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Name: Barber, Allison
Current Position: Previous Deputy Assistant Secretary
Allison Barber received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Tennessee Temple University and a master’s degree in the same discipline from Indiana University.
In 1986, she began work as a teacher at Merrillville Public School in Indiana, where she remained until 1991. She began a six-year stint as public relations director for the American Red Cross in 1992. She moved on to become president of PlowShare, an advertising firm based in Connecticut. Barber then founded Sodenta, a public relations firm in Washington, D.C.
In June 2001, Barber became special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for internal communications. On Nov. 23, 2003, Lawrence Di Rita, acting assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, appointed her to her current post.
Barber has been criticized for becoming too involved in the day-to-day functioning of the AFIS, as well as for blurring the distinction between news and public relations in the Department of Defense. She is responsible for launching the soldier-based “America Supports You” PR effort and the Bloggers’ Roundtable, after being given directions to take advantage of so-called “new media” techniques by her former boss, Victoria Clarke.
The National Association of Government Communicators recognized Barber as a “Communicator of the Year” for 2007.
According to Stars and Stripes, there hasn’t been a permanent AFIS director for about five years. Responsibility for the AFIS has at times been an ad hoc affair since the last director departed.
Barber tendered her resignation in October 2008.
Allison Barber (Center for Media and Democracy)
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