Today in AFJ History

August 19, 2013  

1982: DoD trims publishing empire

SecDef Caspar Weinberger takes time for a briefing on helicopter operations. He had less patience for the vast number of military periodicals. (Defense Department)

From the archive: August 1982

DOD kills 205 periodicals; still publishes 1,203 others

The Pentagon’s “magazine empire” has just been trimmed about 15%, but is still so vast that “publish or perish” must be a new unwritten axiom of war. The Defense Department presently publishes 1,405 periodicals using congressionally appropriated funds; it has decided to kill 205 of them to save money. (The figures do not include base newspapers.)

A mid-July article in Air Force Times reports that the U.S. Air Force, responding to pressure from the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget, has just decided to eliminate 86 of the 492 periodicals it currently publishes. More can be expected to be eliminated in the months ahead, the Times said, “as a result of administration efforts to reduce Pentagon cost.”

The independent weekly newspaper quoted a recent memorandum from Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger as telling the service secretaries, “I expect you to cut many more periodicals. I am inclined to eliminate most of them.” The Times said that the Air Force has seven magazines devoted to chaplain activities and 134 covering civilian personnel matters.