Stephen D. Abney, the chief public affairs official for the Army’s Joint Munitions Command, recently sent a message to all 6,000 employees he speaks for: Don’t criticize President Barack Obama or any political party to members of the press. The message was received by civilian contractors as well.
“It’s not meant for contractors… It wasn’t intended for contractors,” said Abney of the email, which details how folks should deal with the press because of sequestration (mandatory spending cuts).
But, Abney conceded, he “can’t swear” that contractors—that is, civilians—did not receive the message either. In fact, at least some of the 6,000 contractors that work with JMC received the message.
The message was “intended to remind our employees that they are not spokespersons for the government,” said Abney on the phone today.
Abney says he was just reminding employees that the commander in chief—President Barack Obama—is their boss.
Here's the full text of the email, which was written by Abney:
From: Larson, Angela M CIV (US)
Sent: Friday, March
01, 2013 5:59 PM
To: USARMY RIA JMC List DL All JMC Pers
Subject: Sequestration - Media Tips
To JMC employees,
Because of media interest in sequestration and furlough, you may be approached or contacted by a reporter at some point and asked to comment.
If you don't wish to speak with a reporter, politely decline.
If you agree to be interviewed, remember that you're expressing your personal opinion, not that of anyone else - and certainly not the opinion of JMC or the Army.
Avoid giving an answer that might be perceived as criticism of the Commander in Chief or any political party.
If you're asked to provide an official statement, refer the reporter to
JMC PAO, the official spokesperson for the command. Their number is [REDACTED].
Stephen D. Abney
Chief, Public Affairs
Joint Munitions Command