Simon Wren returns to Ministry of Defence with Afghan objective

The incoming Ministry of Defence comms director will face the challenge of creating a clear narrative on Afghanistan, while dealing with the increasing requirements for transparency, according to one seasoned Whitehall comms professional.

Simon Wren: back to the MoD
Simon Wren: back to the MoD

The MoD has poached Home Office head of news Simon Wren to take the role of media and comms director, as revealed on prweek.com/uk (10 December).

Wren will return to the MoD in the New Year, replacing Nick Gurr, who leaves before Christmas to take a policy-focused role.

Former FCO director of comms Lucian Hudson said: 'This is a great appointment, and a long overdue promotion. The MoD's challenge is within UK and NATO getting agreement on a single, clear narrative on Afghanistan, which is about long-term security in the region and properly supporting our front line.

'It is co-operation rather than turf wars between the services and greater openness, transparency and value for money from the department itself.'

Issues of openness and transparency are unlikely to be off the agenda for the department in the coming months, as further exposes fuelled by the WikiLeaks website are expected.

A former Department for Transport senior press officer, Wren was the MoD's head of news for nine months between 2005 and 2006, after which he moved to the Home Office, where he took the same role.

In 2008, Wren became the Home Office's acting director of comms until he was replaced by Yasmin Diamond.

Wren said: 'Dealing with the ongoing operations in Afghanistan alongside the implementation of the Strategic Defence and Security Review will clearly be my top priorities.'

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