Defense Department contracts for public affairs AND public diplomacy

At what point will the Government, not just the Defense Department, understand that engaging global audiences, within the U.S. and outside, requires staff, understanding of and competency in the modern “now media” information environment? Walter Pincus writes in The Washington Post:

The Army wants a private firm to provide a seven-member media team to support the public affairs officer of the 25th Infantry Division, now serving as Multi-National Division-North in Iraq -- at least three media specialists, two Arab speakers, a Web manager in Iraq and a media specialist stateside.

This particular contract for the 25th ID is for services for

engaging Western and U.S. external audiences; informing our internal and home station audiences with aggressive media relations; as well as command information and outreach programs that support Iraq's steady growth in its government.

in order to

Expand public information reach beyond traditional recipients of media products in order to garner maximum exposure to publics in the U.S. on a 24 hour basis.

Military public affairs, as most can attest, is understaffed and still too often out of touch with today’s aggressive and competitive information environment. Perhaps more exemplary is the solicitation for work that should, as Pincus notes, be performed by the State Department (or USAID).

Read Pincus’s whole article Solicitation for Media Team in Iraq Hints at Contracting-Overhaul Snags.

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