Rumsfeld's Roadmap to Propaganda
Secret Pentagon "roadmap" calls for "boundaries"
between "information operations" abroad and at home but provides
no actual limits as long as US doesn't "target" Americans
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book
For more information contact: Kristin Adair /
Thomas Blanton> 202 994 7000
Posted - January 26, 2006
Washington, D.C., January 26, 2006 - A secret Pentagon "roadmap"
on war propaganda, personally approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
in October 2003, calls for "boundaries" between information operations
abroad and the news media at home, but provides for no such limits and claims
that as long as the American public is not "targeted," any leakage
of PSYOP to the American public does not matter.
Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive
at George Washington University and posted on the Web today, the 74-page "Information
Operations Roadmap" admits that "information intended for foreign
audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by
our domestic audience and vice-versa," but argues that "the distinction
between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S.
government] intent rather than information dissemination practices."
The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, amended in 1972 and 1998, prohibits the U.S. government
from propagandizing the American public with information and psychological operations
directed at foreign audiences; and several presidential directives, including
Reagan's NSD-77 in 1983, Clinton's PDD-68 in 1999, and Bush's NSPD-16 in July
2002 (the latter two still classified), have set up specific structures to carry
out public diplomacy and information operations. These and other documents relating
to U.S. PSYOP programs were posted today as part of a new Archive Electronic
Several press accounts have referred to the 2003 Pentagon document but today's
posting is the first time the text has been publicly available. Sections of
the document relating to computer network attack (CNA) and "offensive cyber
operations" remain classified under black highlighting.
Rumsfeld's Roadmap to Propaganda
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 177
Edited by Kristin Adair
Posted - January 26, 2006
Operations Roadmap, a 30 October 2003 document approved personally by Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, "provides the Department with a plan to advance
the goal of information operations as a core military competency" and "stands
as an another example of the Department's commitment to transform our military
capabilities to keep pace with emerging threats and to exploit new opportunities
afforded by innovation and rapidly developing information technologies."
The plan was developed by an oversight panel led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary
of Defense (Resource and Plans) and representatives from the Joint Staff, Office
of the Secretary of Defense, and Special Operations Command, among other organizations.
The Roadmap was personally approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The Roadmap presents as one of its key assumptions the importance of Psychological
Operations (PSYOP), particularly in wartime: "Effectively communicating
U.S. Government (USG) capabilities and intentions is an important means of combating
the plans of our adversaries. The ability to rapidly disseminate persuasive
information to diverse audiences in order to directly influence their decision-making
is an increasingly powerful means of deterring aggression. Additionally, it
undermines both senior leadership and popular support for employing terrorists
or using weapons of mass destruction." The military
defines PSYOP generally as "planned operations to convey selected information
and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective
reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations,
groups, and individuals."
The Roadmap has been cited in the media several times (see James Bamford, "The
Man Who Sold the War: Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war,"
Rolling Stone, November 17, 2005; Stephen J. Hedges, "Media use
backfires on U.S.; Many ask if Pentagon altered information to make case for
war," Chicago Tribune, December 11, 2005.) [see
references], but has not previously been released to the public. The document
calls on DoD to enhance its capabilities in five key Information Operations
(IO) areas: electronic warfare (EW), PSYOP, Operations Security (OPSEC), military
deception and computer network operations (CNO).
In light of recent media coverage of alleged propaganda activities by the military
in Iraq, the Roadmap gives as one of its recommendations the need to "Clarify
Lanes in the Road for PSYOP, Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy." The
U.S. government is legally prohibited from conflating these operations by targeting
PSYOP activities--intended for foreign audiences--at the American public. 22
U.S.C. § 1461 (Smith-Mundt Act), which created the United States Information
Agency (USIA) in 1948, directs that information about the United States and
its policies intended for foreign audiences "shall not be disseminated
within the United States, its territories, or possessions." Amendments
to the Smith-Mundt Act in 1972 and 1998 further clarified the legal obligations
of the government's public diplomacy apparatus and several presidential directives,
NSD-77 in 1983, Clinton's
PDD-68 in 1999, and Bush's
NSPD-16 in July 2002 (the latter two still classified), have set up specific
structures and procedures, as well as further legal restrictions, regarding
U.S. public diplomacy and information operations.
secret Presidential Decision Directive (PDD-68), issued on April 30, 1999,
expanded public diplomacy and public affairs operations beyond USIA and the
Department of State to include all agencies and set out the objective of IPI
"to synchronize the informational objectives, themes and messages that
will be projected overseas . . . to prevent and mitigate crises and to influence
foreign audiences in ways favorable to the achievement of U.S. foreign policy
objectives." (PDD-68 also cautioned against using the new information operations
to influence the American public, but recognized the potential for "backwash"
of IPI information to the United States and so called for coordinated domestic
and foreign public affairs operations to synchronize foreign policy messages.
The newly-released Information Operations Roadmap, with the goal of expansion
and central coordination of Pentagon PSYOP and public diplomacy operations,
also recognizes the legal conundrum presented by the use of overseas propaganda
in the information age. But while the document recognizes the need for boundaries-referred
to as "[l]anes"-between U.S. public diplomacy and foreign propaganda,
it fails to provide any such limits:
"The likelihood that PSYOP messages will be replayed to a much broader
audience, including the American public, requires that specific boundaries
be established for PSYOP. In particular:
The discussion of the relationship between public diplomacy and IO neither
cites the applicable legal restrictions nor institutes specific guidelines,
but references only the "intent" of the U.S. government in "targeting"
either foreign or domestic audiences:
By means of recommendations for enhancing PSYOP capabilities, the oversight
panel directed "improvements . . . to rapidly generate audience specific,
commercial-quality products into denied areas" and a "focus on aggressive
behavior modification at the operational and tactical level of war." Additionally,
the Roadmap cites improved military support to public diplomacy efforts and
support for "active public affairs programs that influence foreign audiences"
as vital components of the new IO strategy.
Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe
Acrobat Reader to view.
1: Department of Defense, Information Operations Roadmap, October
30, 2003, Secret [Excised].
Source: Freedom of Information Act request
2: Joint Publication 3-53, Doctrine for Joint Psychological Operations,
September 5, 2003.
3: National Security Decision Directive NSDD-77, "Management
of Public Diplomacy Relative to National Security," January 14, 1983.
Source: Freedom of Information Act request.
Reorganization Plan and Report, Submitted by President Clinton to the
Congress on December 30, 1998, Pursuant to Section 1601 of the Foreign Affairs
Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, as Contained in Public Law 105-277.
Document 5: Presidential
Decision Directive PDD-68, "International Public Information (IPI), April
30, 1999 [Classified].
Source: Summary from Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists, http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/pdd/pdd-68.htm,
citing IPI Core Group Charter, obtained by the Washington Times (Ben Barber,
"Group Will Battle Propaganda Abroad," Washington Times, 28 July 1999).
6: National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-16, July 2002 [Classified].
Source: Summarized in Power Point presentation on Information Warfare, Florida
International University, 2004, http://www.fiu.edu/~apodaca/Information%20Warfare%20Lecture.ppt
James Bamford, "The Man Who Sold the War: Meet John Rendon,
Bush's general in the propaganda war," Rolling Stone, November
17, 2005, available at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/store/_/id/8798997.
Stephen J. Hedges, "Media use backfires on U.S.; Many
ask if Pentagon altered information to make case for war," Chicago
Tribune, December 11, 2005.
Col. Sam Gardiner (USAF, Ret.), "Truth
from These Podia: Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management,
Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf
II," October 8, 2003, also available at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/whispers/documents/truth_1.pdf.
Ltc. Susan L. Gough, "The
Evolution of Strategic Influence, U.S. Army War College Strategy Research Project,"
April 7, 2003, also available at http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/gough.pdf.
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