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Diane Publishing Books
U.S. Army and the Media in the 20th Century
Robert T. Davis II (au); William G. Robertson (fr)
This study surveys the U.S. Army’s approach to media relations from the Spanish-American War to the first Gulf War. The relationship between the Army and the media is considered in the broader context of the U.S. Government’s approach to information management. Given the growing importance of information operations in 21st century warfare, this study provides a succinct overview of how the U.S. Army has approached its relations with the media over the previous century. It highlights the recurrent tension that exists in both the Army and the U.S. Government’s information management writ large. This tension arises from the need for operational security and effective deception and psychological operations and the need to provide transparency to secure public acceptance and support for military operations. The long-running debate over how the Government’s information management should be organized and operated reflects this tension. Thus, since World War I a number of bureaucratic manifestations of information management have been tried in wartime, including the Committee on Public Information, the Office of War Information, the Psychological Strategy Board, the U.S. Information Agency, and, most recently, the Office of Global Communications. With the exception of the U.S. Information Agency, whose tenure spanned the period from 1953 to 1999, all the other manifestations of bureaucratic information management rose and fell during the wars in which they were created. The growing pains of these organizations sometimes colored the Army’s relationship with the media. The need for units in the field to participate in information management is a major challenge for future operations. Figures.
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