DoD Inspector General Questions Public Affairs Activity

by Steven R. Corman

Yesterday that the DoD Office of Inspector General released a report with the unparsimonious title “Organizational Structure and Managers’ Internal Control Program for the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) and American Forces Information Service” (H/T WaPo).

It’s main conclusion has to do with the “Managers’ Internal Control Program established at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) (OASD[PA]) and the American Forces Information Service (AFIS).”  It’s “what we found” conclusion is that this

organizational structure did not provide the appropriate segregation of duties between the policy and oversight functions in the OASD(PA) and the operational functions that AFIS should perform

In particular the faulty structure allows inappropriate leakage between public affairs and info ops:

Without clearly defined strategic communication responsibilities, DoD may appear to merge inappropriately the public affairs and information operations functions. The OASD(PA) should only perform strategic communication responsibilities related to its public affairs mission. The strategic communications responsibilities for information operations should remain separate and under the oversight of the Under  Secretary of Defense (Policy)…Assigning the DASD for Joint Communication the responsibility for synchronizing public affairs and information operations allows for the improper integration of these functions.

The introduction adds (ominously?) “This is the first in a series of audits addressing the concerns of the ASD(PA).”