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WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2008 - The Defense Media Activity gives public affairs within the Defense Department a new structure to move forward as a consolidated and integrated team, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said during the organization's activation ceremony at the Pentagon today.

"This is where jointness really pays off," England said. "But this is an area where jointness has real dividends, and it's hugely important that we do this."

Born out of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's 2005 conclusions, the Defense Media Activity will unite DoD internal information programs -- the Army Broadcasting Service, Soldiers Radio and TV, the Soldiers Media Center, the Naval Media Center, the Air Force News Agency, Marine Corps internal information assets and the Army and Air Force Hometown News Service with the American Forces Information Service -- under one roof at Fort Meade, Md., in 2011. Meanwhile, the new activity will operate with its components in place at their current locations.

American Forces Radio and Television Service, American Forces Press Service, the Pentagon Channel, Stars and Stripes and the Joint Combat Camera Center are among the offices that transferred to the new activity.

The activity will work under the direction of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.

"[The new structure] helps consolidate organizations to do a better job in terms of the quality [and] timeliness of a product," England said. "Now we have a consolidated organization where we can bring people from all these different functions together in one place, under one organizational structure, and my judgment is that this will be vastly superior to how we have operated in the past."

Army Col. Mike Galloucis, chief of staff for the Defense Media Activity, and Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Al Moore, the activity's senior enlisted advisor, unfurled the new organization's colors, marking the activity's official activation.

Robert T. Hastings Jr., principal deputy assistant defense secretary for public affairs, said the activation is one of the most significant changes to happen to public affairs in a lifetime because of the opportunities for improvements it affords to Defense Department public affairs.

"What we have is the opportunity to fundamentally look at the way we deliver news and information to the men and women of the armed forces and their families, and determine if that's right, and look at how we can make improvements," Hastings said.

The change in how the Defense Department provides news and information "represents the fact that we are one Department of Defense, and we do operate jointly," he said.

The idea is that teams of reporters, photographers, videographers and TV producers will deploy to an area and send command information products back. Experts at the activity can package the reports for distribution by any media. "The DMA is how we will deliver that," he said.

The concept of operations for the new activity is still developing, Hastings said. The activity's focus will be more on information and audience, and less about the medium used.

"[With the DMA], we're able to improve efficiencies in the back office," he said. It'll free up resources to support the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are delivering. No one can even imagine yet what the DMA can provide.

Page last updated Tue October 21st, 2008 at 09:13