MoD cuts military PROs in revamped structure

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, is to restructure the Ministry of Defence’s comms department in a move believed to be made to prevent further embarrassing leaks to the media.

The shake-up follows criticism of Hoon by senior military sources stemming from the forces’ lack of equipment while in combat in Iraq.

In an article in The Scotsman last Monday it was reported that the MoD was cutting the number of military personnel working in its comms department, and that military public relations officers will report to political advisers and civil servants rather than uniformed officers.

However, the MoD denied any such announcement had taken place, and said the shake-up was designed to improve the way the MoD served the media.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘It is likely that the new structure will have fewer military personnel but whether they will be replaced by civil servants or not, it is too early to say. We hope to have a new structure in place by July.

‘We are trying to deliver a better practice to the media.’

At the helm of the comms structure is the director-general of corporate communications, Tony Pawson, under who sit four directors of comms with responsibilities for the Army, the RAF, the Navy and the central press office.

It is understood the senior posts in the central press office will be up-

graded to give the department extra power.

The shake-up coincides with the appointment of Hoon’s new special advisor, James Connal (PRWeek, 11 March), who replaced Richard Taylor following his resignation in the wake of the Hutton Report.

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