DOD plans new media hub at Fort Meade

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England has released details about the planned consolidation of many Defense Department media efforts at a single Defense Media Activity at Fort Meade, Md. Some programs the military services now control will transfer to the authority of the assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs on Jan. 1, 2008, according to a recently unveiled concept of operations for the new outfit.

The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) law directed the integration of the Army Broadcasting Service-Soldiers Radio/TV, Soldiers Magazine, Naval Media Center and Air Force News Agency-Army/Air Force Hometown News Service into the Defense Media Activity. At the same time, the law mandated that the Alexandria, Va., operations of the Armed Forces Information Service -- responsible for DOD print, radio, TV and Web products -- be located with the Defense Media Activity at Fort Meade. Construction is scheduled to begin this year.

“While the BRAC recommendation is a positive step, its end result would be two DOD field activities, operating side-by-side, with each performing similar and closely related media functions,” England wrote in a Sept. 24 memo to senior DOD officials. “In order to exploit the full transformational potential of the BRAC, we will build upon this initiative and consolidate all of these organizations into a single Defense Media Activity reporting to the assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs.”

According to England’s memo, a new Defense Media Oversight Board, with representation from the services, will help ensure that the Defense Media Activity operates in accordance with DOD and servicewide strategic communications objectives.

DOD officials must draft a charter for the DMA by December, England wrote.

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