PROs mobilised for possible war with Iraq

Dozens of PROs have been called up as part of an initial team of 1,500 reservists drafted in to help prepare for a possible war in Iraq.

Communicators from a range of firms and agencies have been mobilised for action as members of the UK's 46,000-strong Volunteer Reserve Forces, comprising reservists from the Territorial Army, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

Eighteen members of the TA's media operations unit are among those enlisted to provide comms support.

The Government-funded campaign SaBRE (Supporting Britain's Reserves and Employers) said it is expected reservists may be called up for as long as six months if military action goes ahead.

SaBRE campaign director Tim Corry said those mobilised so far are not likely to be needed on the ground in Iraq, but further tranches of reservists are expected to be called up, some of whom may be needed in the military zone.

Current work will be focused on opening lines of communication in preparation for war, but further work could include strategic support.

'Number one, PRO reservists would be handling media enquiries and number two, handling more proactive PR and positive stories - it will be some strategy and day-to-day PR,' said Corry.

Employers are legally required to keep jobs open for reservists called up, but can receive support and advice on this issue from SaBRE.

All VRFs are trained for at least six months and can join regulars if required.

The Army's corporate comms department has appointed Biss Lancaster Euro RSCG to handle its consumer PR. The agency, which replaces incumbent Rowland Communications, has a brief to promote the Army's non-operational duties.

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