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Defense Media Activity: Strategic Assessment Project Essay

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Updated: Jun 18th, 2022

Introduction

In the 2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) report to the President, the Secretary of Defense recommended the creation of a new DoD Media Activity that consolidated a number of military department media organizations with similar missions into a new organization. These organizations were:

  • Army’s Soldier Magazine, Fort Belvoir, Virginia
  • Naval Media Center, Anacostia Annex, District of Columbia
  • Army Broadcasting-Soldier Radio/TV, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Air Force News Agency-Army/Air Force Hometown News Service, San Antonio, Texas

The Secretary’s recommendation also included co-locating American Forces Information Services (AFIS) with the new DoD Media Activity and the existing Defense Information School at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

Furthermore, the Secretary’s recommendation met several important Department of Defense objectives with regard to future use of leased space, rationalizing the presence of DoD activities within the National Capitol Region (NCR), and enhanced security for DoD activities. The creation of a new DoD Media Activity, as the result of consolidating a number of entities with similar missions, promoted “jointness” and created opportunities for common support cost savings and operational synergy. The consolidation reduced the Department’s reliance on leased space by eliminating approximately 75,000 Usable Square Feet (USF) of leased administrative space. The location of the activity at Fort Meade, which is outside the boundaries of the NCR, provided a dispersion of DoD activities away from the dense concentration around Washington D.C. This, plus the immediate benefit of enhanced force protection afforded by Fort Meade provided compliance with force protection standards. In November 2005 the BRAC recommendations assumed the force of law and the Department was required to execute them by September 15, 2011. DoD Leadership formally began work in late in 2006 to design DMA’s new home at Fort Meade.

In 2007, as DMA planning moved forward, executive leaders recognized that the BRAC recommendation had three shortfalls. First, it would result in two co-located organizations – the consolidated Military Service organizations and AFIS. Secondly, the similar Marine Corps functions were not included. Finally, the BRAC recommendations had no specific timeline of actions other than the September 2011 deadline. Subsequently, on September 24, 2007, the Deputy Secretary of Defense (DSD) issued the directive-type memorandum, “Establishment of the Defense Media Activity” to address these shortcomings. As a result, the Secretary of Defense formally established the Defense Media Activity (DMA) on January 1, 2008 via DoD Directive 5105.74. On October 1, 2008, the Military Departments retained the BRAC personnel savings and the remaining positions and budget were transferred to DMA. On April 8, 2009, DMA held a ground-breaking ceremony in a field on Fort Meade.

After more than two years of hard work, DMA opened its doors in April 2011 and welcomed the first members of the new DoD Media Activity. By August 2011, the final staff moves completed the transition from the former organizations into the new DMA. It’s important to note that DMA is far larger than the headquarters and media facility and the DINFOS schoolhouse at Fort Meade. More than half the organization is stationed around the world.

Mission

DMA is a mass media and training and education organization that creates and distributes DoD content across a variety of media platforms to audiences around the world.

Vision

Be the essential communication resource for America’s Defense Community.

Organizational Analysis

  • The analysis of DMA’s strengths and weaknesses is crucial.
  • The SWOT analysis is a suitable framework.
  • Internal factors are addressed (Leonhardi et al., 2015).
  • The analysis may contribute to finding the current strategic issues.

Organization’s Strengths

  • A multi-structured and sustainable system of management (Winkler, 2016).
  • Operating components perform different functions and serve the main mission.
  • Maintaining partnerships to strengthen the media delivery system (“Verizon and Defense Media Activity,” 2019).
  • Partnerships contribute to adopting efficient working strategies.
  • Reducing the budget for the needs of the organization (“Defense Media Activity operation and maintenance,” n.d.).
  • Predicted spending in 2021 will drop to $196,997 from $230,506 (“Defense Media Activity operation and maintenance,” n.d.).
  • Managing the security of the digital content effectively (Vargas-Matos & Robinson, 2016).
  • The DoD can count on DMA’s protection from cyberattacks.

Organization’s Weaknesses

  • Limited opportunities “to address the liability” (Leonhardi et al., 2015, p. 33)
  • Poor system of control over personal rights in social media.
  • The untimely control of content by the DoD (Urben, 2017).
  • The organization cannot obtain timely recommendations concerning its public-oriented activities.
  • The broadcast monopoly slows down the progress.
  • The organization feels little competition in its industry.
  • Poor control over business routes (Haverstick, 2018).
  • Few attempts to modernize the mode of market cooperation.

Environmental Analysis

  • An environmental analysis is a part of the SWOT model.
  • External factors of DMA’s activities need to be discussed.
  • Opportunities and threats are addressed to assess the operational environment.
  • The analysis may contribute to identifying strategic solutions.

Organization’s Opportunities

  • Collaborating with small businesses successfully (U.S. Department of Defense, n.d.).
  • Building a capacity to expand content broadcasts globally.
  • A platform to develop useful teaching programs (Winkler, 2016).
  • DMA may become a platform to prepare qualified specialists.
  • Promoting collaboration with private companies to increase technical maintenance opportunities (Leonhardi et al., 2015).
  • Gaps in control can be addressed by adopting advanced software.
  • Conducting an efficient analysis of media usage among the target population (Leonhardi et al., 2015).
  • Obtaining relevant feedback and maintaining timely user support.

Organization’s Threats

  • The lack of information about the threat environment (Leonhardi et al., 2015).
  • Users are not aware of risks associated with content security.
  • The loss of competitive position due to untimely interventions (“Verizon and Defense Media Activity,” 2019).
  • Competitors may utilize more efficient data distribution channels.
  • A decline in the number of professional staff due to financial issues.
  • The estimated civilian pays in 2021 are less than the previous one (“Defense Media Activity operation and maintenance,” n.d.).
  • The leakage of the workforce to organizations with more promising opportunities.
  • The marketing function requires the training of professional employees (Winkler, 2016).

Strategic Issues and Recommendations

  • The issues of content security should be addressed.
  • Personnel management issues need to be considered.
  • Introducing an advanced system of media data control.
  • Maintaining a policy to engage professional specialists.

Building The Security Framework

  • Media content related to national security should be processed thoroughly (McLeod & Shah, 2015).
  • Forecasting security threats is a crucial activity to mitigate risks (Yusof & Pathan, 2016).
  • Poor media control may worsen the current competitive advantage.
  • Competitors’ activities to maintain the security of content may be a threat to DMA’s business.

Building The Security Framework

Data integrity and controllability are under threats (Li et al., 2019). The organization cannot build a sustainable data transmission mode. The Department of Defense may impose sanctions on DMA. A shift in cooperation in favor of another company is likely.

Employee training and motivation are the essential components of data control (Soomro et al., 2016). Teaching practices introduced by DMA may be ineffective in addressing the existing threats. Building an information security policy implies communicating with the staff directly. A poor interaction mode and low incentives may lead to personnel leakage.

Recommendations

  1. Engaging the DoD’s legal representatives to control the content distribution (Ayalon et al., 2016).
  2. Assessing the market regularly to evaluate competitors’ work.
  3. Introducing the recent technological developments to enhance the security of digital content.
  4. Promoting the safety of media coverage globally.
  5. Promoting technical and behavioral solutions among employees (Hina & Dominic, 2018).
  6. Encouraging the staff’s productive communication through effective management practices.
  7. Maintaining the teaching process to train competent employees.
  8. Implementing a favorable system of incentives and bonuses.

Summary

  1. A rich history of DMA’s formation and development. A long period to become the DoD’s official representative. DMA promote the DoD’s media content globally. The organization trains and educates specialists.
  2. The SWOT analysis is applied to test DMA’s success. Strategic issues are identified based on the conducted organizational and environmental analyses. The organization’s strengths concern maintaining partnerships and effective control over the budget.
  3. As the weaknesses, poor liability and the broadcast monopoly are the crucial issues. Efficient teaching and good media usage are the opportunities. The loss of competitive positions and poor personnel performance are the treats. Building the security framework is a part of the strategic plan. Personnel-oriented activities should be promoted at the organizational level.
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