from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2017, Issue No. 48
June 23, 2017

Secrecy News Blog:


If attacking the enemy and blowing things up were all that the military had to do, then its task would be straightforward. But if that was ever the case, it is no longer so.

In order to execute its mission, the U.S. Army explains in a new doctrinal publication, the military must do more to identify friends and foes, build relationships with the former, attempt to influence the latter, and seek to construct a favorable social environment for military success.

"The last decade of war has shown us that our opponents are often difficult to detect and identify, and seek to blend into civilian populations. We have also learned that long-term solutions for peace and stability in contested regions often come from key allies originating from this same population," the Army said. See Network Engagement, ATP 5-06, June 2017.

What the Army calls "network engagement" is "an evolution of 'attack the network'. While 'attack the network' focused on neutralizing the threat network, this focus often led commanders to overlook friendly and neutral networks."

By contrast, network engagement includes "supporting activities [that] are conducted towards or for friendly or neutral human networks." Support here is not a question of attitude but of tangible assistance. "It does not matter if we think we are supporting them, what matters is the supported network perceives that we are supporting them; whether we are supporting their ideals, causes, issues, security, rights, autonomy or whatever function the support serves."

The theory and practice of "network engagement" are discussed at length in the new Army document.

The latest issue of Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, a quarterly US Army journal that promotes professional development among military intelligence officers, is focused on "Military Intelligence Programs" and is available here:


"The Air Force recently grounded some of its newest aircraft, F-35A strike fighters, due to incidents in which pilots became physiologically impaired with symptoms of oxygen deficiency while flying."

The background and implications of this potentially disabling problem were discussed by the Congressional Research Service in Out of Breath: Military Aircraft Oxygen Issues, CRS Insight, June 21, 2017:

Other new and updated publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

U.S. Military Presence on Okinawa and Realignment to Guam, CRS In Focus, June 14, 2017:

Understanding Constituent Problems with the Military, CRS Webinar, May 10, 2017:

Tanzania: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, updated June 7, 2017:

Cuba: President Trump Partially Rolls Back Obama Engagement Policy, CRS Insight, June 21, 2017:

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, updated June 15, 2017:

U.S. Beef: It's What's for China, CRS Insight, June 22, 2017:

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and U.S. Agriculture, June 22, 2017:

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), updated June 13, 2017:

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions, updated June 21, 2017:

Energy and Water Development Appropriations for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation: In Brief, June 12, 2017:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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