WASHINGTON — Andrew Marshall, the director of the Pentagon think tank spending $300,000 a year to study the body movements of world leaders, has a decades-old history of using psychological studies to predict the decision making of foreign leaders, records show.
Marshall, 92, has led the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) since its creation in 1973. Before then he was an aide to Henry Kissinger, then the national security adviser to President Richard Nixon.
In a Sept. 6, 1972, memo to Alexander Haig, then Kissinger's deputy, Marshall said he was pushing for the National Security Council to do "psychiatric personality studies of leading foreign leaders tailored specifically to [Kissinger's] needs. He expressed interest in products of this type."
During his NSC tenure, Nixon administration records show, Marshall focused on the nation's intelligence community. He often prodded the CIA and its director, Richard Helms, to provide intelligence reports more to Nixon and Kissinger's liking, particularly if they created a more dire view of the Soviet Union's military capabilities.
USA TODAY reported Thursday that ONA has since 1996 backed researchers to conduct motion pattern analyses of world leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, to predict their future decisions. The Pentagon has confirmed that ONA performed two studies of Putin, in 2008 and 2012, as part of the Body Leads Project.
While government contract records show that these reports were supposed to be provided to government policy makers, a Pentagon spokesman told USA TODAY there is no sign the reports ever made it that far.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asked Friday to see the latest Putin report, said Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a Pentagon spokesman. "Prior to last Friday's request from Secretary Hagel's office, we are not aware of any policy maker or DoD leader request to review the findings of any study from the Body Leads Project," Pickart said.
Much of ONA's work is done to help shape future military policy. Its analysts have often helped develop the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review, a report published every four years that is meant to highlight future defense needs.
The recent review contains calls for the military to limit nations' use of "anti-access and area-denial" weapons, such as long-range missiles. Marshall and analysts working for ONA have long advocated that the Pentagon neutralize anti-access and area-denial weapons, particularly those developed by China.
The latest defense budget includes an increase in Air Force purchases of the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile, an air-launched missile that can neutralize Chinese anti-access and area-denial weapons.