By Valerie Insinna , David B. Larter , and Aaron Mehta
March 12, 2018
The U.S. Air Force is slashing access to media embeds, base visits and interviews as it seeks to put the entire public affairs apparatus through retraining — a move it says is necessary for operational security, but one which could lead to a broader freeze in how the service interacts with the public.
According to March 1 guidance obtained by Defense News, public affairs officials and commanders down to the wing level must go through new training on how to avoid divulging sensitive information before being allowed to interact with the press.
The effort, which represents the third major Defense Department entity to push out guidance restricting public communication over the past 18 months, creates a massive information bureaucracy in which even the most benign human-interest stories must be cleared at the four-star command level.
Before settling on retraining its public affairs corps and commanders, the service considered an even more drastic step: shutting down all engagement with the press for a 120-day period, a source with knowledge of the discussions said.[FULL ARTICLE]