National Security and Free Press

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The adage of “perception is reality” is the impact media has regarding national security and the DoD’s response to media. Since John F. Kennedy’s assignation, through the Vietnam War, OPERATION Desert Storm to the present, people are fascinated with real-time media information for current events; this information is truth in the public’s eyes. President Bush’s decision to place troops in Somalia and President Clinton’s decision to remove troops from Mogadishu are national security decisions made based on public perception (Belknap, 2001, 1). The National Security Council, consists of political officials, with the exception of the chiefs of staff military advisors; these elected officials make decisions in the interest of national security based on public perception derived from free press. Free press impacts national security by decisions based on public perception and the DoD should utilize free press to reveal benefits of military action in relation to national security (Snow, 2006, 94). Imbedded public media deployed with our C-130 unit with the intent of publicizing a soldier’s perspective of combat operation. This made us feel our involvement is shared along with the greater media picture to give the public a more complete understanding of war from tactical to strategic perspective. In the book Lone Survivor, a Navy SEAL Team on an operation in Afghanistan let perception of civilian casualties the media would relay, sway combat decisions to save military lives (Lutrell, 2007, 232). This perception is the “negative” impact soldiers face these days. Media imbed within military operations will relay to the public a tactical level perspective of the national security implications of free press. Overall, public opinion is influenced by free press; national security decisions are influenced by public opinion. The DoD should utilize the freedom of press to influence public opinion in the interest of national security.

Belknap, Margaret H. The CNN...
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