WASHINGTON: Adfero Group, the DC-based public affairs firm, has launched a Homeland Security public affairs practice to service government, private sector, and nonprofit clients.
The five-person practice already has clients, including the nonprofit DEA Foundation (Drug Enforcement Administration, which is part of the Department of Justice) and the US Port Police. The latter has been around for decades, but heightened interest in US ports from both lawmakers and the media has made a strategic communications effort necessary.
Adfero has also worked with other government clients, such as the US Chamber of Commerce.
"A lot of government organizations are examining new media and how to use that to better communicate with the public," said Christopher Battle, the practice's director and agency VP. "Communications in a more proactive manner is new to that community. Bring in on top of that new vehicles of communications... it requires a lot of guidance."
The new practice will have to balance its communications work with the sensitive nature of the issues that its clients are handling, making sure that they don't "interfere with an operation or jeopardize a case in court." Battle believes his experience working with government agencies will help.
"We're comfortable having that conversation with them and they are comfortable talking with us," Battle said.
Battle has experience working in a communications capacity for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. He said 9/11 and the ubiquity of information from various media outlets, such as the Internet and cable television, has heightened the need to share more information about homeland security.
"Traditionally, law enforcement and national security organizations have kept a low profile," he said.
"[Now] they seek better ways to explain their mission to the public and Congress. They [know] that if they don't do a good job explaining, they might lose support."