Defense Media Activity History

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.