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
The DoD has retained a small number of consultants to help with this
project, but declined to identify them by name.