Trying to counter information-savvy enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has rapidly spent nearly $1 billion in the past three years on strategic communications.
Paid-for news articles, billboards, radio and television programs, and even polls and focus groups have been sponsored by the U.S. Central Command, which has raised its spending for information operations programs from $40 million in 2008 to $110 million in 2009 to a requested $244 million in 2010.
But when Congress asked this year what the Defense Department across the services and commands proposed spending for strategic communications — or information operations as it is often called — in the fiscal 2010 budget, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates found that no one could say because there was no central coordination. The first answer came back at $1 billion, but that was later changed to $626 million.
2009-12-29 17:17:55 UTC