Portman, Murphy Welcome State-DOD Memorandum Operationalizing Global Engagement Center to Counter Foreign Propaganda

February 26, 2018 | Press Releases
Portman & Murphy Have Led Efforts to Pursue Coordinated Strategy to Defend America, Allies Against Propaganda and Disinformation from Russia, China & Others

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) today issued the followings statement after the State Department and the Department of Defense (DOD) signed a Memorandum of Agreement to operationalize the programs and priorities of the Global Engagement Center (GEC) to help counter foreign propaganda and disinformation:

“This announcement is an important milestone in the development of an operational capability to counter foreign disinformation being waged against us by our foreign adversaries.  For more than a year, I’ve been pushing State and DOD to fully execute the purpose and intent of this counterpropaganda law that Senator Murphy and I worked to enact,” said Senator Portman.  “While long overdue, I’m pleased we now have a road map in place that operationalizes the GEC and details how the money will be spent and who is responsible for developing and executing these projects.  It is time for the Department of Defense to fulfill the promise made by senior DOD leadership to provide the full $40 million in funding to support the GEC.  Congress enacted legislation establishing the GEC more than a year ago, and the repeated delays are standing in the way of combatting a serious threat to our national security.”

“Though long overdue, I hope this announcement is a sign that the Trump administration will finally start to make use of the tools Congress gave them to fight back against Russian disinformation and terrorist propaganda,” said Senator Murphy.

NOTE: Portman and Murphy’s legislation – the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act – was signed into law in December 2016 as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. The law improves the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation by establishing an interagency center – the Global Engagement Center (GEC) – housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government.  The law authorized the State Department to request $60 million annually for two years from the Department of Defense for the GEC to help counter the foreign propaganda and disinformation being waged against the United States and our allies by state and non-state adversaries.  The FY 2018 NDAA Conference Report builds on their Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act by promoting a more seamless coordination between the Department of Defense and the State Department in countering foreign propaganda and disinformation.