INTERNATIONAL: US Air Force revamp puts comms under one banner

WASHINGTON: The US Air Force has revamped and restructured its PR operation following a year-long communications review.

All its communications functions have now been drawn together under one roof.

The new office, currently referred to simply as the communications directorate, is the result of a review of the entire Defense Department, launched by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he assumed his position in January last year.

In an effort to ensure a smooth transition and improve consistency of its message, the Air Force also created the position of director of Air Force communications to preside over the entire office.

William Bodie, until recently the assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for policy and planning, will assume that role.

He previously served as a spokesman for James Roche, now secretary of the Air Force, at Northrop Grumman.

Functions to be performed in the new office include public affairs, media relations, recruitment and retention initiatives, internal communications, integrated marketing, community outreach, and research.

It is unclear at this time what effect, if any, the move will have on the budgets for these previously separate functions.

'The Air Force has a terrific story to tell our people, our fellow citizens, and our friends around the world,' said chief of staff General John Jumper.

'Bill Bodie and his team will apply the talents of our communicators to deliver that story with energy, creativity and, above all, integrity,' he added.

The Department of Health and Human Services is currently undergoing a similar consolidation, wherein the public affairs functions of its 12 separate agencies are being brought together into a single office.

That effort, however, is believed to be spawned at least in part by confusion created by the conflicting messages put out during last year's anthrax scare in the US.

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