Aug 8, 2007

The IO Synch Matrix and the Target Audience

Deconflicting the regional IO plan just got a little more difficult.

A new report by the DOD Inspector General (47 page PDF) gives details about an investigation into the participation -- while in uniform -- of a number of active duty officers (including four generals) in a video promoting the "Christian Embassy", an evangelical organization.

From the report:

The officers were filmed during the duty day, in uniform with rank clearly displayed, in official and often identifiable Pentagon locations. Their remarks conferred approval of and support to Christian Embassy, and the remarks of some officers implied they spoke for a group of senior military leaders rather than just for themselves. None of the officers sought or received approval to participate in the interview in an official capacity or in uniform. The overall circumstances of the interviews emphasized the speakers' military status and affiliation and implied they were acting within the scope of their official positions as DoD spokespersons. Based on these circumstances, we concluded the officers violated JER Sections 2635.702(b), "Appearance of governmental sanction," and 3-300.a. on personal participation in non-Federal entities; DoD Directive (DoDD) 1334.1, "Wearing of the Uniform"; and Army and Air Force uniform standards. ...

The video included narration and "sound bites" from DoD personnel. The video prominently featured the DoD seal, military insignia, and similar indicia of military affiliation, including large gold-colored lettering identifying the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It also featured footage of meetings of military personnel in uniform or engaged in daily duties at the Pentagon.

The appearances of several of the DoD officers in the video were emphasized by numerous scenes of other military personnel apparently on duty, military emblems, and symbols. One part of the film, which included interviews of LTC [redacted], BG Caslen, and Maj Gen Catton, was notable for its military focus: it opened with a view of the Pentagon's River entrance. The camera zoomed in on a bronze plaque reading, "Department of Defense." The video then showed 14 individual segments featuring military members, Pentagon activity, and a camouflage-colored Bible, leading to a close-up of the official DoD seal.

One reason why this sort of activity is frowned upon:

Maj Gen Sutton testified that while in Turkey in his current duty position, his Turkish driver approached him with an article in the Turkish newspaper "Sabah." That article featured a photograph of Maj Gen Sutton in uniform and described him as a member of a radical fundamentalist sect. The article in the online edition of Sabah also included still photographs taken from the Christian Embassy video. Maj Gen Sutton's duties in Ankara included establishing good relations with his counterparts on the Turkish General Staff. Maj Gen Sutton testified that Turkey is a predominantly Muslim nation, with religious matters being kept strictly separate from matters of state. He said that when the article was published in Sabah, it caused his Turkish counterparts concern and a number of Turkish general officers asked him to explain his participation in the video.

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