Defense Media Activity

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Defense Media Activity
ParentIndependent (2005-2010)
United States Department of Defense (2010-present)

The Defense Media Activity (DMA) is a United States Department of Defense (DoD) field activity. It provides a broad range of high-quality multimedia products and services to inform, educate, and entertain Department of Defense audiences around the world.[1] The Defense Media Activity is located on Fort Meade, Maryland. DoD field activities are established as DoD components by law, by the President, or by the Secretary of Defense to provide for the performance, on a DoD-wide basis, of a supply or service activity that is common to more than one Military Department when it is determined to be more effective, economical, or efficient to do so.[2] DMA operates as a separate DoD Component under the authority, direction and control of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.


The Defense Media Activity can trace its organizational lineage to the first publication of the Stars and Stripes newspaper produced by Union soldiers during the Civil War in 1861. The DMA is one of a long line of media-related organizations established, consolidated or subsumed within the military and defense departments. DMA was established as a result of the BRAC 2005 decisions.

Base Realignment and Closure 2005[edit]

In 2005, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure 2005 analysis, the Defense Department recommended consolidating the media-related organizations of the Military Departments into a single organization and co-locating it with the American Forces Information Service (an existing DoD field activity).[3] The Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission accepted the DoD recommendation and included the recommendation in its report to the President on September 8, 2005.[4] On September 8, 2005, the President approved the BRAC Commission recommendations and forwarded them to the United States Congress. On September 20, 2005, the U.S. Congress failed to disapprove of the BRAC Commission's recommendations. Under the provisions of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–510), the recommendations were effectively "approved".

The approved BRAC actions were to:

  • Realign Fort Belvoir, Virginia, by relocating Soldiers Magazine to Fort Meade, Maryland.
  • Realign Anacostia Annex, District of Columbia, by relocating the Naval Media Center to Fort Meade, Maryland.
  • Realign 2320 Mill Road, a leased installation in Alexandria, Virginia, by relocating Army Broadcasting-Soldier Radio/TV to Fort Meade, Maryland.
  • Realign 103 Norton Street, a leased installation in San Antonio, Texas by relocating the Air Force News Agency and the Joint Hometown News Service to Fort Meade, Maryland.
  • Close 601 North Fairfax Street, a leased installation in Alexandria, Virginia, by relocating the American Forces Information Service and the Army Broadcasting-Soldier Radio/TV to Fort Meade, Maryland.
  • Consolidate Soldier Magazine, Naval Media Center, Army Broadcasting-Soldier Radio/TV, and the Air Force News Agency-Army/Air Force Hometown News Service into a single DoD Media Activity at Fort Meade, Maryland.


In September 2007, the deputy defense secretary recognized that the BRAC 2005 decision would result in two field activities co-located at Fort Meade – the American Forces Information Service and DMA – and directed several actions.[5]

  • Consolidate the American Forces Information Service with DMA.
  • Include the internal media elements of the U.S. Marine Corps that were not addressed in the BRAC 2005 decision.
  • Establish DMA on January 1, 2008.
  • Transfer the funds and people from the legacy organizations to DMA on October 1, 2009.

DMA's chartering directive, DoD Directive 5105.74, Defense Media Activity, was published on December 18, 2007.[6]

DMA was formally established on January 1, 2008, and the people and funding from the predecessor organizations were transferred to DMA on October 1, 2008. The elements required to move to Fort Meade by the BRAC 2005 decision remained in their facilities as their facility at Fort Meade was designed and constructed. The building design was completed in September 2008.

On March 13, 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, awarded a $56,195,000 contract to Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Chantilly, Virginia, to construct DMA's headquarters and media production center in Fort Meade, Maryland.[7] It is a 185,870 square-foot facility built to house approximately 660 personnel. The building was completed in May 2011, and organizations began moving into the facility in June 2011. The move was completed in August 2011. DMA elements located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Tobyhanna Army Depot, Riverside, California, and all overseas locations remained in place.

Organization and functions[edit]

Organization and Functions[8] DMA is composed of a headquarters and five Lines of Business (LoB).

The Defense Information School provides joint-service training to Defense military and civilian personnel in the career fields of Public Affairs and Visual Information. The school is located at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Media Production produces media and visual information products to the internal DoD family (active, guard, and reserve military service members, dependents, retirees, DoD civilians, and contract employees) and external audiences through all available media, including motion and still imagery; print; radio; television; web and related emerging internet, mobile, and other communication technologies. The American Forces Network (AFN), provides U.S. radio and television news, information, and entertainment programming to active, guard, and reserve military service members, DoD civilians and contract employees, and their families overseas, on board Navy and Coast Guard ships, and to other authorized users. It includes radio and television stations in military communities in Europe, the Pacific and the Middle East; and includes its central broadcasting hub, the AFN Broadcast Center at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Also includes communication of messages and themes from senior DoD leaders in order to support and improve quality of life and morale, promote situational awareness, provide timely and immediate force protection information, and sustain readiness. Other services of Media Production include Defense Visual Information Distribution Service[9] and providing internal news and information products for,,,, and

The Stars and Stripes produces and delivers a newspaper distributed overseas (and online products) for the U.S. military community. Editorially independent of interference from outside its own editorial chain of command, it provides commercially available U.S. and world news and objective staff-produced stories relevant to the military community.

Mission Support provides activity-wide administrative, facility management, transportation and logistics services.

Web Enterprise Business ( provides technology services to DMA, hosts hundreds of DoD websites through the DoD Public Web program,[10] Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), and the Television-Audio Support Activity (T-ASA).[11]


DMA is led by a director appointed by the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) and may be a military flag or general officer, or a civilian appointed as a career member of the Senior Executive Service. The following is a list of DMA's directors.

  • January 28, 2021 to present, H.E. Pittman[12]
  • November 1, 2018, to January 28, 2021, (acting director) COL Paul R. Haverstick, Jr.
  • February 1, 2018, to November 1, 2018, (acting director) COL Bernard Koelsch
  • February 11, 2013, to February 1, 2018, Ray B. Shepherd[12]
  • May 1, 2012 – February 10, 2013, (acting director) Bryan G. Whitman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs[13]
  • October 14, 2009 – April 30, 2012, (acting director), Melvin W. Russell, Director, American Forces Radio and Television Service, DMA[14]
  • March 29, 2009 – October 13, 2009, David S. Jackson[15]
  • March 10, 2008 – March 28, 2009, (acting director) Robert T. Hastings, Jr., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
  • January 1, 2008 – March 9, 2008, (acting director) Bryan G. Whitman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Media Operations


  1. ^ "Defense Media Activity - Home". Retrieved Oct 11, 2022.
  2. ^ "Department of Defense Directive 5100.01, Functions of the Department of Defense and Its Major Components", dated December 21, 2010.
  3. ^ "Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Report", Volume I, Part 2 of 2: Detailed Recommendations, May 2005, page H&SA - 30.
  4. ^ "2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission Report", page 212. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  5. ^ Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum, “Establishment of the Defense Media Activity”, dated September 24, 2007. Archived 2013-02-15 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ DoD Directive 5105.74, "Defense Media Activity", dated December 18, 2007
  7. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, "News Release" Archived 2013-02-15 at the Wayback Machine, dated March 13, 2009.
  8. ^ "Defense Media Activity Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2014-2017" Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine, August 2013.
  9. ^ "DVIDS - Defense Visual Information Distribution Service". Retrieved Oct 11, 2022.
  10. ^ "About DMA" and "DoD Public Web", [1] retrieved 2013-10-5.
  11. ^ "Television-Audio Support Activity", retrieved 2013-10-5.
  12. ^ a b "Defense Media Activity > About DMA > Leadership". Retrieved Oct 11, 2022.
  13. ^ "Biographies". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved Oct 11, 2022.
  14. ^ "DMA News and Events" Archived 2013-02-15 at the Wayback Machine, archive page retrieved 2013-10-5.
  15. ^ U.S. Defense Department, "Biographies of Senior Defense Officials", retrieved 2013-10-5.</

External links[edit]

Media related to Defense Media Activity at Wikimedia Commons