In 2003, the U.S. Air University published “The Role of Rhetorical Theory in Military Intelligence Analysis: A Soldier’s Guide to Rhetorical Theory” written by Air Force Major Gary H. Mills. In this essay, Mills argues that the rhetorical theory of French historian and philosopher Michel Foucault “serves as a powerful military-intelligence force multiplier.” Foucault is described by Mills as a “reluctant, unintentional military tactician.” Likening Foucault’s rhetorical theory to a weapon used by a combat force might strike rhetorical and critical scholars as bizarre given Foucault’s theoretical and political project. Therefore, in this essay, I attempt to understand the meaning and accuracy of Major Mills’s claim, as well as consider the broader implications of Foucault’s rhetorical theory in relation to U.S. intelligence and national security organizing.
Foucault, Rhetoric, Intelligence, National Security
Copyright © 2010 Hamilton Bean