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Message Shapers

46 - Message Shapers

At a time of defense upheaval, you need guys who can shape messages. Rear Adm. John Kirby (pictured) followed now-retired Adm. Mike Mullen (No. 60) from the CNO’s office to chairman of the Joint Chiefs office, and got a solid schooling in high-level joint and world politics. Now the Navy’s chief spokesman, he brings a special competence and depth of understanding to a role where plain-speaking and sensitivity are valuable assets. His insistence on using those attributes also forces senior officers and officials to better define what it is they’re doing, to have a better understanding of the way ahead, and better communicate in ways that leave little chance for head-scratching. Kirby is now up for a second star and expected to head back to OSD to help shape the Pentagon’s message. There, he’ll work with Carl Woog, DoD’s assistant press secretary, who’s the man working behind the scenes to shape the Pentagon’s public message. Straight-talking and tough, he’s one of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s (No. 3 ) trusted gatekeepers, having worked with the former Nebraska senator since he was nominated. Part of the secretary’s inner circle, Woog will be a key player now that George Little has stepped down from DoD’s top press job. Little, who came with Leon Panetta from the CIA, formed a dynamic duo with Kirby, then a captain, conducting regular on-camera briefings and becoming the public faces of DoD. Little, recently named a vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton, expanded the DoD press corps’ access to senior officials and helped develop the department’s strategic messaging against automatic spending cuts.

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