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New Pentagon Channel News Program Focuses on Combatant Commands

By David Mays
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2007 – America’s nine unified combatant commands will be in the spotlight as the Pentagon Channel launches a completely redesigned biweekly half-hour news and information program.

“Focus on the Force” was originally produced by American Forces Network and featured stories about a wide range of military related topics.

“Through a turn of events we ended up taking over the product, and we wanted to give it a new and different look,” said Pentagon Channel news director Gene Brink. “The combatant commands are strategically located around the world to support or conduct U.S. military missions. We want to highlight the great work of the men and women serving in these areas and provide them the well deserved special recognition.”

“Focus on the Force” will be hosted by Army Staff Sgt. Jake Newman, who recently traveled to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., to gather material for the show’s debut, which will feature stories on U.S. Special Operations Command. SOCOM, which has its headquarters at MacDill, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.

“Special Operations Command is one of the most difficult commands to cover due to their mission,” said Brink. “This event provided us the opportunity to talk with all ranks about their job and mission.”

Newman had the opportunity to speak with many special operations members, including SOCOM Commander Army Gen. Bryan "Doug" Brown, who will soon be retiring. The general, who entered the military as a private in 1967 and who has served in his current four-star position nearly four years, had high praise for the servicemembers under his command.

“I just want to pass along my thanks to you and your families for the great work being done around the world today,” Brown said.

Viewers will notice dramatic changes in the way “Focus on the Force” is presented. “The show will have a different look that you will have to see,” Brink said. “It will be different from every program currently on the Pentagon Channel.”

“Focus on the Force” also will feature interactive elements.

“One thing I can share is that we will be asking servicemembers in the combatant command to send photographs that share their everyday experiences, and we will air photos in the show,” said Brink. “We hope we will have the viewer engaged from the beginning to end. You will not find a story that explains the mission of the combatant command. Instead, you will learn about their mission through the stories, real human-interest stories. Plus, we will test your knowledge with a little trivia. The new look will be engaging and tell the experiences of the men and women who make these commands a success.”

“Focus on the Force” is by far the most graphically complex show the Pentagon Channel has ever attempted. Viewers will experience multiple split screens filled with video, animation and text.

“The main challenge was designing the new look for the show,” said Brink. “It had to be something we have never done before when it comes to the look of the show, the graphic elements, music and content layout. We conquered that task, and we will unveil the efforts of our talented team.”

“Focus on the Force” debuts May 10 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the Pentagon Channel. It will also be available via podcast and video-on-demand.

(David Mays works at the Pentagon Channel.)

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