The Problem with Smith-Mundt

by Steven R. Corman

Matt Armstrong of the MountainRunner blog probably knows more about the Smith-Mundt Act than any other living human, and he’s not even a lawyer.

He has just published an “interim version” (?) of an essay on Smith-Mundt over at Small Wars Journal.  It begins with the (very good) question “how can a guy in cave out propagandize the country that created public relations and the Internet?” Partial answer: The Smith-Mundt Act.

The essay is loaded with historical details about the Act, why it was created, and why it persists.  It also contains an analysis of why it has outlived its usefulness and needs to be rethought.

His argument resonates with one we made in a white paper published earlier this year.  The Act is a prime example of a constraint that the Good Guys place on themselves, making their strategic communication landscape dysfunctionally complex.  So I commend Matt’s essay to COMOPS Journal readers.

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  1. [...] getting a lot of attention.  In it he claims that the Act has outlived its usefulness, and I am on record as agreeing with him. Sharon Weinberger over at Danger Room has just finished posting a three part [...]