Information Warfare: Helping Hollywood


October3, 2008:  The U.S. Air Force is quite happy to how all its assistance in the making of a new movie, "Eagle Eye," worked out. It doesn't always work out. This film included some scenes involving the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and several military aircraft (C-17, KC-135, F-16, C-130, UH-1 and MQ-9 Reaper UAV.  The film showed the air force aircraft and personnel accurately, which is mainly what the air force PR officers try to achieve in these deals.

The U.S. military has long actively worked with Hollywood, to provide assistance for movies that will accurately depict American troops and equipment. No help is provided for films that are hostile to the U.S. military, or require unrealistic, or unflattering, depiction of the troops. This usually leads to film makers going ahead anyway.

Films can depict the military without Department of Defense participation, it just costs more. Using existing film of military equipment, that addition expense may only be a few thousand dollars. But if you have to build or lease realistic mockups or working models of equipment, or use computer generated images, the additional cost can be millions of dollars. When the military cooperates, the troops and equipment basically get some extra training, and the thrill of being a movie extra (no problem getting volunteers for this, even if it means doing it when off duty.) The film crews are usually just allowed to come along on regular training operations.



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