Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus in the Washington Post:
The Defense Department will pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to “engage and inspire” the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government.
The new contracts — awarded last week to four companies — will expand and consolidate what the U.S. military calls “information/psychological operations” in Iraq far into the future, even as violence appears to be abating and U.S. troops have begun drawing down.
The military’s role in the war of ideas has been fundamentally transformed in recent years, the result of both the Pentagon‘s outsized resources and a counterinsurgency doctrine in which information control is considered key to success. Uniformed communications specialists and contractors are now an integral part of U.S. military operations from Eastern Europe to Afghanistan and beyond.