The Defense Media Activity officially launched during an activation ceremony at the Pentagon today, consolidating all service media outlets into one organization.
“This is the best thing to happen to public affairs in a lifetime,” said Gordon England, deputy defense secretary.
The consolidation follows policy makeovers outlined in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure mandate. However, some of the changes taking place were not in the initial directive.
“The American Forces Information Service and Marine Corps News were not a part of the original BRAC, but Mr. England added them, thinking this was a better way to do it,” said Army Col. Mike Galloucis, DMA deputy director and chief of staff. “The Marines have been very corporative and displayed the can-do attitude I have run into during my entire career. The Marines have also been very supportive and on board with everything since the start and have been able to see the true value of this change.”
Galloucis also said the changes mark unprecedented territory for the military and its mission to distribute information as quickly and accurately as possible.
“It’s an umbrella organization made of seven different components that have never worked for the same boss. Now it will be a joint headquarters,” Galloucis said. “The support that we provide our customers will be enhanced and should be transparent to them that we exist.”
Some of the organizations moving under the DMA include the Air Force News Agency out of San Antonio, Marine Corps News and Naval Media Center out of Washington, the Soldier’s Media Center out of Arlington, Va., and the American Forces Information Service.
“It’s an in-place consolidation while we work toward the final operation capabilities,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Al Moore, DMA senior enlisted advisor. “DMA will have all flagship publications, Stars and Stripes, and the Armed Forces Network. It’s a world-class, worldwide organization.”
Moore also said the DMA is designed for convenience because everything will be in one spot.
“If you look at the major networks they all point to somewhere. CNN has Atlanta, NBC and ABC have headquarters in New York. Now we have the same thing. One-stop shopping for getting product out,” Moore said.
Construction workers will break ground on the DMA facility, which will be located at Fort Meade, Md., next year with a completion date set for 2011. All U.S. flagship media outlets will be in the new building by Sept. 15, 2011, said Robert Hastings, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.