Robert H. Scales Jr.

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Robert H. Scales Jr. is a participant in the Pentagon military analyst program and a military analyst for Fox News and National Public Radio. Colgen, his "consulting company advises several military firms on weapons and tactics used in Iraq." [1] He was also a member of Veterans and Miltiary Retirees for Hillary Committee during the 2007 and 2008 Democratic presidential campaign. [[1]

Pentagon military analyst program

In April 2008 documents obtained by New York Times reporter David Barstow revealed that Scales had been recruited as one of over 75 retired military officers involved in the Pentagon military analyst program. Participants appeared on television and radio news shows as military analysts, and/or penned newspaper op/ed columns. The program was launched in early 2002 by then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke. The idea was to recruit "key influentials" to help sell a wary public on "a possible Iraq invasion."[1]

Barstow noted that Scales, "whose consulting company advises several military firms on weapons and tactics used in Iraq, wanted the Pentagon to approve high-level briefings for him inside Iraq in 2006.'Recall the stuff I did after my last visit,' he wrote. 'I will do the same this time.'"[1]

A little over a week after the New York Times story ran, NPR Ombudsman, Alicia C. Shepard, wrote in her blog that when the story broke "emails began flying trying to assess the damage and determine how to proceed. NPR waited until Wednesday on Talk of the Nation to first discuss this issue publicly. The Bryant Park Project followed up the next day with two pieces on how the media was ignoring The Times' story."[2] Shepard noted "since February 2003, he [Scales] has been on NPR 67 times, most often (28 appearances) on All Things Considered (ATC). The latest was March 28, when he gave ATC listeners an assessment of the fifth anniversary of the war ... Only once in December 2006 was Scales' relationship to Colgen mentioned."[2]

Scales told Shepherd that ""Any thought that I'm a mouthpiece for this administration is ridiculous ... I only ask that you review my positions on the toll that the war is taking on our soldiers and my frustrations with the inability of the administration to translate military advantage into political success and you will get my point. My main purpose for involving myself with the media is to explain warfare and the military to a society that is detached from us to a great degree."[2]

Shepherd disagreed with the suggestion of a number of NPR listeners who wanted the media organization to stop doing interviews with Scales. "Rather than toss Scales off the air and lose his practical and scholarly knowledge of the Army, in the future NPR should always be transparent and identify him as a defense consultant with Colgen. NPR's audience can evaluate what Scales says through that lens. NPR should also append a note to each archived Scales' appearances that indicates he is also a defense consultant with Colgen. What also is needed, and I believe NPR will now begin doing, is a more careful vetting of all experts before they go on air," she wrote.[2] NPR have developed new guidelines for "vetting guests" which state "Ask the guest if he/she has any conflicts of interest. You can modify the question to be more descriptive; any financial, political, personal or other conflicts of interest. In some cases, the appearance of conflict of interest obvious to some, may not be obvious to the guest. For example, has the guest made any trips paid for by an organization having an interest in this story?" [3]


Scales co-founded Colgen in 2003, along with Colonel (Ret.) Jack H. Pryor. The firm's website says it does defense consulting on "Landpower and the Services that provide it; The Army, Marine Corps, Special Operations Forces, The Army National Guard, Army and Marine Corps Reserve, and other related landpower forces such as CIA direct action, homeland security and law enforcement." [4]


Appearing on Fox's "On the Record" on February 3, 2003, Scales painted the imminent invasion of Iraq as a simple military operation. "This operation is going to go so quickly," he said, and would "be over so fast," there would be no risk of "suicide attack[s] or even a conventional defense, for that matter." Scales added that "[o]nce the campaign starts," it would last "weeks, certainly not months," and "[t]he only thing that would cause the campaign to last any length of time are the distances that are involved" between Iraqi cities. [5]

SourceWatch resources

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 David Barstow, "Behind Analysts, the Pentagon’s Hidden Hand," New York Times, April 20, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Alicia C. Shepard, "NPR, New York Times and Sourcing Military Experts," NPR Ombudsman column, April 28, 2008.
  3. Ellen Weiss, Vice-President for News, NPR, "National Public Radio follow-up policy on vetting guests", NPR, April 22, 2008.
  4. "Homepage,", accessed April 2008.
  5. "Despite their shoddy track record on Iraq analysis, O'Reilly trusts only 'my military analysts, people paid by Fox News' for information on Iraq," Media Matters, April 24, 2006.


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