Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2010

The Pentagon, Information Operations, and Media Development

Peter Cary

October 2010

National Endowment for Democracy


A core principle of the United States is that a free and independent press is vital to the formation and maintenance of democracies. During the Cold War, the State Department’s media outreach into the former Soviet Union and other Communist- leaning nations was largely limited to the broadcasts of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the effort broadened: USAID began to encourage and develop independent media in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In the early 1990s, when the Balkans erupted in conflict, that region became the focus of assistance for media development.