities and directed DoD to initiate several programs in the region. On 26 July 1984 DoD published DoD Directive S-3321.1, Overt PSYOP Conducted by Military Services in Peacetime, in direct response to NSDD 130 and Executive Order 12333. This directive is still valid and used daily as the policy guidance for peacetime PSYOP. DoD Directive S-3321.1 established the Overt Peacetime PSYOP Program (OP3), still operative today. Under OP3 each regional combatant commander develops and submits a plan for conducting peacetime psychological activities to support combatant commander and national security objectives within their area of responsibility. These activities are not limited to military PSYOP units, nor even to military activities – regional combatant commanders can recommend that other departments execute certain activities. Combatant commanders coordinate their OP3 plans with Ambassadors in their region, and then submit the plans to JCS. JCS obtains concurrence within the military side of the Pentagon, while concurrently sending the proposed OP3 plans to OSD. OSD then coordinates within the interagency for review, comment and deconfliction. JCS passes approval of the plans back to the combatant commander once OSD has approved the plans. This process ensures that all the key players have had an opportunity to review the OP3 plans before the combatant commander executes the plan. 99 Reagan also created the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a mechanism for overseeing disbursement of funds for the support of democratic political and cultural institutions abroad. 100 In his Westminster speech, Reagan proposed an initiative “to foster the infrastructure of democracy – the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities – which allows a people to choose their own way, to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.”101 Congress authorized NED as part of the Fiscal Year 1984/85 State Department Authorization Act. Since its inception NED worked closely with State, USIA and, especially, private sector groups to foster abroad cultural values, institutions and organizations of democratic pluralism. By 1992, both Canada and the United Kingdom had developed similar grant programs. NED is still extant today as an independent organization which continues to work with the private sector to promote democratic institutions around the world. 102 Despite a setback from the Iran-Contra Affair, the success and potency of Reagan’s strategic influence program directly contributed to President George Bush’s (“Bush I”) success in building and maintaining a coalition during the Gulf War. Reagan’s improvement of U.S. military PSYOP capabilities also directly resulted in a highly successful psychological operations campaign during the conflict.
When Bush I took office, many “Reaganites” continued to serve in the new administration. Bush I continued many of Reagan’s policies and practices, but not all of them. Many of the Reaganites tried to re-establish the best of Reagan’s conventions, particularly those dealing with strategic influence. However, none were of sufficient stature to “carry the torch” through either the aftermath of Iran-Contra or the distraction of the re-election season. During the Gulf War, Bush’s National Security Council did establish and chair an ad hoc committee, the PSYOP, Propaganda and Public Diplomacy Committee (3PD). 3PD included representatives from OSD, State Department, USIA, CIA and JCS. The committee generally met at least twice a week, and focused on coordination and exchange of information between the participating agencies, rather than tasking or execution of activities. 3PD ended quickly after the Gulf War. OSD and JCS, with positive endorsements from the other members, led a drive to get it permanently established, but NSC never took action. Most of the senior Administration officials did not see the utility of a standing committee in peacetime.103 On 28 March 1990, Bush I signed National Security Review (NSR) 24. NSR 24 directed a broad examination of U.S. Government international broadcasting activities in the context of overall U.S. foreign policy objectives. The dramatic changes in the word political situation – the reintegration of Germany, the fall of the “Iron Curtain” and the pending dissolution of the Soviet Union – prompted the complete review of the mission, objectives and resource implications of government broadcasting. Bush I intended to use the response to NSR 24 for short-term decisions in the next two years. The NSR was very comprehensive, including directives for both a detailed assessment of current and future roles, and for the development of a broad range of policy options.104 Six months later, Bush I superseded NSDD 77 with National Security Directive (NSD) 51. NSD 51 reaffirmed the four basic missions for U.S. Government international broadcasting: explaining U.S. policies and actions to foreign audiences; describing and explaining American culture and institutions; providing objective news, commentary and information about U.S. and world events; and providing surrogate programming to areas of U.S. interest where there is not a free press. Additionally, NSD established a Policy Coordinating Committee on International Broadcasting, chaired by State. However, NSD 51 also directed the consolidation of broadcasting operations and other austerity measures due to constrained budget levels.105 Perhaps the most important directive in NSD 51 was the appointment of an independent bipartisan task force to study U.S. broadcasting assets, activities and technologies. Further, Bush I directed the task force to provide him with recommendations on the most appropriate organization and structure for a single U.S. Government broadcasting entity. This was the
genesis of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). . On 1 October 1 1999, as part of the 1998 Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act, the BBG became an independent, autonomous entity responsible for all U.S. Government and government sponsored, nonmilitary, international broadcasting. 106 One outcome of the Gulf War was the rise in the military of the term “command and control warfare” (C2W). C2W was a new concept for disrupting an enemy’s decision cycle. C2W consisted of five elements, called “pillars”: PSYOP, electronic warfare, deception, operations security, and physical destruction, all supported by intelligence as the foundation. By the end of the 1990s, C2W had become a subset of the broader “information operations,” which added computer network operations and critical information infrastructure defense to the original five pillars. When President Clinton took office, he abolished what remained of Reagan’s and Bush’s strategic influence interagency mechanisms. However, most of the military gains – the PSYOP Master Plan, OP3, and the improvement in military PSYOP troop units – remained, even through the post-Gulf War drawdown. In the late 1990s, Congress pushed for significant decreases in the foreign policy budget, including public diplomacy, under the pretext that with the winning of the Cold War, such a large public diplomacy machine was no longer needed – in reality, Congress was looking for money for domestic programs. In 1998, Congress passed the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act. Among its many actions, the Foreign Affairs Reform Act disestablished the formerly independent USIA, and merged its functions and missions under the cognizance of the Department of State, within the new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs.107 The same act slashed the State Department’s budget, a condition that persisted for over a decade. In 2001 the share of the budget devoted to international affairs was only 1.18 percent.108 By the end of the 1990s, the rise of the Internet and global media capabilities led to vast amounts of information, misinformation and opinions being available to the global audience. Much of the information and opinions spread by these new communications means did not reflect well on the U.S. or support national security objectives. Yet until 1999, the Clinton Administration did not have any specific national security policy concerning public diplomacy, international information, or information operations.109 Two key events in which information was used to devastating effect – the Balkans and the genocidal wars in Rwanda – galvanized Clinton into developing a national security policy to better fight this “new” war of ideas.110
On 30 April 1999, President Clinton finally established a policy on strategic influence by signing Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-68, “International Public Information”. The overall objective of this presidential decision directive (PDD) was to “promote understanding and support for U.S. foreign policy initiatives around the world.” 111 PDD 69 goals included developing and executing a more effective and coordinated international public information (IPI) strategy, countering the growing hostile misinformation about the United States, and more effectively promoting U.S. policy, values and interests to foreign audiences. Most importantly, the PDD sought to harmonize and synchronize at the national level the efforts of all the various players and planners in IPI – including what the PDD terms “overt international military information.” 112 PDD 68 directed three key implementation strategies to ensure that IPI was integrated into national security policy-making. First, PDD 68 established the IPI Core Group (IPICG) as the interagency working group responsible for coordinating the activities and efforts of all government agencies that planned and conducted IPI activities.113 The State Department chaired the IPICG, with NSC serving as deputy chair. Other permanent members included Assistant Secretary-level representatives from DoD, JCS, USAID, and the National Security Council, plus a stipulation for others as required, and the option to establish sub-groups on regional, functional and transnational issues as appropriate.114 Second, PDD 68 directed the development of a national IPI strategy, including IPI plans for potential major regional and transnational challenges and contingencies. Plans were to address U.S. responses, resources required, scope and duration of IPI activities, and the desired result. The PDD also directed that these IPI plans be integrated into interagency planning as mandated in PDD 56, “Managing Complex Contingency Operations.”115 Third, PDD 68 directed the IPICG to work with U.S. Government educational institutions to develop and conduct annual education and training activities designed to foster expertise in IPI and promote better coordination. 116 At the instigation of OSD and Joint Staff, PDD 68 also directed the detailing, on a full-time, non-reimbursable basis, of one or more military personnel to the IPICG Secretariat, in recognition of the “predominant interest of DoD.”117 PDD 68 was initially welcomed by the parties involved in its crafting. There had been no presidential guidance on strategic influence since Reagan’s NSDDs in the 1980s. And as USIA had been the primary means of “telling America’s story” overseas during the Cold War, there was growing concern about the U.S. Government’s ability to influence foreign audiences. PDD 68 was seen as a way to alleviate these concerns.118
However, PDD 68 ran into problems almost from its inception. State Department had the chair, but did not have the necessary direction and tasking authority over the other departments. Meetings turned in reporting forums rather coordinating arenas.119 The State Under Secretary also hesitated in acting and forming the IPICG; in two years only two meetings of the formal IPICG were convened, although action officers did meet. Resourcing was another issue. PDD 68 did not specifically provide any means or resources to the IPICG or to the implementing agencies. The departments hesitated to expand upon or initiate any new information activities without the assurance of funds to do so.121 PDD 68 was also an unclassified document. It soon appeared in the media, and critics abounded, from journalists, to former officials, to current “unnamed” officials. Criticism ranged from those who thought it would be no more than a global spin machine, to those who thought it would filter information normally widely available to reporters, to those who thought it was meant to propagandize the American public, to those who thought the party in power would use it as a political tool. 122 PDD 68 did have some accomplishments before its denouement. Under the IPICG, the Balkan IPI Working Group has been very effective in coordinating IPI activities in support of the continuing operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. And PDD 68 was the genesis of what is today a very close, mutually beneficial working relationship between DoD, the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Voice of America.123 STRATEGIC INFLUENCE TODAY
Shortly after taking office, President George W. Bush issued National Security Policy Directive (NSPD) 1, which restructured the NSC system. NSPD 1 abolished all of Clinton’s standing interagency working groups (IWG) and ad hoc groups. Instead of IWGs, Bush established policy coordination committees (PCC). NSPD 1 established a number of PCCs; more would be established in later NSPDs. NSPD 1 also recreated some of Clinton’s IWGs as subcommittees under one of the new PCCs. The IPICG was one of many former IWGs that languished for several months, awaiting a decision from the new Administration. Eventually Bush decided to grandfather PDD 68, and the IPICG became a subcommittee under the new Counter Terrorism PCC. However, the IPICG lost momentum as an interagency coordinating body during its time in limbo. While it still continued to operate, it became primarily a State Department operation. 124
The events of 11 September 2001 changed everything, not least of which was the administration’s outlook concerning strategic influence. Faced with direct evidence that many people around the world actively hated the United States, Bush began taking action to more effectively explain U.S. policy overseas. Initially the White House and DoD turned to the Rendon Group, a private public relations firm that was already under contract to burnish the U.S. image overseas. Rendon focused on the immediate 24-hours news cycle as a means to shape opinions, rather than a long-term ideological change. Rendon helped create Coalition Information Centers (CIC) in Washington, London and Islamabad. Personnel in these offices prepared daily press releases and responses to any enemy propaganda in the news, conducted polling and held focus groups, and coordinated the appearances of U.S. officials on key Arabic television programs to occur at strategic, highly watched moments.125 Over time, Rendon’s work was supplanted by other organizations. In October 2001, Bush swore in Charlotte Beers as the new Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy. Beers had been a highly successful advertising executive on Madison Avenue. Secretary of State Colin Powell and President Bush hoped that Beers would be able to use her advertising skills to rejuvenate State’s public affairs and public diplomacy programs to sell American policy and values overseas.126 Reactions to Beers’ appointment and to her first year in office have been mixed. Many critics doubt that the skills which succeed in selling a brand-name product to American consumers translate well into skills needed to sell policy and win a war of ideas with foreigners. Many complain that world opinion has changed little, or even worsened in the last year. Others feel that Beers has initiated several programs that may have an impact over time. 127 Early in August 2002, Bush announced the creation of the Office of Global Communications (OGC) to help manage and shape the U.S. image abroad. 128 Five months later Bush signed Executive Order 13283, officially establishing OGC within the White House Office. Bush assigned OGC the mission to advise the President on the most effective means “to ensure consistency in messages that will promote the interests of the United States abroad, prevent misunderstanding, build support for and among coalition partners of the United States, and inform international audiences.” This advice was to be given only for overt information activities.129 Other OGC functions specified in the Executive Order include assessing methods and strategies used by the government; coordinating the formulation of messages among appropriate agencies; working with other departments to develop a strategy for disseminating
“truthful, accurate and effective messages” about American policies, people and culture; and coordinating the creation of temporary communication teams that would deploy to areas of high global interest and media attention. Teams could not deploy without consultation with State Department and DoD.130 Like the Rendon Group, OGC is focusing on the short-term goal of winning the evening news cycle rather than making any long-term effort to change attitudes and opinions. Its messages are more informative, more journalistic, than persuasive. OGC reports only to the White House; it is not within the NSC structure, although it does coordinate with the two PCCs discussed below. Despite its direct link to the White House, OGC does not have any tasking authority. The last line of the Executive Order specifically states that OGC does not have authority to issue directives to other agencies.131 Bush split the remaining elements of strategic influence between two PCCs, the Counter Terrorism Information Strategy (CTIS) PCC and the Strategic Communications PCC (SC). NSC chairs the CTIS PCC, which is responsible for countering terrorist hostile propaganda and contains at least one subgroup, the Counter Propaganda Working Group. Both CIA and DoD participate in the CTIS PCC. NSC and State Department act as co-chairs of the SC PCC, which is responsible for overt public affairs and public diplomacy. The SC PCC has four subcommittees: Future Directions, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the State Fusion Center. Neither CIA nor DoD attends the SC PCC. And while the NSC chair of the CTIS PCC attends SC PCC meetings, the reverse is not true. 132 In August 2002, Congress also approved spending $225 million on cultural and information programs abroad, mostly targeting Muslim countries. Representative Henry Hyde sponsored the bill, citing a need to correct a “cacophony of hate and misinformation” about the U.S. “ 133 In March 2002, the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) launched Radio Sawa, an Arabic entertainment and news station that can be heard throughout the Middle East. Within just a few months, ratings increased by 33%. The BBG is now planning a television counterpart.134 In 2001, OSD established the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), in an attempt to fill the gaps between Bush’s PCCs and the OGC. Officials within DoD were also concerned about the void left from the nonfunctional IPICG. Bush’s organizations took a long time to become fully established and begin working. DoD also felt that the three organizations were too narrowly focused on explaining U.S. policy to broad, global audiences. None appeared to be focused on
specific target audiences, with a specific strategy and objectives in mind, or on the government actions needed to affect long-term U.S. goals.135 OSI was headed by Major General Worden, U.S. Air Force. OSI was nominally under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (ASD SOLIC), who had policy oversight of psychological operations, but it reported directly to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. DoD did not envision that OSI would be solely a DoD organization. OSI sought input and representatives from other departments from the beginning. DoD hoped that OSI would be a catalyst for action, and once it started developing and implementing influence campaigns, State would take a bigger role, and eventually OSI would become an interagency body. 136 MG Worden had a vision, plans and objectives for what he believed OSI should accomplish in support of national objectives – something that was lacking in the other players in strategic influence at the time. One of the first things OSI looked at was how to affect change in the madrassas, the Muslim schools, where the current curriculum and textbooks are virulently anti-American. 137 In a classic example of the internecine battles that have always plagued strategic influence, OSI was sabotaged internally within DoD and abolished by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld less than five months after its establishment. Someone in DoD leaked information to the press that OSI intended to plant false messages and misinformation in overseas media, news that would then be reported in the U.S. as factual. This type of action was not in OSI’s charter, and the charge was never substantiated. Nonetheless, Rumsfeld felt that the damage caused by the media controversy and exposure were too great to overcome, and he closed the office. All that remains in OSD for strategic influence is a small Office of Information Activities (OIA) buried within ASD SOLIC. OIA has retained responsibility for policy oversight of military psychological operations activities. It also provides the OSD representative to the CTIS PCC. OIA hopes to implement a few of the actions recommended by OSI, but with few resources, few personnel, and little authority, its effectiveness is doubtful. Additionally, OIA is maintaining a low profile, due to fears that whoever sabotaged OSI will also sabotage OIA. 138 JCS currently has a PSYOP division, generally six personnel headed by an Army O-6, within the J-39, Deputy Director for Information Operations (DDIO), a directorate that has existed only since 1997. Other divisions within DDIO have responsibility for other elements of information operations. The DDIO himself is a brigadier general; the first three have been Air Force generals. This gives functional responsibility for a majority of strategic influence to a
general or flag officer, something that had been missing for decades. The PSYOP Division has a multitude of responsibilities: coordinating PSYOP policy within JCS; developing and staffing JCS positions on DoD and national policy regarding PSYOP; promulgating joint PSYOP doctrine; representing JCS in the interagency; preparing and staffing deployment orders for PSYOP units; shepherding approval of PSYOP plans and orders within JCS and the Services; providing national-level PSYOP guidance to the combatant commanders; staffing PSYOP product approval within JCS and with OSD, when approval has not been delegated to the regional combatant commanders; and providing the U.S. representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) PSYOP Working Group. 139 When the War on Terrorism started in the Fall of 2001, JCS established the Information Operations Task Force (IOTF), at the direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), General Myers. Originally, the CJCS intended the IOTF to be an interagency group that would direct information and influence operations and act as the single point of contact for the U.S. Government; its original title was “Information Operations Resource Center (IORC).” But no other agencies or departments would participate in the IORC. No other agency wanted to put their people under a DoD brigadier general. 140 When the IORC didn’t become an interagency group, JCS established the IOTF. It was given space, but few other resources. DDIO stripped almost two-thirds of its own people, including all of the PSYOP Division, away from their normal duties to fill the IOTF.141 The IOTF was largely ineffective and was disbanded in July 2002. It initially developed a system of public affairs, PSYOP and information operations “alerts” to provide guidance and information to DoD senior officials and the regional combatant commands. No one ever used the public affairs or PSYOP alerts. The information operations alerts became just “FYI” notes for the DoD leadership, rather than action documents. The alert system had been designed to address both foreign and domestic audiences; however, the focus quickly changed to domestic audiences to gain public support for the War on Terrorism. One positive outcome of this illconceived idea was that PSYOP Division personnel were returned to their normal duties, due to concerns over violation of the Smith-Mundt Act.142 The IOTF did create an excellent, scientific database to measure and track “Measures of Effectiveness” (MOE) for information operations. Effective MOE tracking is a shortcoming in PSYOP and information operations. However, many DoD officials questioned the resources and effort put into the MOE database when there was not an effective information operations program to track. As one official put it, “we had the Cadillac of MOE databases with the Yugo of information operations campaigns.”143
Within the Armed Forces, there is still only one active duty organization, the 4th Psychological Operations Group (4th POG). It is a de facto national asset. This one unit provides support to all levels of DoD, from brigade to unified command, to both conventional forces and special operations, and to the other Services. 4th POG also frequently provides analytical support and PSYOP products directly to national level agencies and organizations. Within the 4th POG is the Strategic Studies Detachment – a group of high-quality civilian intelligence analysts and area experts who provide detailed PSYOP studies and assessments in support of unified commands and national-level agencies. In early 2002, Rumsfeld published his Defense Planning Guidance (DPG). The DPG directed OSD, JCS and the Services to develop an “Information Operations Roadmap” to improve DoD capabilities. The DPG included fourteen separate sub-studies that were to be addressed in the Roadmap. These included recommendations for the establishment of a strategic PSYOP detachment, for improved education on information operations, and for improvements in the information operations career field, including the creation of flag officer positions.144 The DPG itself and the Information Operations Roadmap developed within DOD remain classified. The Roadmap does recommend a significant budget increase for military PSYOP. It also recommends the establishment of a strategic PSYOP unit. Officials in DoD are not commenting on what the unit will look like, where it will be located or to whom it will report. Experts in the field believe that it should be located in the Washington, D.C. area, to properly integrate into the interagency strategic influence effort, including providing support to other agencies. However, many are afraid that the controversy over OSI would extend to the new unit and limit its ability if it were located in the area; alternative sites and command structures are being explored. THE WAY AHEAD “Why is the PSYOP contest so asymmetrical? One might assume that a “battle of ideas” should be won by a superpower that has more communications consultants, advertising executives, information and media specialists, political advisers, public relations professionals, and psychologists than the total number of [operatives in Al Qaeda].” 145 Originally written about the failure of U.S. “hearts and minds” campaigns during the Vietnam War, the quote above is equally valid today. Is the Bush Administration organized
effectively to counter the growing anti-American sentiment around the world? What can the Bush Administration learn from the past? The strongest periods of U.S. strategic influence had several common features: permanent, rather than ad hoc organizations; specific charters outlining roles and responsibilities for all agencies; top-level interest, guidance and cover; and full-time staffs. Further, the various departments had dedicated full-time people who had direct access to key policy decision makers. It’s ironic that back in Truman’s and Eisenhower’s Administrations, when the news media was extremely slow compared to today, there was better recognition than exists today that timeliness of decisions and activities is critical to strategic influence. This is particularly true in DoD, where the trained, experienced action officers are buried under layers of staffs levels, often headed by people who have little understanding or appreciation of the psychological impacts of policy. The 21st century information cycle will not wait while an action officer staffs policy decisions through several levels. The Bush Administration should re-evaluate how it has organized to conduct strategic influence. The current structure is trifurcated, with responsibilities split between three different organizations (OGC, CTIS PCC, SC PCC). Additionally, due to their narrow focus and lack of participation by all departments involved in strategic influence, gaps exist. Areas available for influence are not being exploited. One person should be in charge of strategic influence for the President - one person, who is a member of NSC, not one of the departments, agencies, PCCs, or OGC; one who can direct, coordinate and provide guidance to all. In today’s Information Age, the President needs a Special Assistant to the President for Information Activities – a National Information Adviser (NIA). The NIA should be provided a full-time staff, with experts from all the agencies, as Eisenhower did with his second POCC, established in January 1954. Both Eisenhower’s POCC and Reagan’s SPG, established under NSPD 77, provide models to build on. The role of the NIA would not be much different from the POCC Chair, the OCB Executive Secretary, or the SPG Chair, the National Security Adviser. The key difference is that national psychological strategy was just one of their myriad duties. Appointing an NIA, with a dedicated staff, whose sole responsibility would be strategic influence, would greatly improve coordination of strategic influence activities and the quality of advice provided to the President. The authority invested in the position would also improve implementation of activities. Both the PSB and IPICG failed because they lacked sufficient authority to direct the coordination and implementation of policy decisions, and because they could not rise above
interagency rivalry. Further, having an NIA should improve timeliness of interagency action. It has taken Bush’s SC PCC nearly two years to develop a vision and charter. Additionally, the Bush Administration needs to articulate a national psychological strategy, a strategy that is as broad and encompassing as the containment strategy of the Cold War. The nuclear threat, combined with other weapons of mass destructions (WMD), is as imminent today as ever. And the threat of another attack like 11 September is even greater. But now many of the potential perpetrators are non-state actors. Just as in the Cold War, the U.S. must use all elements of national power to deter the use of WMD. Strategic influence, as defined in the beginning of this paper, will be key to success. Persuasive information alone will not be sufficient; messages must be backed up by action or they will be ineffectual. Reagan’s NSPD 130 provides a starting model, although it needs to be updated. As one writer put it, “NSDD 130 should be dusted off and made required reading throughout the executive and legislative branches. This landmark document established international information as a major instrument of national security policy, and the responsibility of no single agency of the government.”146 Gordon Gray’s priorities upon becoming director of the PSB also provide a good example of how to begin addressing a national psychological strategy. The national psychological strategy should clearly define national interests and objectives. Goals not clearly defined are rarely achieved. Goals specifically defined will guide effective action by the departments; generalized statements will lead to continued inaction and interagency rivalry, and, ultimately, an ineffective strategic influence program. Objectives should include not just adversarial or hostile audiences, but also allies and neutral audiences. The weakening of U.S. alliance structures has been a key strategic objective of U.S. opponents in recent years.147 A national psychological strategy should concentrate equally on long-term attitude and behavior changes as on explaining U.S. policy to foreign audiences. The feelings that begat the acts of 11 September did not occur overnight. Those attitudes had been building for years, and they will not change overnight. A national psychological strategy should also incorporate U.S. Government actions that help foster positive changes in the social and political conditions that continue to create animosity towards the U.S. This may include re-examining U.S. policies versus U.S. national interests – is it more in the national interest to continue policies which are engendering such hostile attitudes, or would it be more in the U.S. national interest to modify that policy to mitigate the negative response? The PSB’s first report on its assessment of the U.S psychological efforts noted that, “the contract between the messages of freedom and democracy that were often broadcast and the
actions of the U.S. was often stark. The implication was that the current method of policy formulation could be more effective if the message and the actions were more closely coordinated.” 148 One of the NIA’s responsibilities would be to ensure that psychological impact of policies when communicated to foreign audiences is considered before the adoption of the policy. Secretary Rumsfeld needs to reorganize DoD as well. First, DoD needs someone with the appropriate position and authority to oversee the policy and to coordinate DoD strategic influence activities among DoD public affairs, military PSYOP, and other military information activities. Just as the President needs an NIA, so too does Secretary Rumsfeld need an adviser who is dedicated to strategic influence. History provides an example – the Deputy for Psychological Policy under Truman. Today, however, a “Deputy for Information Policy” would best be placed directly under the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USDP),149 so that the position would be above that of the several Assistant Secretaries of Defense who are players in strategic influence. OIA should then be moved under the new Deputy for Information Policy. DoD also needs to formally establish a DoD Committee on strategic influence, as has been done several times in the past. The officers and officials within JCS and OSD do a good job of communicating and coordinating among themselves. However, formalization lends legitimacy and gets attention. Flag officers and senior officials do not perceive ad hoc groups and meetings as being important compared to committee meetings which the Secretary of Defense or the USDP has declared will occur. One area that the Administration should address immediately is the distrust and antipathy of the military by other departments involved in strategic influence. PSB was based on the false premise that you could separate psychological strategy from national strategy. Equally fallacious in today’s world of instant, worldwide communications is the notion that you can separate military psychological activities from public affairs and public diplomacy. There is a prevailing misconception in the State Department and public affairs field that military psychological operations are not truthful, and that contact with PSYOP will somehow taint public affairs and public diplomacy. While there are valid reasons for keeping the messages and activities separated in the eyes of foreign audiences, those reasons do not apply to coordination at the U.S. national level. The initial strategic influence efforts of the Bush Administration have revealed a typically American myopic viewpoint: Americans assume that other people think as they do and want the same things that American do – that other people want to be like Americans. For instance, one of the first information products developed by Beers was a series of videos showing Muslim life
and activities in the U.S. This exemplifies the naiveté that simply showing America to foreign Muslims would convince them that they would want to emulate America and shouldn’t disagree with U.S. policies. It also demonstrated little understanding of how the target audience would view the film - Muslims in this country live in luxury compared to most of the Muslims overseas that the videos targeted. The target audiences could not identify with the film, there was no emotional connection. The Administration’s efforts also appear to be hampered by “political correctness,” something that has been a bane for military PSYOP for years. In an effort not to offend anybody, products are bland, without emotional impact. On other hand, terrorist propaganda does not simply reach for hearts and minds; it activates envy, fear and anger by stirring primal emotions.150 Television provides numerous examples of angry, intense, committed antiAmerican protestors. Seldom do you see equally emotionally committed people protesting for the United States. At some point, strategic influence must go beyond simply informing and educating and must involve the emotions of the target audiences. “Painful as it may be to face squarely the question of American cultural inhibitions in the area of psychological-political conflict, the effort is necessary – in order not only to develop intelligent approaches to dealing with them but also to achieve the cultural self-consciousness essential for effective participation in this kind of conflict. It is essential because Americans tend to assume that people everywhere are much like themselves, with similar fundamental motivations and views of the world. But blindness to differences in national characteristics is apt to be a fatal handicap for anyone attempting to affect the psychological orientation and political behavior of foreign audiences.”151 The answer to the question, “Why do they hate us?,” is not just that they don’t understand us. Simply explaining U.S. policy, U.S motives, and the U.S. way of life will not change hostile audiences if they perceive our policies as inimical to their way of life. A worldclass strategic influence campaign will not be the panacea for overcoming the current difficulties in world opinion. No wizardry in communications can make bad policy decisions or actions palatable. However, having a competent strategic influence campaign is essential to U.S. victory in the War on Terrorism. Without one, anti-American sentiment will continue to grow, and the U.S will be increasingly vulnerable to more attacks like 11 September 2001.
WORD COUNT = 15,387
Alfred H. Paddock, Jr., “Military Psychological Operations,” in Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the US Approach, ed. Frank B. Barnett and Carnes Lord (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1989), 46. 2
Alfred H. Paddock, Jr., U.S. Army Special Warfare: Its Origins (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2002), 3-4. 3
Paddock, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 46.
Paddock, U.S. Army Special Warfare, 12.
Paddock, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 47.
Paddock, U.S. Army Special Warfare, 41.
Ferdinand Eberstadt, “Postwar Organization for National Security,” in Decisions of the Highest Order: Perspectives on the National Security Council, ed. Karl F. Inderfurth and Loch K. Johnson (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1988), 29-30. 16
U.S. Congress, “The National Security Act of 1947,” in Decisions of the Highest Order: Perspectives on the National Security Council, ed. Karl F. Inderfurth and Loch K. Johnson (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1988), 37. 19
Ibid., 38-39; Eberstadt, “Post War Organization”, 33.
Benjamin R. Rose, Presidentially Mandated Strategic Psychological Warfare Policy Coordination Under Truman and Eisenhower: The Psychological Strategy Board and the Operations Coordinating Board (Harrisonburg, VA: James Madison University, 1999), 10-11. 21
The National Security Resources Board (NSRB) was created by the National Security Act of 1947, and disestablished in 1953, primarily because many of its functions were transferred to other agencies. The NSRB monitored, planned and coordinated the use of national assets in the event of an atomic attack on the U.S. 22
Smith-Mundt Act, U.S. Code, Title 22, Chapter 18, Sec. 1461 (1948); excerpt available from ; Internet; accessed 27 February 2003. 25
Carnes Lord, “The Psychological Dimension in National Security,” in Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the US Approach, ed. Frank B. Barnett and Carnes Lord (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1989), 14; Rose, 40. 27
Rose, 18; Paddock, U.S. Army Special Warfare, 40.
Paddock, U.S. Army Special Warfare, 94-95.
Paddock, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 47.
U.S. Department of Defense, Organization, Office of Psychological Policy, Department of Defense Directive C-5132.1 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense, 21 April 1952), 1. 32
Stanley L. Falk, “The NSC Under Truman and Eisenhower,” in Decisions of the Highest Order: Perspectives on the National Security Council, ed. Karl F. Inderfurth and Loch K. Johnson (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1988), 71; Thomas J. Saxon, Jr., The Evolution of the National Security Council System Under President Nixon (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1971), 94. 34
Department of Defense Directive C-5132.1, 1.
Department of Defense Directive C-5132.1, 1; Paddock, U.S. Army Special Warfare,
Lord, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 14.
Department of Defense Directive C-5132.1, 2.
Paddock, U.S. Army Special Warfare, 2.
Paddock, U.S. Army Special Warfare, 139.
U.S. Department of Defense, Internal Organization of the Department of Defense for Psychological Operations, Department of Defense Directive S-3140.1 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense, 10 January 1953), 1. 46
Saxon, 108; Rose, 35.
National Security Council, Responsibilities and Principles Governing the Conduct of the Foreign Information Program and Psychological Warfare, National Security Council Memorandum (Washington, D.C.: National Security Council, 25 January 1954), 2. 50
Saxon, 110, 117; Rose, 38, 42.
Saxon, 117; Robert Cutler, “The Development of the National Security Council,” in Decisions of the Highest Order: Perspectives on the National Security Council, ed. Karl F. Inderfurth and Loch K. Johnson (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1988), 59; Rose, 46-47. 52
Saxon, 117; Falk, 73.
National Security Council Memorandum, Responsibilities and Principles Governing the Conduct of the Foreign Information Program and Psychological Warfare, 2. 56
Lord, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 19.
Cutler, 61; Lord, 14.
National Security Council Memorandum, Responsibilities and Principles Governing the Conduct of the Foreign Information Program and Psychological Warfare, 3. 59
National Security Council Memorandum, Responsibilities and Principles Governing the Conduct of the Foreign Information Program and Psychological Warfare, 4. 60
National Security Council, Wartime Organization for Overseas Psychological Operations, National Security Council Memorandum 5812/1 (Washington, D.C.: National Security Council, 4 June 1958). 63
Frank R. Barnett, “Afterword – Twelve Steps to Improving American PSYOP,” in Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the US Approach, ed. Frank B. Barnett and Carnes Lord (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1989), 212. 64
U.S Department of the Army, The Art and Science of Psychological Operations: Case Studies of Military Application, Volume One, Department of the Army Pamphlet 525-7-1 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Army, April 1976), 110. 65
Saxon, 149; Henry M. Jackson, “Organizing for National Security,” in Decisions of the Highest Order: Perspectives on the National Security Council, ed. Karl F. Inderfurth and Loch K. Johnson (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1988), 85. 66
McGeorge Bundy, “Questions Arising from CIA Support of Certain Activities,” National Security Action Memorandum Number 3 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 15 April 1961). 69
McGeorge Bundy, “An Effective Countertheme to ‘Peaceful Coexistence’,” National Security Action Memorandum Number 61 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 14 July 1961). 70
McGeorge Bundy, “Policy Guidance and Preemption of U.S. Government-Controlled Broadcasting,” National Security Action Memorandum Number 63 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 24 July 1961). 71
John F. Kennedy, “Establishment of the Special Group (Counter-Insurgency),” National Security Action Memorandum Number 124 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 18 January 1962). 72
Barnett, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 212.
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Coordination of Psychological Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff Study (Washington, D.C.: The Joint Staff, n.d.), II-3 – II-4. 74
Paddock, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 48.
Lyndon B. Johnson, “Informational and Psychological Warfare Programs in South Vietnam,” National Security Action Memorandum Number 325 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 12 March 1965); Lyndon B. Johnson, “Intensified and Expanded PSYOPS Activities in Vietnam,” National Security Action Memorandum Number 330 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 9 April 1965). 77
Alfred H. Paddock, Jr, , “Assistance,” electronic mail message to author, 12 February 2003. 78
“Presidential Directives and Executive Orders,” Available from ; Internet; accessed 28 January 2003. 80
Barnett, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 212.
Lord, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 15.
James E. Carter, “The National Security Council System,” Presidential Directive/NSC2 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 20 January 1977). 84
Alfred H. Paddock, Jr., “U.S. Military Psychological Operations: Past, Present, and Future,“ in Psychological Operations and Political Warfare in Long-Term Strategic Planning, ed. Janos Radvanyi (New York: Praeger’s, 1990), 23. 85
Ronald W. Reagan, “United States International Broadcasting,” National Security Decision Directive Number 45 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 15 July 1982), 1. 86
Ronald W. Reagan, “Management of Public Diplomacy Relative to National Security,” National Security Decision Directive Number 77 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 14 January 1983), 1. 89
Ronald W. Reagan, “US International Information Policy,” National Security Decision Directive Number 130 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 6 March 1984), 1. 93
Paddock, Psychological Operations and Political Warfare, 23.
Jack Summe, COL (USA), Chief, Information Strategy Division, Joint Staff J-39, interview by author, 3 February 2003, The Pentagon, Arlington, VA. 100
Lord, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 21.
Dave Lowe, Idea to Reality: A Brief History of the National Endowment for Democracy; available from ; Internet; accessed 1 February 2003. 102
Robert W. Trost III, COL (USA, Ret), Chief, Information Strategy Division, Joint Staff J-39, June 1997 – July 2000, interviews by author, October 2002 and February 2003, Fairfax, VA. 104
George Bush, “Review of U.S. Government International Broadcasting Activities,” National Security Review 24 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 28 March 1990). 105
George Bush, “United States Government International Broadcasting,” National Security Directive 51 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 17 October 1990). 106
Ibid.; “About the Broadcasting Board of Governors;” available from ; Internet; accessed 5 March 2003. 107
William J. Clinton, “International Public Information,” Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-68 (Washington, D.C.: The White House, 30 April 1999); Joshua Muravchik, “Hearts, Minds, and the War Against Terror,” Commentator (May 2002): 25-30; database online; available from ProQuest; accessed 1 October 2002. 108
Richard G. Lugar, “Beating Terror,” Washington Post (27 January 2003); available from ; Internet; accessed 27 January 2003. 109
Clinton, 2; Neil Munro, “Infowar: AK-47s, Lies and Videotape,“ Association for Computing Machinery (July 1999): 19-22; database on-line; available from ProQuest; accessed 22 October 2002. 111
Ibid., 2; “Overt international military information” is just one of several euphemisms used by other agencies to refer to military psychological operations. 113
Ibid., 4; Trost.
Clinton, 1; Muravchik.
Jack Summe , “PDD 68 & the IPI Core Group,” electronic mail message to author, 22 October 2002. 122
“The U.S. Tries Spinning the Globe,” Columbia Journalism Review (Nov/Dec 1999): 11; database on-line; available from ProQuest; accessed 1 October 2002; “U.S. Creates New Agency; Unit to Coordinate Flow of Information Overseas,” The Washington Post (13 August 1999): A23; database on-line; available from ProQuest; accessed 1 October 2002; Ben Barber, “Information-Control Plan Aimed at U.S., Insider Says,” The Washington Times (29 July 1999): A1; database on-line; available from NewsLibrary; accessed 16 October 2002; Joel Bleifuss, “Ready, Aim, Inform,” In These Times (March 2000); database on-line; available from Guerrilla News Network ; internet; accessed 21 October 2002. 123
Summe, “PDD 68 & the IPI Core Group.”
Franklin Foer, “Flacks Americana: John Rendon’s Shallow P.R. War on Terrorism,” The New Republic (20 May 2002); internet; available at ; accessed 6 Mar 2003. 126
John Barry, Richard Wolffe, and Christopher Dickey, “The Real War will be for Muslim Hearts and Minds; Selling the United States,” Newsweek (30 December 2002); database online; available from ProQuest; accessed 27 February 2002; Arundhati Parmar, “Full-Court Press,” Marketing News (9 December 2002); database on-line; available from ProQuest; accessed 27 February 2003.
Ira Teinowitz, “Beers Draws Mixed Review After One Year,” Advertising Age (23 September 2002); database on-line; available from ProQuest; accessed 27 February 2003; Parmar. 128
Ellen Hale, “Global Warmth for U.S. After 9/1 Turns to Frost; Military Plans Repulse Even European Allies,” USA Today Online (14 August 2002); database on-line; available from ProQuest; accessed 10 February 2003; Michael Holtzman, “Privatize Public Diplomacy,” New York Times (8 August 2002): 25; database on-line; available from ProQuest; accessed 1 October 2002. 129
George W. Bush, “Establishing the Office of Global Communications,” Executive Order 13283 (21 January 2003); available from ; accessed 25 February 2003. 130
Summe, interview; Trost; Thomas Timmes, Policy Assistant, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, interview by author, 3 February 2003, The Pentagon, Arlington, VA. 133
John Harwood, “Public Diplomacy Problems Predate Bush Administration,” Wall Street Journal (5 March 2003); database on-line; available from ProQuest; accessed 6 March 2003; Parmar. 135
Timmes ; Michael Furlong, Policy Assistant, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, interview by author, 3 February 2003, The Pentagon, Arlington, VA; Daniel Devlin, Policy Assistant, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, interview by author, 3 February 2003, The Pentagon, Arlington, VA. 136
Timmes ; Furlong; Devlin.
Timmes ; Furlong; Devlin.
Timmes; Furlong; Devlin.
Trost; Summe, interview.
Barnett, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 213. The original quote read, “…soldiers in Hanoi’s army.” 146
Richard G. Stilwell, “Comment – The Psychological Dimension in National Security,” in Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the US Approach, ed. Frank B. Barnett and Carnes Lord (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1989), 42. 147
Lord, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations,17.
The formal title would then become, “Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Information Policy.” 150
Barnett, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 217.
Lord, Political Warfare and Psychological Operations, 21 –22.
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