Crisis impacts DoD public affairs review

WASHINGTON: The Department of Defense has said last week's attacks

may influence the overhaul of its public affairs department, admitting

its proactive crisis communications were not as strong as possible.



The public affairs unit had already begun a major review before the

terrorist attacks of September 11. The review was initiated by Victoria

Clarke, formerly of Hill & Knowlton, following her appointment to the

position of assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.



Lt Col. Vic Warzinski, military assistant to the assistant secretary for

public affairs, said: "There is a feeling at least that we were very

reactive to today's crisis, but not as proactive as we need to be in

tomorrow's and the next day's issues."



Warzinski also admitted that in the past DoD "may not have thought as

much as we should have" about strategy.



Consistency is another feature of the review. "Listening to what the

Secretary of Defense and the President say and incorporating that in

communications projects," he said.



Warzinski went on to equate the overhaul in military terms. "Part of

operational planning is deciding what the messages are and how you would

deploy them. It is analogous to how you would deploy a weapon against a

target."



The DoD has retained a small number of consultants to help with this

project, but declined to identify them by name.



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