Nine days following a four-star general had been relieved of authority for comments made to Rolling Stone journal, Defense Secretary; Robert M. Gates issued orders on Friday, asking to tighten the pedals on officers, who have to deal with the news media.
The memo needs top-level Pentagon and military leaders to tell the office of the Defense Department’s Assistant Secretary for public affairs before they appear for any interview or any other means of media and public meeting with probable national or international connotations.
Just as the elimination of Gen., Stanley A. McChrystal from authority in Afghanistan was scrutinized as President Obama’s reassertion of civilian control of the military, so Mr. Gates’s memo on ‘Interaction With the Media’ was seen as a reassertion by civilian public affairs experts of control over the military’s acquaintances with the news media.
Senior officers, who were involved in drafting the three-page memorandum, stated that further work was on its way prior to the chaos that followed Rolling Stone’s profile of General McChrystal.
But they recognized that the debate, and the expulsion of one of the military’s most significant commanders, served to highlight Mr. Gates’s determination to add additional discipline to the Defense Department’s contacts with the media.