(Bureau Chief's Meeting. Participants included Bryan Whitman, deputy, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Jim Wilkinson, U.S. Central Command Public Affairs, Brig. Gen. Robert Gaylord, deputy chief, Army Public Affairs, Rear. Adm. Steve Pietropaoli, Navy Chief of Information, Col. Ray Shepard, U.S. Central Command Public Affairs, Capt. T. McCreary, Joint Chiefs Of Staff Public Affairs and Lt. Col. Steven Kay, Marine Corps Public Affairs.)
Clarke: Thanks everybody for being here. We've had large groups before. I don't think we've ever had such a large group. We thought being upstairs would be a better spot. Next time we might have to move it to the auditorium.
And I'm just going to say a couple of things and then turn it over to Bryan who, with a cast of thousands, has been doing most of the hard work. And I think you probably know most of the players here.
One person -- Jim Wilkinson, stand up. Some of you know, many of you will get to know a lot better, Jim Wilkinson, who is our colleague in all things important at Central Command. It has been a great addition to have him there. We have a wonderful team with Colonel Ray Shepherd and General Franks, but it has been wonderful to have him there and you'll be seeing and hearing a lot from him.
We've got some things we want to go through today. Obviously embedding and how we will approach that and how we plan that is a big part of this, so we'll get right into it, but let me just say a couple of things.
One, we have gotten some significant progress done here at this stage of the game. Lots of work to go. And the reason we've gotten to where we've gotten is because of the hard work of a lot of people in this room. I've talked to many of you individually, as has Brian and some others. I've talked to some of you in groups. But we're making progress and we're getting some constructive stuff done because of the hard work, so thank you very much for that.
Second, one of the reasons we're getting some really good things done is because the senior leadership -- Secretary Rumsfeld, General Franks, Chairman Myers (all of whom have representatives here) -- have been actively engaged in this process. They recognize the importance of what we're trying to do. They are very involved in making sure that everybody on our side of the fence understands the intent, understands what the mission is, and that's been a distinct difference from the past, I think. I haven't been around here that long, but I think I can say that pretty safely that you have never had senior leadership at the Pentagon so involved in this process. That's been very helpful, and you all should know that.
With that, I will turn it over to Bryan. It will be hard because of the number of people and all of that, but please, if you've got questions and comments along the way, and we'll take them as they come up, try to identify yourself. And a reminder, we record these, we transcribe them, and we post them on the web site.
Whitman: This would be the part of the meeting where we go around and have everybody introduce themselves, but we'd be out of time and the meeting would be over with if we tried to do that, so we'll skip those. I think you know the gentlemen behind us.
The first thing I wanted to talk about real briefly was the media training that's been going on, and we have another session that's going to start up on Monday up at McGuire Air Force Base. I'd just like to take the opportunity to thank all of you that have invested the time with your reporters to go to that training. I've gotten some really positive feedback, not only from you but also from the military people that have been involved in the training. I'd like to give special thanks to those behind me here, to my left and to my right -- to my left basically, that really were the ones that executed it. The host of each of these training sessions, one by the Navy/Marine Corps team and the Army at Fort Benning, and then the one that's going to occur next week at McGuire. We even have a fourth one on the list.
Just to give you some idea of the magnitude of the interest, we've had a total of 771 requests for this training. That represents 197 different news organizations -- 116 of them being U.S., 81 of them being foreign. When we are completed, we will have trained 238 personnel through the classes that we have scheduled right now. It doesn't necessarily mean it will have to end. We might want to take a look at if it's meeting your needs and meeting our needs about continuing it into the future.
The fourth class, which you may not know about, is scheduled for February 3 through 7 and we have not slated that class yet, so we'll be getting out to you again like we have in the past and letting you know what the allocations for that look like.
Again, I just wanted to thank you and I wanted to thank the people behind me for everything that's gone into that, and by all accounts, from both you and from within the department, I've gotten a lot of positive feedback.
Clarke: Let me throw out there if anybody has any comments on that, we've gotten lots of feedback from the very first one, even a couple of days into it, people were saying okay, this is working. We need more of this, less of this. That made that week better. The second course was better because of the feedback from the first. So I think we're fairly attuned to what was working and what wasn't. But if anybody has any glaring mistakes we've made or omissions, please let us know. Excellent.
Whitman: The next thing I'd like to talk about real quick is the types of coverage that is going to be available if there is a potential future combat operation, as we like to say. This will get us into embedding, but I just want to remind people, as we are concentrating on embedding, if we have a military conflict in the near future, there will be many places where you may want to cover this from: Here in the Pentagon, capitals around the world, in theater. There will be combined information press centers. There will be other media centers. There might be what we call sub-CPICs. There will be a large opportunity to embed with U.S. as well as coalition forces.
I've talked to some of our potential coalition partners and there seems to be interest on their part, at least when I indicate that we're going to try to help them out with their media embedding in U.S. forces. They seem to want to reciprocate; so there may be opportunities for you to embed your journalists with coalition partners also.
The other way there may be to cover will be through pools. The national media pool still exists. Many of the organizations in here participate in that and are represented here. Again, the conditions and the situation would have to be appropriate for deploying the national media pool, but it is a potential means of coverage, as well as regional pools.
There may be opportunities, even with the aggressive embed plan that we have, that there may be centers of gravity around the battlefield, within the battle space in which we can move reporters that may not have had the opportunity to embed to a given location for a short period of time. And to the extent that we can do that, we will do that. To the extent that we have to pool it if it's limited, we'll do that, but then we will disband any pools that we put together as quick as we can. That's not the intended means of coverage. Do you want ot say anything befoe I go to embedding directly?
Clarke: No, I just say, we're trying to plan as much in advance as possible, and I think we're doing a pretty good job. There will be unexpected events, there will be extraordinary events, and we're even trying to plan for some of those. So, for instance, we're walking through a few different examples of a situation that could arise and we might want to put a pool together quickly based on media that might be in that region, and we would try to have some pretty stringent guidelines about pool for the shortest period possible. That's our intent.
I'm sure there will be circumstances that we just can't predict, and what we're all going to have to do is just continue to depend on this constructive relationship but be willing sometimes, and I'm looking around seeing faces here. I know I had this experience as you all did in the fall of '01 and winter of '02. There may be some circumstances in which a handful of us just need to get on the phone and quickly make a decision and say it's in everybody's interest to get the widest exposure possible for what this extraordinary event might be, and so we're going to put together an extraordinary pool on the spot.
So we're trying to plan as much as possible for the unexpected, but knowing that in some cases we may have to put it together on the fly. That's just the way it is.
Whitman: Let's jump right in to what everybody is interested in and that's the embedding: our embedding policy and our embedding procedures.
I think it's of no surprise to anybody in here that we've been advertising for some time that we are going to have a very aggressive, ambitious embedding program where we try to make maximum use of the units that are deployed out there to give your news organizations an opportunity to cover our forces from the front, from the deployed locations where those forces are at.
In order to do this, and we've talked to many of you about this, we decided that in order to make it work, at least initially, there will have to be some centralization that occurs. There will have to be a centralized process and there will have to be a high degree of discipline within the system if we're going to maximize the opportunities for as many people as we can.
We can talk a little bit more about the selection process if you'd like when you have some questions, but I started from the premise that every news organization that is in here had a desire to embed. Unless you told me you didn't have a desire to embed with U.S. forces, I took as my first operating assumption that everybody in here would.
I took it even further than that, and like I said - if anyone is interested in the details, we can get it them, but we looked at across all mediums, both domestic and international. We looked at circulations, we looked at major media markets. We looked at any news organization that raised their hand of those 771 requests for media training. Not that it's a prerequisite, not that it puts you a leg up on anything, but it's an indication that you had a desire to embed or you wouldn't have put forward the resources to go through the training.
Clarke: Of course if anybody wants to put their hands up now and say no, we're not interested in embedding, that would really help in the process. [Laughter]
Whitman: As we looked at this, it became also apparent to us that as we centralize the process it will be necessary for you to centralize your process for your individual organization. We will be asking for a single point of contact falternate if you'd like one too, or your news organization, and I would just remind everybody that that's going to be a point of contact for your entire news organization, though. So if you are, pick an example; if you are a television network, you may have a variety of interests that you have to look out for as the POC. We would like you to be the POC, the Washington Bureau Chief. That would be the most convenient for us and it would give you an opportunity in these sessions to have one-on-one contact with us too. But if you're a television network, for example, you may have a 24-hour news channel, you may have a nightly news show, you may have a couple of news magazine shows, you may even have something off in what you might consider your entertainment division somewhere that also has an interest though and has asked to do some embedding.
So we will be looking towards you to help us in this embedding process, first by establishing a single point of contact. But then, as we identify the embed opportunities for your news organization, we will be dealing with you or we will be dealing with your point of contact.
There's nobody that's in a better position to identify individual reporters than you are. You know what your resources are and you know where your strengths are and you know how you want to cover any combat operations out there. So we need you to be a partner in this and we think it's best if you select and tell us who the individual reporters are once we come to you and say these are your embed opportunities.
Clarke: Let me pile onto that, Bryan's far more diplomatic than I am. But our intent is to have as widespread and fair and balanced coverage as possible. There are many, many interests - domestic, international, print, electronic, etc., large news organizations, regional, local, all of which are very important. Our goal is to have it as broadly based and fair as possible.
To get that done, there needs to be the centralization. We need to take a look at the big picture. Working very, very closely with Jim, working very closely with the services. They will be a part of our, they are a part of our embed team. Working very closely with T. McCreary. But we can take the best look at the entire picture and say okay, we think this is a pretty fair spread across the board of news organizations of different sizes and shapes. So we're going to have a tight management policy, and it would be extraordinarily helpful if your news organizations had one person. It's up to your news organization to decide who your embed point of contact is. It's our recommendation that it be the people in this room.
A) you understand what it's like working with us. B) we think you, too, take a broad approach to the coverage of these events. So that's our recommendation, but we will insist on one point of contact for the obvious reasons, and then for the less obvious reason and the one that people don't like to talk about, and that is people cutting deals.
I cannot tell you the number of people who have come to me over the last couple of months and said "hey, we've got a guy who's out in such and such and he's talking to a buddy of his who's a one star with such and such, and his buddy's telling him yeah, we'll take you along for the first three or four weeks, whatever." The only deals that get made on the embeds for at least the initial phase as we're describing it, will be deals that are made here. We've worked this through very very carefully with the Services, very very carefully with Central Command. It's the only way it will work from our perspective.
So if you have correspondents around the world saying to you don't worry about it, I've got it greased, I've got my colonel on such and such a ship who's told me I'm taken care of, you need to get to him or her and say it's not a deal. Because we will come to you and say air, sea, ground, etc. These are the number of opportunities you have. You decide how you want to plug people in. If that person's one of the people you want to plug in, fine, but that's a decision you all have to make.
Whitman: I guess at this point we should let you know how to enter our system. Our system will be centralized out of the press office initially. And the best way to do that is to contact us either via e-mail, and I will give you our point of contact -- Timothy.Blair@osd.mil. Tim, like I said, we are operating on the premise that everyone in here wants to embed, but the reason for reaching out and making contact with us is to help us identify your POC with a contact number and perhaps a good e-mail address where we can stay in touch with you then. So that's the way you kind of enter our system.
As much discipline as you can put on your own news organization and control the communications through your central point of contact as opposed to all your individual reporters coming to us, obviously that would be of great assistance to us. We don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but when they call us, we're going to say we're dealing with the bureau chief here in Washington, D.C. or whoever you tell us is your POC.
Clarke: Let's stop there for a second. Any questions? Comments? Bill Gertz.
Q: What happens if the point of contact embeds? Does that make it more difficult or will you be able to deal with points of contact in the --
Mr. Whitman: We'll be able to change that. We don't recommend that if that person embeds, the news organization should pick a different point of contact at that point. You may be out of communication for a certain period of time.
Clarke: Can you just -- The last one was Bill Gertz, Washington Times.
Q: Chuck Lewis from Hearst.
Can you give us an idea of what kind of timeframe would be involved in alerting the POC to deployment?
Whitman: Sure. Someone just whispered five minutes in my ear. Let me answer that question this way.
Clarke: He sounded very Rumsfeld-like.
Whitman: We don't want to start identifying embed opportunities too far in advance so that you are calling me two months down the road and saying hey, why did you put our guys with this unit if you're not doing anything? So there's an issue there. I don't have to look out for your business interests, but I know that's a concern, that you put somebody and they stay out there not doing anything for long periods of time.
On the converse of that, it certainly isn't in my interest or Ms. Clarke's interest or the Central Command's interest to have gone through this very detailed planning and invested the type of time and effort and energy that we have with the senior leadership for the unit that you're supposed to embed with to cross the line of departure without you embedded. So we are sensitive to the need to get you there in time, but we're also sensitive to the desire on your part not to be sitting for long periods of time.
I imagine that even once we start that discussion with you with where your embeds are and what your embeds are, that it will be somewhat imprecise in terms of timing. And those are going to have to be business decisions that you make as you watch the developing situation. You may be told you have X amount of embed opportunities. Whatever number of them are units that have already deployed then you can make the decision whether or not you should start moving them. And I may end up telling you, and two of your embed opportunities are with units that have not yet deployed, and if you like, you may embed with them in the United States or in Europe or wherever they may be coming from. Then that's another business decision on your part. Or you may decide that you just want to wait until they deploy and link up with them wherever they're going to.
So without answering your question directly, we understand both ends of the issue and we're going to have to make that decision based on our best judgment as time goes on.
Clarke: It depends, and Steve might want to talk about this a little bit. It depends, the embed opportunity and what the nature of it is, what the nature of that particular group is that your person might be your slot might be, assigned to, will determine how much in advance we can let you know that that's available.
Pietropaoli: A carrier is a relatively, I don't want to speak too, but a relatively easy place for people to hang out for awhile.
Whitman: And there are stories there every day.
Clarke: Right. [Laughter]
Q: I take it from your comments that we're not talking about the national media pool model where you have four hours to get to Andrews Air Force Base.
Whitman: No. Because quite frankly, most of your reporters -- some of you are going to be using reporters that are already in the region. You have a lot of reporters there in the region represented here. And some of you are going to have to send reporters from either overseas or the United States and many of them will arrive by commercial means to link up with those units. So, obviously, we will be sensitive to that time line in order to get your people in position and linked up.
Q: Carl Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News.
As part of this information flow, are we supposed to supply you with the names of reporters who will be in X, Y, and Z places on certain dates?
Whitman: No, we don't see that as particularly necessary. We'll come to you with the embed opportunity and then you will make that decision based on where you have reporters or from where you want to send people to. Then you'll have to tell us who those reporters are. So we're not interested in lists of reporters right now.
Q: So you might, on April 13th, you'll say you have a chance to send a reporter who's leaving from Fort Hood on April 18th to go to wherever.
Q: Then we'll have to get back to you who that is and say we either do it or we don't.
Whitman: And then we want to make positive contact with that unit through CENTCOM, through the chain of command, so the unit is expecting you, you know what unit you're going to, and there shouldn't be any confusion at that point.
Can I talk just a minute about what embedding means to us so we kind of are all on the same sheet of music?
I call it embedding for life is our policy. That's a little extreme, but that's just the terminology that I've been using. But what I mean to convey by that is that we envision you will have the opportunity to stay with that unit for as long as you want. In other words, we are not going to come after two weeks of being embedded with a particular unit and say you've been here for two weeks, it's been a good ride, but we have somebody else, some other news organization that we want to rotate into this slot so you're going to have to go.
Embedding means living, eating, moving, in combat with the unit that you're attached to. If you decide to make the decision that you're no longer interested in the unit that you're with or you've covered them sufficiently, of course, you can say I want to try to retrograde back and leave the unit that I'm with. But once you do that, there are no guarantees that you'll get another opportunity with that unit or necessarily even with another unit. Okay? We will try, as people leave to give other reporters and other news organizations an opportunity to rotate into that embed if they so desire. But that's what I'm talking about when I say embeds for life.
I think that you probably agree with us that there is a lot of advantages to having the opportunity to stay with a unit for an extended period of time. To build up the relationships, to build up the trust, to build up the basis of reporting, to understand the unit Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and how it operates, all those kind of things. The upsides certainly outweigh the downsides in trying to do rotations.
By the same token, I will expect that there will be very few opportunities where you will be able to say I want to rotate a reporter into this embed opportunity, and I want to try to get a different reporter in there. I say that's going to be rare because the logistics of that will probably be pretty difficult with the very aggressive embed plan that we have.
So as you assign reporters I'd ask you to take that into consideration. These are expected to be long-term commitments to forces that are deployed out there in the field. I think that's most of your reporters, and many that have gone through the media training kind of understand that I think. But I just wanted to get that out there.
Q: When you say long term, like (inaudible) Tobin Beck of UPI.
Whitman: Tobin, that would presume that I would have some sort of knowledge about how long a military operation might last, and I simply don't. But once you embed, if you want to continue -- in an ideal situation -- the ideal situation to me is that you would get an embed opportunity with a unit that's leaving from the United States, you would go with that unit, you would be there through their load-out, through their deployment, through their send-offs. You'd follow them into their staging area. You'd be with them as they prepare for combat. You'd go into combat with them. You'd march on whatever capital we happen to march on with them. You would return to -- [Laughter]
Clarke: If that would be a part of the plan.
Whitman: If that would be a part of the plan. (Laughter)
You would return to the United States with them or to their home base, wherever they might be, and you'd cover the victory parade. That's embed for life. Now that's taking it to an extreme, but once you get an embed opportunity, it's yours to hang onto for as long as you like.
Q: Cissy Baker, Bureau Chief, Tribune Broadcasting.
In the last war there were several occasions when there were blackouts, especially on the various ships like the Kitty Hawk, any aircraft carrier.
Will there be blackout periods where we will not be able to file?
Pietropaoli: The Kitty Hawk was blacked out for the entire time because it was a special purpose ship. I can say from a naval perspective, I'm certain there will be times if we're launching the initial strike, since it tens to aid the enemy gunners in focusing their sights and focusing their attention, we probably don't want real-time coverage of the initial strike. And it's possible to go live from the decks of carriers, for some time it has been possible, with sat phones or cellular and even video now.
So yeah, we don't permit that. It's always a conundrum for us as you get closer and closer to some military operation. You don't want to signal that you're close to a military operation by shutting down the coverage. So we've wrestled with this. We think we have, and we've wrestled frankly with representatives from a lot of the organizations in this room. I think that as a practical matter it worked out okay. It's never satisfactory. You guys would like to be able to go live 24x7 and we would like to be able to control your timing.
Our only commitment to you is that we will only do it for, I think what will be even to you all relevant intelligent operational reasons. When that doesn't happen, there is recourse back here to either Central Command or OSD or the Service and we will help adjudicate those. It never happens as quickly as you like, but communication is much better now than it was a decade ago when these kinds of things tended to fester for 24, 48 hours. Now we can resolve them in a couple of hours.
Clarke: But as Steve said, it's not just about ships. It is fundamental principles that apply across the board. We wouldn't be going to all this trouble of trying to figure out how to embed lots of news organizations if we didn't think it was to everybody's advantage. So we're not going to go to all that trouble and not try to make every effort to help you get your product back.
The fundamental principles on which we will say no, you can't transmit at this time or that time, and hopefully we can do that somewhat in advance, is based on operational security, success of the mission, and safety of the people involved. And I think somebody who is embedded with a unit, somebody who's on a ship, has a full appreciation for that. But those are the only reasons why we would put restrictions on when and how you can transmit your product back. Those are the principles on which we would make those decisions.
Whitman: That includes the safety of your own reporters with that unit, too.
Q: Thelma Lebrecht of AP Radio representing Ed Tobias.
I wanted to ask would there be any distinction in embedding, say with the Army and with the Navy in terms of carrying gear? For instance, a radio reporter carries a lot of gear, and in a sat phone will add about another 20 pounds to that. I wondered if there would be a distinction say going out with the Army, whether there would be any limitations on the Army where you wouldn't have it on other parts?
Whitman: Thelma, thank you for that question because that's the next part I was going to talk about was equipment. Tell me if I answer your question when I'm done. All right?
Let's put it into some categories of what we expect to provide and then what we expect you to provide to your reporters out there.
We expect to provide basic chemical/biological protection gear. NBC gear. We think that's important that if you're embedded with one of our forces out there, with one of our units out there, that you ought to be traveling with the same NBC protection that our folks have. It is an ever-present threat on the modern battlefield and we think it's the right thing to do and I think you'll agree with us.
We'll provide things like rations. We will provide transportation. If you are an embedded reporter, we provide your transportation. That means you travel on our unit vehicles, you travel with us.
What we expect reporters to show up with is personal and protective equipment beyond what I've described. So, in other words, if you want to put your journalists out there in protective vests, then you should look at procuring that type of equipment now. If you want them to wear protective head gear, you'll want to look at doing that now. So personal and protective equipment beyond the NBC.
Professional equipment, and I think that's what Thelma was getting to a little bit, the good rule of thumb is probably how all you travel, and you are all well traveled people in this room, I know. One should bring only what they can carry. If you are a ground embed, you should be able to carry the equipment that you are taking with you. If you are a maritime embed and you're going aboard a ship, you've still got to get that equipment aboard a ship, but there may be a little bit more flexibility on something like that. If you're going to an Air Force facility, an airfield somewhere as an air embed at a fixed location, you may have an opportunity to bring in a little bit of additional equipment too. But as a good rule of thumb you need to be able to manage and handle your own equipment with the reporters that you're sending in.
Having said that, in terms of transmitting your product, communication devices and things like that, we want you to bring the normal means of communication that you use on a daily basis to transmit your product. The organic transmission equipment that you have you should bring, unless you need to upgrade that because of the type of situation that you're going to be putting your reporters in. There's a lot of equipment that's on the open market today that is pretty small. Just like anything, the smaller it gets the more expensive it gets so it's an investment, I know. But I would ask you to consider for your reporters' sake everything that they're going to have to carry along with them, you need to try to help them out as much as you can with the most modern, up to date equipment to send their products back.
Does that take care of what you were getting to Thelma? Any issues associated with that?
Q: Bill Gertz. I take it you're not going to provide helmets and flack jackets?
Whitman: We have had discussions with many of you in this room about that. To be quite honest with you, there's a fair amount of concern that if we put our military flack vests on you, if we put our military helmets on you, if we provide protective clothing for you beyond the NBC suits, you begin to look very much like a soldier, a sailor or a marine that's out there, and so we've gotten a fair amount of push-back from that.
A lot of this equipment, beyond the NBC equipment, is available out there on the commercial market. If you want to replicate, you can buy these things. Protective vests, most of you that have journalists that go into dangerous situations already have them wearing those. It might be an issue of getting them to keep on all time.
Gertz: I would disagree with that. I think if we're going to be with the units, it's kind of ludicrous to think that you're going to be somehow not part of a unit. Could I suggest that we make that an option? If news organizations want to be able to get equipment --
Clarke: Bill, we've working it, I love options but we've worked this very, very hard with the services, talked directly with potential unit commanders, up and down, and plenty of the news organizations around the room have said we would prefer to do it this way. We understand chem/bio is a separate and distinct category. But a combination preferences from most of the news organizations and talking with the people who are involved, making sure we've got all the people going in the right places, we're sticking on this one.
Gertz: I would point out that that's different than the way it was done in the past here.
Clarke: Lots of things are.
Whitman: There are a lot of things that are different than the way we've done things in the past.
Q: Bob Timberg, Baltimore Sun.
Torie, can you tell us, or Bryan, the chem/bio gear that's going to be given to reporters, that you're going to provide, will that be of the same quality of what the troops receive?
Clarke: It's the same outfit.
Q: It's the same stuff, right.
Q: This is a quick question. John Hall with Associated Press.
On the professional equipment, the sat phones that the photograhers use, are you furnishing those or will we furnish them?
Whitman: We understand that you'll have equipment problems in the field just like we, anything mechanical or electrical has problems from time to time. But you should go prepared to transmit your own products, and in those rare cases where you have problems and we have the capability to help you out, we're going to do that because it's in our interest to do that too. But your primary means, you need to go self-sufficient, ready to transmit it, whether it's photos or text or whatever it is that you have.
Clarke: It's an important point John, and we've got a video-conference tomorrow. We've had dozens and dozens of meetings at all sorts of different levels about what we're trying to do at our end to facilitate all of this, to make it happen, and we've begun to drill down even further and further and further. Because we can have the best plans in the world, we can have all sorts of logistics taken care of, but at the end of the day, what it comes down to is the people so we want to make sure all the people who are involved from the highest levels to the lowest levels truly understand what the intent is.
So to your question, they know we're putting plans in place to try to help you have the right equipment there so you can transmit your own product back. But at the end of the day, they know that it will be their responsibility to try to help you do that.
Pietropaoli: And in the maritime environment. I think as we identify, get closer to this and identifying what organizations are going to a carrier, for example, or any of the several carriers we have in the past and we will try again in the future to hoist aboard some satellite transmission capability, particularly for the electronic news gatherers. We have decent capability embedded in the ship that sends photos back and of course copies being no problem. But if we know that these 30 people are going to be on that carrier and there's five electronic news gatherers and video, they're going to have to get together among themselves and figure out how to bring one aboard. I haven't got room to strap five separate outfits on board.
The same will likely be true for the Air Force guys at certainly any sort of expeditionary airfield, even the pretty well developed ones. And for your own purposes, because you're not going to have unlimited number of satellite uplinks and those kinds of things in theater. I expect there will be a lot of pool arrangements. We'll try to work that out. As people get identified organizations get identified to go to the units, some kind of arrangement. Again, the on/off key will have to have a vote, what's being turned on, and then among yourselves you'll figure out how to time-share for the uplinks.
Q: Kim Hume, Fox News.
We've had some experience embedding already and one of the things that we ran into was a power situation. I just want to make sure that people are thinking about that. It's my understanding that the vehicles do not have cigarette lighters, and many of our power options are with a cigarette lighter, and it's an odd and small thing, but it turns out to be a big deal when you're out there without any power.
Clarke: And I just want to reflect on that comment for a moment. I can speak for the American people and say we did not know it came down to cigarette lighters. [Laughter]
Whitman: In fact, particularly for the electronic media, in fact I'm hosting another meeting on Friday because there are some concerns about issues of power and things like that. We have some suggestions for you but we'd like to really try to understand what some of your concerns are and maybe work through some of those. There's a lot of, when we deploy the national media pool we have some generators that, hand-held type generators that are gasoline operated and will choke on mogas but still work fine with mogas and other things too. But we should talk through those issues and make sure that you're comfortable. It would be, how do I want to put this.
Every military unit has power needs out there too, at least at the battalion level they all have communication needs, they all have computer systems that have to work. So your situations are not totally unique in that we have some of the same type of issues and I think we can help you work through some of those.
Q: Robin Sproul, ABC News.
In the interest of discussing some of these things, when you give us an embed opportunity, will we be able to know in advance who else is going to be on that so that we can talk about satellites and --
Whitman: Sure, in fact you raise a good point and we need to look at that. I've had a couple of news organizations come to me and talk about them pooling your resources, and we should talk about that for just a second.
The real advantage -- there's a cost and a benefit to embedding, the cost is that you get a very narrow view of what's going on where your reporter is. The advantages of it are tremendous because you get extremely deep, rich, coverage of what's going on in a particular unit and I think we all agree that there's a whole lot of advantages to being embedded. But having said that, you will not have an embed opportunity with every ground unit out there. You won't have an embed opportunity at every airfield location. You won't have a ground bed opportunity on every major carrier battle group, if there are any out there. [Laughter]
So you still will need to cover broadly from CPICs, combined information press centers, from the Pentagon, and things like that. But there have been some news organizations that have said well, do you have any problem if we get together and pool our product because we know we're going to be at different places throughout the theater. That's your call completely. Of course we don't. That's a business decision on your part. But I can see to your point that it would be helpful if you knew where other people were going to be that are in your medium, that there might be some opportunities to either resource share, if not product share, but to resource share for getting things out and we'll take a look at that.
Q: From a print perspective, what are the prospects of getting Internet access? One of the easiest ways to file now is through the Internet. Will there be possibilities for getting Internet access with front line or any units?
Clarke: It will vary on the circumstances.
Whitman: It really will. It's something that's really too hard to predict. It's going to depend on what unit you're embedded with, what their particular situation is at the time. So it's --
Clarke: The answer to your question is yes, it just depends on the circumstances.
Pietropaoli: But it must not be Internet in the sense you're thinking about Bill. If you've got documents, the unit will have the ability either on the high side or the low side normally to move e-mailed documents around. Maybe not small tactical units, but any larger size. If you've got a Word format. They can put it on the Sipernet get it back to somebody here at the Pentagon who can get it to your bureau. There's lots of things you can work out and think those through beforehand.
Q: And as a follow-up to that, we're required to bring our own transmission capabilities; we won't be prescribed from using the capabilities, that are there, in the sense that people -- I mean obviously on a prioritized basis.
In other words, we're not going to be blocked from filing if, for some reason, the main transmission of our own transmission unit doesn't work.
Whitman: Oh no, like I said earlier, there may be opportunities where you either have equipment failure, it might not be equipment failure. It might be that your equipment can't get the product out and we may be in a position where we can move your product and commanders are going to be encouraged to assist you in that.
Clarke: Let's go way back since we're missing some people back there. Television.
You spoke about embedding for life. Are you going to have different situations, i.e., short term, middle-term, long-term embedments? And when the crews go out to these various embedments will they know in advance what type of embedment they're on? Five days, several weeks, entended.
Whitman: I don't envision that. What I envision is other opportunities other than embedding, in which because the center of gravity moves somewhere on the battlefield where we think that there would be a great interest and CENTCOM has the capability of moving some reporters there for a short period of time, that could occur. And that could be a day. That could be two days. But that would not be what we would consider an embed. The best thing in the world for an embed is that you're at the center of action some day I guess the worst news for the embed is that we are able to find the opportunity to bring 30 journalists in and cover that center of gravity for a day or two. But then they go away and the embedded journalist gets to continue on with the work they've been doing.
Q: Terry Atlas, US News.
How are you at determining which unit will take journalists? Obviously, you know which units will be moving towards the unnamed capital, as you said, and which units will be guarding bridges north of Basrah, and which ones will be ferrying water to the troops. So we wouldn't necessarily know what unit, what the task is for the unit we're being assigned to. So you know what the mix of opportunities are.
How are you taking into account what the unit will actually be tasked to do in deciding where you assign embeds?
Whitman: Well, first, for the record, I didn't name any capitals. [Laughter]
Clarke: Let me take a whack at this. For obvious reasons we're pretty careful about what we say. But you have a basic sense of air, land, sea, where they will be initially, you have a basic sense of understanding what their mission and roles ought to be. We have, based on being involved in this process since the very beginning, we have a very good sense of the specific mission of a particular unit and the way things should play out.
Military action being military action, it doesn't always work that way, but we recognize that there may be -- it sounds incredibly crass, but we recognize there may be some opportunities that are more interesting and exciting than others. And we have taken that into account. It's an intangible, but we have taken that into account as we try to take a broad-based look at this and spread out the opportunities across the news organizations. We have tried to take that into account.
What right now in January looks like might be a very potentially exciting situation might not turn out -- it might turn out that it's not. That's just the way it is.
Whitman: Don't sell short any particular embed opportunity that you might get, only because initially it might not be perhaps the most, what you feel newsworthy type unit to be reporting on, but as the campaign develops and over time, you may find out that that unit plays a very key role in the actual operation. We don't typically deploy units that don't have a key role to play in the success of a military operation. But there may be periods of time where it may, if you're attached to the division's reserve battalion, you may not be doing anything for a while. But if that division commander has to call in the reserve at a critical time on the battle, guess what? All of a sudden you have the main effort.
So I would, just like with your air, sea and land opportunities that you're going to be getting, there are going to be times when air activity is certainly more the focus of an operation or where things that are happening at sea are more the focus of, or the essence of what might be going on at a particular time.
Q: Bryan, to help us understand better your decision on vests and helmets, can you tell us who's pushing back and what their rationale is?
Clarke: I don't feel comfortable naming individual people or news organizations.
Q: You've indicated that you also were getting reactions from unit commanders, service chiefs,
Clarke: I'll leave it at people within the service, people within Central Command. At what point do you, somebody awhile ago was saying we want the flack jackets, we want the helmets, we want the BDUs, we want the boots -- at what point do you stop this? So in some ways it's simpler to make a clean break.
We feel very confident it's the right decision on the chem/bio, that we ought to provide that to make sure everybody has the best possible equipment. Everybody has the equipment with which the military is trained, on which they're trained, so they can help if someone needs assistance, those sorts of things. But a combination of factors: at what point do you stop completely outfitting a member of the news media and people in the news media themselves saying we don't necessarily want to be completely outfitted and looking exactly like the unit with which we're embedded. That was a pretty significant issue that was raised in the first military media training session at Quantico.
Q: Phil Dine, The St. Louis-Post Dispatch.
The next to the last question, I spent in the Gulf in November, particularly with the Army in Kuwait, there seemed to be somewhat of a fluid understanding of how embedding decisions would be made and what if any role they would play.
Clarke: It's less fluid.
Q: That's been ironed out.
Whitman: We wanted to talk to you bureau chiefs at the front end of this process, because we feel it's important to communicate to you. Word will get out to the field, so if your reporters have been giving you some information that doesn't necessarily coincide with what we've been telling you today, I am confident that in the next couple of days everybody will see this the way we're discussing it in here.
Clarke: A big part of tomorrow's mission with the video-conference, and Jim if you want to speak to this, is as I said, what is most important at the end of the day is for people to understand the intent and what our mission is. If they fully understand and appreciate that intent then they can make the right decisions on a case by case basis. But it is to make absolutely clear some of these fundamentals such as this.
Q: Katherine Skiba, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for Craig Gilbert.
Can you address vaccines? And secondly, visas if we need any in the latter case?
Whitman: Thank you. You hit the next to the last point on my agenda, which is vaccines.
Q: Can we stay with embeds for one more --
Clarke: Ok, but T. McCreary, Joint Staff.
McCreary: I don't want a misperception here. When you're talking about chem/bio gear, that's only the embedded media. That is not the 3,000 media that show up at Qatar for covering the news center. Just so there's no misunderstanding. It's only the guys out with the operating forces.
Q: Do you want identification for journalists? Do you want us to distinguish ourselves?
Whitman: Do we want you to distinguish yourselves?
Q: From the divisions that we're with.
Whitman: No. I guess what I'm saying there is you need to look as you provide protective equipment and gear for the reporters that you put out there, just as we're teaching in the military training, media training sessions. It has to be done with an eye toward appropriate light and noise discipline, appropriate camouflage cover, those type of things. But it's the strong preference by the majority of the news organizations that we've talked to that they don't want to look identical to the troops that are out there.
If you want to buy a Kelvar helmet and have your reporter wear a Kelvar helmet, nobody's going to object to that. But that's a decision that you've made, not us imposing it upon you. We want to go to embedding, but want to get to innoculations. Someoone had one more embedding question over there.
Q: John Farrell, Boston Globe.
There's not going to be any advantage to having people in the region. You're guaranteeing that for embedment, they're be able to get there from the United States.
Whitman: There are a lot of advantages to having people in the region because there will be a lot of ways to cover any potential military conflicts. But for initial embedding, just because somebody has been sitting somewhere because they think that will give them priority, that is not necessarily the case. You may have a reporter there, though, and you may feel there's an advantage to having a reporter there because when we give you your embed opportunity you'll be able to take that reporter that's already in theater and attach them, assign them to that unit.
Q: But the ones back here will have the time to get over.
Clarke: Barring the unforeseen circumstances that can and do occur.
Q: John Henry with the Houston Chronicle.
How specific are these embed opportunities going to be? Division-wide battalion? And once we embed, how much flexibility will there be within the division or --
Whitman: We're going to get you down to a fairly low level, but you are absolutely correct, at a certain point then, there will be a number of journalists that are assigned, let's just say for example at the division level. You will have a number of journalists that are at a division and from there, there will be some opportunities to embed with a particular battalion or a company or whatever. Within that unit there may be some opportunities, you may be covering a particular company for an extended period of time, but you want to see what's going on at the battalion TOC. Those are things that I'm sure that mature commanders in the field and mature journalists out there will work out and try to present as many different opportunities for you as possible. But by the same token, I'm not going to take, the intent will be not to say. you've got to leave your battalion or you have to leave your company because somebody else wants to come in and cover it. That goes back to the embedding for life.
When I give you an embed opportunity and you want to stick it out through thick, through thin, two weeks, two months, two years, you're going to get to stay.
Q: Michael Douglas from Time.
How many, in the aggressive embedding plan here, how many people are you planning to embed roughly? I think we gave you some guidance about how many folks with vests and helmets we should have standing by. Will we all get one call, two calls, no calls? Some of us will get calls? What's the thinking?
Clarke: In fairly short order, I don't want to give a date certain because there are more details that I'm aware of that need to be worked out. But, in fairly short order, we will contact you or whoever your point of contact is for embeds and say in the initial phase, if you will, here are your embed opportunities. You will know the number of people. So, in fairly short order.
Because we're still working with Central Command and because we're still working with unit commanders on numbers, I'd just rather we don't have one big fat number out there that people say is either too big or too low or whatever.
Q: Jerry [inaudible], Wall Street Journal.
Would that be specific enough so that we could make sure the right reporter goes to the right spot?
Whitman: We're getting up on six minutes so I really want to cover inoculations for you.
Clarke: Let's do this and then --
Whitman: Then I can circle back to other issues.
The last time we met I gave you a little white card. Today I will pass out cards, there's a significance to the colors so you might want to decide which ones you pick, so pass those around.
These are the CDC-recommended innoculations for the theater, and these are the ones that we recommend your journalists that are traveling to the area, or that you anticipate might embed receive.
Clarke: This just in.
Whitman: This just in, as you know there are a couple of innoculations that are not available commercially. I'm specifically referring to the smallpox vaccine as well as the anthrax vaccine. And the good news is that we have just authorized the use of vaccines, or the administering vaccines to journalists, to your news organizations, for embedded media. If you so desire to get those vaccines we will provide those at no cost to the government -- we'll have to work out the implementing details. But to be honest with you, this is a very recent development that we've just been able to kind of push through the system, so those of you that have been asking about anthrax vaccinations and smallpox vaccinations, those will now be something that we can provide to you and we will have to follow up with you on the details of that.
Clarke: One thing I want to make clear --
Q: Stateside as well as over there?
Clarke: Yes. We will make it available. We're not forcing it on anybody. Your people will get the same big dose of information on the risks associated with it, why we think it's appropriate to apply to it to our people who will be in the areas of potential risk. But it will be your decision and the individual's decision as to whether or not they take it.
Whitman: Did everyone who wanted these get these? (Holding up the cards) How many people have blue ones? Blue ones are embed opportunities. How many got gray ones?
Clarke: Game over.
Q: So, the vaccine will be avilable only to designated embedders, not to the people who may be in the region.
Whitman: That's correct.
Q: (inaudible] covered generally.
Clarke: But if it's somebody you think you're sending to the region to be embedded, we will make it available. And again, I'll just pile on here for as second. It is significant. The Secretary, General Franks, Chairman Myers -- Chairman Myers is engaged on this one too -- were very much engaged in this decision making process. And you might all sit there and say well of course they ought to be, but these kinds of issues have not gotten to this level before. But they think through these issues so much, and it was almost well, of course that's what you would do. So just to give you as sense of the involvement from the senior leadership around here, which I think is significant.
Q: George Condon with Copley.
If I can ask the big picture briefing. In '91 you had General Schwarzkopf in theater, you had General Kelly at the Pentagon. In any impending situation, will you have General Franks, would be in Tampa, would he be in Qatar? Where would people be to get a big picture briefing on developments?
Whitman: Jim wants to speak to this a little bit, but let me tell you that, first of all, making comparisons to 1991 and to what we have planned really are not, are really not useful.
I will tell you that we will be conducting briefings as appropriate both within the theater as well as back here in Washington. And --
Clarke: Possibly with unit commanders. Think multiple and think asymmetrical, and don't think that it's going to be very convenient and very easy. It's just not. It is not the way things work any more that you can predict with great certainty well in advance exactly what's going to happen and what's going to happen at what time of day.
Also, I personally think there's a certain falseness associated with, well, we're going to tell you what's important at X time of day, every single day. It's convenient, it's easy. I don't necessarily think it's completely appropriate. To the extent we can give you advance notice about briefings and those sorts of things great , but if something is happening , we have an obligation to try toget the news and information out. And I think you have an obiligation to share it with your readers and viewers, etc. But there are plenty of lessons we have learned from the Persian Gulf War, and that's a very, very important thing.
But boy, people should not start sentences with this is the way we did it in '91, so let's do it that way. It just doesn't make sense. It's 12 years later, it is a very different world. If there is indeed military action in Iraq, it is very likely it will be very different than what occurred in '91.
Q: I have a question on the training classes.
Wilkinson: I would just point out, that at several thousand of your reporters there to cover operations, we expect this, that it will be that there will be none of the influence that you saw at Internal Look. We will have a robust operation there. I would not go into this expecting General Franks to brief the press every day. It will be periodically. When it's in his interest. I see our job at As Sayliyah is to get as many facts out as possible in the operations, working through Torie's system. So we'll certainly have senior people doing those types of briefings, but things will be done a little bit differently.
Q: Ralph [inaudible] from Reuters.
On the training classes. Is the training class in Europe still being considered?
Whitman: It is still being considered but it's real hard, and to a large degree we may be running out of time. There's one in February. Those that have been holding out on some of your foreign correspondents, we might want to look at trying to get them into the February class. I'll work with you on that to see if we can't do that. Some of you have been holding some of your foreign correspondents in the hopes that we'd be able to do one overseas, and I think we'll put some emphasis on that last class to try to get some of those in there.
Q: Can you address the need, as I asked, for visas, a need?
Whitman: There will still be requirements, just as there are today, for news media to receive appropriate visas for the countries that they're going into. We will be working vigorously with those countries where we have forces to try to ensure that we don't have restrictions on U.S. journalists. You can sit up at night, well maybe you don't, but certainly Torie and I think about this often and so does Jim, about things that can go wrong and things that are out of our control. And there's always a possibility that a particular country will decide not to allow American journalists into their country where we have significant force presence and where we had a whole bunch of media embed opportunities for you. So we're going to be working that aggressively, but to answer your question directly, yes, you should plan on obtaining visas like you have in the past.
Q: For embeds, for people who want to rotate out who are already embedded, .is tha, is their chain, through the points of contact back to you? Or is that going to be done in the field?
Whitman: I'm not sure I fully understand the question.
Q: In othe words, Somebody who's embedded. If we have someone embedded and want to take them out.
Q: Yes. So is that, is the point of contact to you or do they do it in the field?
Whitman: If they want to leave, the unit commander will make arrangements for them to get back to a place where they can depart the theater or go to a coalition information center, to a media center in the theater. We will have a responsibility to try to move them back through the system. If they're in a ground unit, for example, and they've moved out with that unit, but it's time for them to go, you've made a business decision that they have to leave or for whatever reason --
Q: We would get help transporting them back.
Whitman: We will work them back to the point of, a point in which commercially available transportation would be available.
Question: And the regional people who you might take in who aren't embedded, would that be, would deal with people in theater?
Clarke: Eeveryone's whispering yes, so we'll say yes. (laughter)
Whitman: Ok, I'm not sure, I'm slow, I not sure I understand the question.
McCreary: You mean if we have a day at a time, an opportunity set-up by the infromation center. I understand the question.
Whitman: Oh, yes. Right. Exactly.
Clarke: I have [inaudible]. I'd encourage you all to stay and berate Bryan and T. with more questions. But I do want to thank all of you. I want to thank a lot of people in this room who have put a lot of time and effort into this process, and I think about something Sandy Johnson said to me once in the fall of '01 at a particularly contentious time, "There will be problems, there will be issues, there will be fights, but as long as we can keep these lines of communication open and always be willing to address the issues, we'll get there in the end."
Everybody will not be completely happy. I think it's safe to say that every single person in this room at some point will be unhappy with how this goes if it goes. But it's not for lack of trying, and I do think at the end of the day, we are trying to do, all of us, are trying to do some pretty important stuff here. So I encourage everybody who's worked so hard at it to keep working hard at it. I encourage everybody to understand that we do have very similar objectives at the end of the day and know that the very, very senior people in this building and Central Command truly understand how important it is, so thank you.
Q: Torie, before you go, a question on reporting ground rules. Have you established those? I mean they've changed in the past from everything's on the record until you agree otherwise to just the opposite.
Clarke: I'll say one thing, and then I encourage some of these folks -- T., Jim, Steve, to come up with some different scenarios. What's important is the only restrictions we want to put on anything have to do with operational security and the safety of the people involved, including the safety of your journalists, and I know some of you will say that's not your responsibility. We care about the safety of the people who are going with us, so that is our responsibility.
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, probably more, the people at the level at which these interactions are going on, make clear in advance to media -- you know this, you've been out there with them -- make clear to them in advance, these are the restrictions we'll have to place. You're shooting certain things on an aircraft carrier. There are certain things you should not report on, you should not demonstrate. Ninety-nine times out of 100 people make that clear in advance, they reach some agreement, some agreed-upon guidelines. Guidelines on aircraft carriers will be different than the guidelines of a particular unit on the ground.
What's important is the fundamental intent, which is we want you to cover the good, the bad, the in between. The only concerns and considerations we will put on that, and we will try our darndest to do it in advance, is to say for operational security reasons, the success of the mission, for the safety of the people involved, we ask you not to do the following.
I was talking to some people last night. Since September of '01, I could only come up with one or two, maybe one and a half examples, in which correspondents did something that violated what a unit commander or the PAO with whom he was dealing violated what they had agreed upon. Most of the time it works.
Whitman: We have a few more minutes before they're going to throw us out of this room, but only a few. So I'll address a few more and then we'll have to break up.
Q: Just to follow upon the ground rules question, are reporters embedded going to have "minders" with them? Are there going to be PAOs shadowing reporters?
Whitman: There are not enough public affairs officers in the system to well, maybe I shouldn't say that. I have no idea. I don't think there's enough public affairs officers out there to put a public affairs officer in with every journalist as we execute this very ambitious and aggressive embed plan. So there will be security at the source. It will be the commander that you're with, that you are making those decisions as part of that team out there. You're going to know when there are issues where you can't report because the tactical situation won't allow you to. And I just don't anticipate that there's going to be that many problems, and where there are, you guys have a chain of command, we have a very rigorous chain of command in the military, and we'll just work those as they present themselves.
Pietropaoli: One of the advantages of the embed is, I expect that journalists will outnumber public affairs people on a carrier 25-1. But early on when you first get there, you don't know stem from stern. You don't know your way around, you need somebody just to find the facilities. If you're there for a few days, there's going to be much less necessary. The same is true on the other thing.
On the other hand, you better have a public affairs point of contact because when the other guys are all focused on shooting bad guys, there's only going to be one guy focused on you trying to get your product back and that's going to be your PA point of contact.
So every company, every division, every ship out there, squadron, is going to have a point of contact for you. There's not going to be enough of those to go with every journalist. It's not going to work.
Q: Francis Kohn from AFP.
[Inaudible] all about the organization in Qatar at the press center. How is that going to work? Are you going to have work space, phone lines, transportation since we understand this is going to be at the base and not in the hotel, is it a 24 hour operation? All those sorts of things.
Whitman: Good question. Jim's in the best position to answer that.
Mr. Wilkinson: Those of you who were at Internal Look saw the fairly extensive press center that would be there if needed. There's a lot of work space there. We actually did two briefings there for some of your news organizations. It will be 24 hours a day. We have a time zone issue; meaning, you are awake here when we are asleep there. That means Washington will want a lot of information so we'll have good crews on around the clock.
We know, just because that will be the node of operational information that will require us to be prepared to speak to all of you and your reporters about that. That will be a place that they all have 24-hour access. (inaudible) will have a large staff there. I would anticipate often a lot of briefings on just basic operational things.
I intend to try to use that as a place where there's a lot of educational type briefings. Educating on types of weapons and things to the extent we can, to educate reporters around the globe.
Ray, do you want to talk about capabilities?
Shephard Just a little bit. We will have adequate workspace for folks; as a matter of fact, quite a bit. Phone service will also be available to you, you'll be able to use, but you will have to pay for that, of course. For some folks stay on there for a long time. But you will have access to phones, Internet access, those kinds of things will be available to you. We'll have to work out the details on that.
It will be open 24 hours. There will always be somebody there able to answer your questions and make arrangements for you.
It is about 300 to 400 yards away from the main gate. The procedure that we're looking at right now, because it's just simple security for the installation, you'll be parking your vehicles outside and we'll shuttle you back and forth. We have adequate vehicles on the to be able to get you in and out fairly quickly, so I don't think that's going to be a problem.
Q: Where are you located exactly?
Mr. Wilkinson: At As Saliyah in Qatar.
Most of your reporters in the field saw that, had a chance to work out at that location.
The other thing I want to make very clear is there will be a credentialing system for those reporters who will be coming there. We'll get that information out to you as soon as possible, but there will be a credential required, obviously for security reasons. We want to have you as close as possible to our working headquarters so you can get as many of our experts there as possible. So it's going to require some credentials.
Whitman: I have one more agenda item that I'd like to hit and it's completely unrelated, if you'd give me, just bear with me for two minutes.
Some of you in this room may not be affect, but as you know, this building is going under a rather lengthy renovation, a major renovation, and your offices, where you have your reporters working out of, the filing center, is going to have to move as a result of that. We are going to move with you. The press office, public affairs office, as well as your reporters, are going to be moving next October, is the timeframe right now. I just want you to know that, and put that out there for you. This is a temporary move with a big T. It will last for about three years as they work on additional places where we then will move back to into in about a three-year period of time.
Colonel Abbott, if you want to just hold up, we don't have to spend any time with this, but I know that many of you are interested in this and we will need to talk about this at a future date. But we're going to move down the corridor between 4 and 5. It's in one of the spaces that they're working on right now. Things that you might want to be thinking about is for print media, it will truly be a filing center, and so you need to think about how you're going to do that. Most of you will have to remove your 30-year-old computer equipment that you have stored down in the press office right now, and that will have to go away. You'll want to look towards, most all the spaces will be day use type spaces, so when you come in there will be the ability to monitor the internal cable system, as well as being able to have a phone line out, a place to hook up to file stories from, a modem capability, and another one if you decide you need another one for some reason that day.
The green, just to give you orientation real quick, the green is the electronic media spaces there. We're going to have to assign, oh, there's a legend up at the top: TV, network television. The purple is the new radio facilities, and the yellow is, of course, for print.
So I just wanted to mention that to you, because as we go through the next several months, we're going to have to be communicating with you, particularly those of you that your requirements are a little bit more difficult because of television and things like that.
Okay? I just wanted to let you be aware of that. I'll take two more questions on this and then we'll have to carry it out.
Q: Ground rules. Could you assure us that the ground rules do not provide for on-site security review or censorship?
Whitman: Ground rules...we do not practice, if you look at the principles of information and the rules for combat coverage, the practice we go by is security at the source, and this will be something that I have all the confidence in the world that your reporters out there in the field and our commanders out in the field will be able to resolve any of these issues.
Q: Is the briefing room going to move?
Whitman: Yes, I'm sorry I should have said that. That's why we have some long-lead items. The briefing room will move also, and we have been working with a lot of your technical folks, if you have technical requirements, the television and the radio folks, we have been talking with you already about some of the issues associated with the move. Again, how much equipment you're going to want to move versus what you're going to want to replace into the new facility.
Q: Bryan, who is the contact on that? Should they e-mail you or who should they contact?
Whitman: I'm not sure anyone needs to contact me on it. I just want to make people aware of it at this point.
The long-lead items tend to be the network television and we're working through some of those issues and have been for the last couple of months probably. I've been dealing with your technical people and I felt I owed it to the bureau chiefs here to at least get a look at what we're planning as we go down the road.
One more on any topic? All the way in the back.
Q: I have a numbers question: depending on the kind of unit and the kind of media organization, how big will each embed be? Two people? One person?
Whitman: Good question. Embeds, for the most part, are assigned a single individual. Television embeds are assigned as duos. That's the way they're at right now.