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Number: DOO 15-3
Effective Date: 1995-02-23


.01 This Order prescribes the functions, responsibilities and organization of the Office of Public Affairs.

.02 This revision transfers references regarding the press functions for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary to the new Office of the Press Secretary (DOO 15-6).


.01 The Office of Public Affairs, a Departmental office, shall be headed by the Director of Public Affairs who reports and is responsible to the Secretary as Assistant to the Secretary. The Director is the principal adviser to the Secretary on all public affairs and strategic communications matters; is responsible for the overall public information and speechwriting program of the Department, including policy oversight of the public affairs press staffs in the operating units; and serves as the primary liaison for the Department with other Government agencies on strategic public affairs and communications matters.

.02 The Director shall be assisted by a Deputy Director, who acts for the Director in his/her absence.


The Office of Public Affairs shall:

a. Plan, coordinate and implement, with the heads of the operating units, a Departmentwide internal and external public information program to support major Department priorities and meet the needs of individual operating units;

b. Review individual operating units' strategic communications plans, prepared annually for preparation of Departmental coordination and execution, with an eye toward Administration-wide themes, messages and timing;

c. Prepare, review, initiate and issue news releases and broadcast material on matters involving Department officials and activities, as appropriate, in coordination with the Office of the Press Secretary and operating units;

d. Provide or supervise the provision of, public affairs services and materials required by officials of the Department, including the handling of news conferences, arranging for radio, television, and other interviews, and arranging personal appearances;

e. Review, coordinate and approve for release all news items and related materials, speeches, publications, audiovisual materials for external use, and advertising programs for public service and accurate and early communications purposes;

f. Maintain liaison with the White House Office(s) of Planning and Communications, the Office of the Press Secretary, and public affairs liaison for the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Council and the National Economic Council, and counterpart offices in other Government agencies, to promote consistency and coordination between the Department's public information activities and those of the Executive Branch as a whole;

g. Work in close coordination with the Office of the Press Secretary and the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning;

h. Provide speeches for the Secretary (and the Deputy Secretary as needed) and coordinate speech preparation and review drafts for the Department, for message consistency, quality and training;

i. Provide liaison with outside public groups and organizations concerned with the Department's activities;

j. Coordinate the planning and direction of major outreach conferences and meetings throughout the Department, to ensure the maximum benefits to Department clients and to improve cost efficiency;

k. Advise and assist offices as appropriate, by providing information, analysis, and news services concerning coverage of Department activities;

l. Provide advice and support to the public information programs in the operating units and in the Office of the Secretary;

m. Review periodically with operating unit heads and their senior public affairs officers the effectiveness of the units' public affairs programs relative to Department and operating unit's priorities. Furnish results of these reviews to the Secretary;

n. Share with operating unit heads the responsibility for preparing periodic performance evaluations on each operating unit's senior public affairs officer;

o. Provide advance consultation and clearance to the heads of operating units concerning the selection of persons to fill all positions at GS-11 or above in public affairs offices in the operating units. Also provide, in addition to the standard counterpart clearances provided by DAO 202-250, informal advance consultation and clearance on all significant personnel actions involving public affairs employees in the operating units at grade GS-9 and above; this encompasses hiring, promotions, and intra-Department transfers; and

p. Review, in accordance with DAO 205-12, Freedom of Information Act requests.


.01 The Office of the Director shall include:

a. The Deputy Director of Public Affairs;

b. The Special Assistant;

c. An Administrative Services Coordinator;

d. A Chief Speechwriter;

e. A Research and Planning Associate Director;

f. An Associate Director for External and Internal Communications;

g. A Senior Video Broadcast Coordinator; and

h. The Director, or a designee, shall provide direction, supervision, and coordination of the Department's photographic staff and Chief Photographer.

.02 The Planning and Coordinating Division shall consist of:

a. Conducting the release and distribution of sensitive economic information in accordance with the Department's lock-up procedures;

b. Preparing press releases, articles, and other materials on Department-level matters;

c. Reviewing and approving for issuance news releases from operating units;

d. Advising and assisting the public information staffs in the operating units in preparation and distribution of releases and public information materials; and

e. Coordinating, with the Office of the Press Secretary news media interviews and timing thereof.

.03 A Video Broadcast Branch which is responsible for:

a. Developing and producing radio/TV news and features including the Department's video clip service;

b. Advising and assisting the Departmental offices and operating units in the use of the Department's radio/TV facilities;

c. Coordination and control of the technical and editorial quality of audiovisual materials produced by the Department, including coordination proposed audiovisual productions;

d. Maintaining an inventory of audiovisual equipment available within the Department, and providing suitable equipment and services for in-house meetings and conferences;

e. Providing audiovisual services for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, and other elements of the Office of the Secretary;

f. Providing photographic services for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, and operating units; and

g. Supporting creative and production photographic requirements for the Department.

.03 The External Communications Division is responsible for communications with the public, and with non-business groups and organizations concerned with the work of the Department. The Division shall:

a. Maintain liaison with outside public groups and organizations;

b. Evaluate the Secretary's senior staff's speech invitations, and work closely with the Executive Secretariat assisting and identifying Department spokespersons to groups and organizations that request them;

c. Develop, implement, and administer the "Advance System" to provide for prior arrangements and necessary liaison for public appearances by Department officials, as requested;

d. Coordinate program briefings for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary before their national and international appearances; develop briefing books in connection with news conferences and for official travel; and provide these services, as appropriate for Department officials;

e. Conduct the program of outreach coordination, including maintaining schedules of planned outreach activities throughout the Department, developing coordination proposals and monitoring the conduct of activities;

f. Coordinate closely with the Office of Business Liaison and the Office of Consumer Affairs, providing advice, counsel and coordination assistance;

g. Handle Presidential/Secretarial messages to organizations and individuals;

h. Assign, edit, and arrange for publication of special articles and op-eds relating to the Department and Department issues;

i. Review all proposed Department publications with respect to policy and editorial content, purpose, and justification;

j. Provide for internal communications through, but not limited to, publication of the Department employee newspaper; and

k. Coordinate and advise the Department on purchases of exhibit materials for joint exhibits.

.04 The Communications Services Division which is responsible for:

a. Planning, developing, and implementing in cooperation with operating units' public affairs offices a communications support program for televideo and film production;

b. Preparing guidelines for development, production, procurement, and distribution of televideo and film making materials and assisting operating units with technical advice;

c. Developing and providing oversight for the Department on television, motion picture, public service advertising, non-news radio broadcasting, and exhibits. Providing advance consultation

and administering clearance procedures for film making and televideo projects. Reviewing and approving at various phases of production all televideo and film making productions;

d. Coordinate and Advise the Department and deciding purchases of exhibit materials for joint exhibits; and

e. Review and approval of requests for major audiovisual equipment for all Department elements, to ensure quality, compatibility, and elimination of duplication.


This Order supersedes Department Organization Order 15-3, dated August 12, 1994.

Signed by: Secretary of Commerce

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