Pentagon Monitors Body Language of World Leaders


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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Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

14 Comments on "Pentagon Monitors Body Language of World Leaders"

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

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

  3. We read their bodies and their mail…

  4. BlackOwl18E | March 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm |

    How is this news?

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

  6. Jimmy Carter is Smiling from Ear to Ear :-)

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

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

  9. 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"

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

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

  12. 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.

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

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