The Pentagon's Inspector General has concluded that the "Defense Department's public affairs office may have 'inappropriately' merged public affairs and propaganda operations in 2007 and 2008 when it contracted out $1 million in work for a strategic communications plan for use by the military in collaboration with the State Department," writes Walter Pincus. The Inspector General's report (pdf) states that to avoid "appear[ing] to merge inappropriately the public affairs," or PR, "and information operation functions," Pentagon public affairs staff should focus on PR, while Pentagon policy staff assume "strategic communications responsibilities for information operations," the use of information to gain advantage over the enemy. While the report says that organizational structure should "ensure the separation" of PR and propaganda functions, it adds that "information operations [must] use public affairs products and information to communicate military objectives, counter misinformation and disinformation, deter adversary actions, and maintain the trust and confidence of the U.S. population." The focus of the report is an evaluation of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and the American Forces Information Service, which is now part of the new Defense Media Activity.
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