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Pentagon Monitors Body Language of World Leaders

by Brendan McGarry on March 7, 2014


The U.S. Defense Department confirmed it runs a program to monitor the body language of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

News of the research project, which is called “Body Leads” and run by the Pentagon’s internal think tank known as the Office of Net Assessment, was first reported in an article by Ray Locker of USA Today.

Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby on Friday confirmed the existence of the program, which costs about $300,000 a year. He said it’s designed to help U.S. officials get a better understanding of world leaders’ “decision-making processes.” But, he added, it’s not used to inform any policy decisions.

“Mr. Marshall is an out-of-the-box thinker who likes to study all kinds of issues,” Kirby said during a press conference, referring to the 92-year-old Andrew Marshall, who directs the office and was first appointed to the position during the Nixon administration.

In a recent organizational shakeup, Marshall now reports to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michael Lumpkin rather than Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Of Marshall’s reports, Kirby said, “Many of them will never go beyond his office.”

The department has no plans to make the documents public, even though they’re not classified, Kirby added. When asked whether they would be released under a Freedom of Information Act request, he said, “We’ll certainly take the request under consideration.”

The director of Body Leads is Brenda Connors, a research fellow at the Naval War College, whose work includes a 2008 report on Putin called, “Movement, The Brain and Decision-making, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin,” according to USA Today.

So-called movement patterns analysis seeks to analyze an individual’s movements to learn more about their thought process and relative truthfulness, according to the article.

Kirby said the project was initially under the auspices of the State Department, but in 2003 was transferred to the Defense Department for unspecified reasons. Since 2009, it has cost the department about $300,000 a year to run, he said.

Watch for fiscal hawks such as Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who compiles a list of excessive spending known as the “Wastebook,” to inquire about the effort.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

andy March 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Russia know we have a president won't do anything….remember the REDLINE comment ?


tiger March 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

He is doing something…….. Weekend Vacation to Key Largo with the Family……


RRGED March 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm

PUTIN says I am going to take Soviet sovereignty back, OBAMA says OK.


blight_ March 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

We read their bodies and their mail…


BlackOwl18E March 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

How is this news?


greg March 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Putin totally made Obama look like an amateur. Now Obama is all mad that he got fooled. LOL!


tee March 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Jimmy Carter is Smiling from Ear to Ear :-)


Godzilla March 7, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Monitor the body language of a former spy. That should work well. Not.


EW3 March 8, 2014 at 5:58 am

Wonder if the Pentagon reads the president's body language ?


Vrxyyxum March 8, 2014 at 6:00 am
hibeam March 8, 2014 at 10:53 am

Excuse me, I'm looking for the Department of Body Language Analysis? "Oh yeah, hang a right at the Shrimp on Treadmills. Ya can't miss it"


Hunter76 March 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Shouldn't reading body language be more State Dept or CIA, not DoD? Oh, you have to spend money or you'll lose it.


blight_ March 9, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Worked for the Soviets!


Kim Scholer March 10, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Assuming the Russians do the same, Obama's swagger probably has them scratching their heads.


juan March 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm

What did Americans think when they elected a man that's never held a real job in his life and has had everything handed too him.


Peter March 10, 2014 at 7:19 pm

do you know what the current President did before he became president and what the previous President did before he became President?


OTTO April 27, 2014 at 8:57 pm

So what can Pentagon inform us about Silvio Berlusconi body laugauge? :-)


Afrigun August 5, 2014 at 5:29 am

the 'Dude' is a swell guy….he's getting it any time he wants….Nope not the party vote!!!


K.V. March 8, 2014 at 12:58 am

"…someone from the mountains with no etiquette."
He is not a politician; he is a killer of men. (Make no mistake; the man has put bodies on the floor.)
He doesn’t mince words. When he says something, he means it; and he will back up his words with direct action.
— — —
"…express yourself with political correctness."
You may want to do a little research into Stalinism, comrad!
The term “politically correct” was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the CP line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance.


HiPowerGuy March 8, 2014 at 3:26 am

Well, I guess that running the second most powerfull or third…nation in the world, and having $40 billion squirreled away somewhere ( which I have read at several different sites ) probably tend to make the guy think that……Hmmmm I can do ANYTHING I WANT!! hahahahahha


HiPowerGuy March 8, 2014 at 3:33 am

Well, you have pretty much summed up all there is to know about ole VLAD…hahahaha FOR FREE!! Yeah the old combloc guys, really knew how to get something done quick, not efficiently or well, but quick! Check out the Stalin years….not much for democratic process or thought. Matter of fact, he would probably just …err…get rid of you for suggesting something like that. Lots of YES men back then….either that or……disappear….hahahahahha

Now we can save that $300K for something…more needed. I mean, cmon, you can look at the guy and see he is the thug as described here….do not need a bunch of too much to figure that one out. :-)


tiger March 8, 2014 at 10:07 am

You make him sound like a James Bond villain like Goldfinger or ERNST Blofeld of SPECTRE?


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