AP report investigates increase in DoD PR spending

A year-long investigation conducted by The Associated Press found that the Pentagon increased PR spending by 63% in five years and that an audit,...

A year-long investigation conducted by The Associated Press found that the Pentagon increased PR spending by 63% in five years and that an audit, from December 2008, shows that the public affairs office "may have crossed the line into propaganda."

According to the February 6 story:
"As it fights two wars, the Pentagon is steadily and dramatically increasing the money it spends to win what it calls 'the human terrain' of world public opinion.

... Yet the money spent on media and outreach still comes to only 1 percent of the Pentagon budget, and the military argues it is well-spent on recruitment and the education of foreign and American audiences."

The full AP report focuses on the DoDs growing communications tactics in recent years.

Other key points include:

- An audit showed that the "America Supports You" program was conducted in a questionable manner.

- The Joint Hometown News Service, a Pentagon media entity, said it plans to put out 5,400 press releases, 3,000 television releases, and 1,600 radio interviews, doubling its work since 2007.

- $1.6 billion of funding goes into recruitment and advertising, $547 million into public affairs, and $489 million into what's know as "psychological operations, which targets foreign audiences."

- In 2009, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people for recruitment, advertising, and PR. The US Department of State employs 30,000 people.

PRWeek covered the Department of Defense's reoganization in October 2008.

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