Plans and Programs
The Air Force Public Affairs Plans and Programs office (AOX) is a division within the Air Force Public Affairs Agency, located at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. The division consists of two branches, programs and readiness, and also oversees a contract team providing finance, logistics, information technology and Visual Information (VI) expertise. The division has several unique responsibilities that affect not only the career field but the Air Force in accomplishing the mission. Acting in accordance with policies developed by Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs (SAF/PA), AOX performs execution of all VI related requirements for the Department of the Air Force (DAF) to include the United States Air Force (USAF) and the United States Space Force (USSF).
The AOX Programs Branch (AOXP), on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force, ensures compliance with Federal Law (36 CFR 1120 and 36 CFR 1237) and DoD mandates (Department of Defense Instructions (DoDIs) 5040.02 Visual Information, 5040.07 Visual Information Productions & Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 3205.01D Joint Combat Camera) regarding VI for the USAF and USSF. Department of the Air Force VI supports the President of the United States, the National Military Command Center, the National Security Council, Secretary of State, partner nations, Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff, Chief of Space Operations, Air Staff, Space Staff, Major Commands and Field Commands with commander operational decision making, information operations, sensitive site exploitation, battle damage assessment, legal and evidentiary collection, education and training, public affairs and the historical record of the DAF. DoD mandates three programs that ensure the most economical and efficient use of taxpayer revenue in creation and collection of VI.
Defense VI Activity Number (DVIAN) Program
Any DoD unit wishing to perform the VI mission or create VI records is required to have a DVIAN, a five-digit alpha numeric activity number. AOX analyzes all USAF and USSF DVIAN requests and issues authority to operate of Visual Information Activities by assigning a DVIAN when need is established and there is not an existing means of meeting the requirement. AOX monitors and revalidates DVIANs across the USAF and the USSF. There are currently 266 authorizations. AOX performs a quarterly review of assigned DVIANs and coordinates with units whose DVIAN has expired or will expire the following quarter.
AF Video Production Program
Because video productions are often very expensive, the DoD established close management control of the video production process. AOX oversees this program for the USAF and USSF. Through the guidance of the DoDIs, the video production program begins with Air and Space Force units requesting a Product Identification Number (PIN) which AOX analyzes and validates as a required video production. After determining need, AOX determines the most cost effective means of meeting customer requirements and directs the appropriate video production center to complete work to satisfy the customer requirement. If unable to be met with government resources, AOX will approve the work to be sourced out for contract. Once productions are completed they are reported back to AOX in the form of a production folder that contains all documentation required in order to protect the legal interests of the DAF. All production folders are extensively reviewed for required documents before archival. Following the receipt of completed folders, AOX conducts customer satisfaction surveys. Through these surveys, we are able to analyze trends and enact change to the process as needed.
Each quarter, AOX facilitates a Video Production Forum for DAF production centers. This forum discusses common challenges and synergizes efforts for more efficient processes.
DAF Component Coordinating Point (CCP) for VI Records
AOX monitors and ensures compliance of USAF and USSF units with federal law to create and manage Visual Information records to document and archive DoD Component organizations, functions, policies, procedures, decisions, operations, and activities fundamental to the historical and evidentiary record of the DoD. The DAF does this through the Defense Visual Information Distribution System (DVIDS). AOX performs as the SAF/PA liaison to DVIDS and advises the field on best practices for timely and efficient accessioning of VI products. We maintain standards for DAF unit naming conventions and aid units requesting new DVIDS accounts. During live event broadcasts, we are liaisons between units requiring support and DVIDS. As trusted agents, we collaborate with DVIDS staff members on system improvements.
Each month, AOX provides an accessioning report to SAF/MAJCOM leadership which includes an in-depth look at how units are accessioning products such as still imagery, news articles and other written works, video productions, B-Roll and Public Service Announcements.
Syracuse University Program
The Military Visual Journalism (MVJ) program, hosted by the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, New York, provides active-duty military personnel with an advanced photojournalism and motion media education. Graduating Airmen complete 30-credit hours and receive the Special Experience Identifier 332 for photojournalism or 333 for broadcast journalism.
This is a SAF/PA Career Field Manager program for which AOX manages the selection process. As Airmen across the career field submit packages, we collect, review and recommend clerical edits for all submissions. AOX solicits PA senior leaders, academia and industry experts to serve as judges and live broadcasts the judging events.
The Programs Branch has multiple roles and responsibilities.
In its role as the Air Force Visual Information Program Management office, the programs branch (AOXX) is the Air Force lead for policy execution of AFI 35-109, Visual Information, leading the service’s compliance with Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 5040.02, Visual Information Management, and multiple federal laws. On behalf of the Department of Defense (DOD), the branch is the Air Force approval authority for managing the Defense Visual Information Activity Number approval process. Additionally, AOXX is responsible for compiling and monitoring global visual information production data for resource management analysis. AOXX represents Air Force visual information execution at the Defense Visual Information Steering Committee policy body.
In managing the Air Force Video Production Program, AOXX is the Air Force lead for service compliance with DODI 5040.07, Visual Information Productions. In this capacity, it gives centralized approval and assigns Production Identification Numbers for all Air Force video productions to authorized production facilities. Additionally, it serves as an Air Force representative to the Defense Production Management Group policy body for DODI 5040.07.
As the Air Force lead for Public Affairs and Visual Information Equipment Lifecycle Management, AOXX researches developing technologies, analyzes mission requirements, develops technical solutions, and creates plans to lead the Air Force’s effective and efficient technology integration. The division oversees the Air Force’s Visual Information Equipment Plan process whereby global units submit requests for resources to achieve mission equipment lifecycle management. AOXX is the Air Force office of primary responsibility for Allowance Standard 629, overseeing the policy process of approvals for procurement of visual information- and audiovisual-related equipment for all Air Force units worldwide. It serves as the lead Air Force representative to the DOD Visual Information Standards and Technology Working Group, which establishes common technology processes, practices, and policy for military services.
The division serves as the Air Force execution lead for COMCAM policy on behalf of the DOD. In this function, it is the subject matter expert for COMCAM mission analysis and equipment technology integration, and the lead for COMCAM Mobile Satellite Services Management providing imagery transmission capability from austere global locations and environments. It provides subject matter expertise input to the Joint Combat Camera Planning Group, DOD’s policy body for COMCAM.
Lastly, AOXX manages contractor-provided support and policy compliance for critical information technology systems fielded by the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs to support the Secretary of the Air Force, the Air Force Chief of Staff, and other senior leaders.
The Plans Branch (AOXP) drafts and reviews guidance impacting the Air Force Public Affairs career field and COMCAM operations.
Additionally, AOXP performs outreach to develop and maintain relationships with Combatant Commands’, Numbered Air Forces’ and Major Commands’ planners to ensure COMCAM is innate to the planning process. COMCAM is crucial in order to visually document wartime operations, worldwide crises, contingencies, and exercises. Their imagery is critical to operational analysis of combat operations, information operations and historical documentation of Air Force and DOD history.
For more information, please visit the Air Force Portal page here.
Equipment and Software
The AOX Programs Branch (AOXP) plans, budgets and executes SAF/PA’s VI and COMCAM program element code accounts and acts as the career field focal point for management of Allowance Standard 629 (Visual Information Support).
In order to provide the best VI equipment and resources to PA personnel worldwide, AOXP serves as the career field subject matter expert for equipment research and integration. To ensure unbiased equipment recommendations, we chair two equipment review panels (ERPs), one focused on equipment for USAF and USSF installation-level PA offices and the other on equipment for active duty and reserve combat camera units. These ERPs allow for dedicated research, evaluation and testing of emerging industry equipment to develop the best available standardized PA equipment kits to Air Force and Space Force requirements.
The AOXP team hosts, maintains, applies cybersecurity standards and ensures availability of the Automated Information Multimedia Manager (AIM2) information system which provides global management and oversight of VI equipment inventory, VI lifecycle replacement schedules and VI workload production reporting. In partnership with SAF/PA and ANG, we are advising the development of the Public Affairs Management System (PAMS), which is intended to replace AIM2 in the future.
AOXP also manages Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) testing and certification of VI equipment required to be used in high risk environments. Test results are coordinated with program managers at Air Force Material Command and Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) in order for VI equipment to be used in-flight on Air Force rotary and fixed wing aircraft and in certain AFGSC restricted areas.
In addition to authorizing hardware equipment, AOX performs as the AF CIO/A6 approval office for all Air Force and Space Force Adobe Creative Cloud software requests. We maintain an inventory of 2,200 Creative Cloud licenses valued at one million dollars annually for PA units worldwide. We also manage the Assessment and Authorization (A&A) of Public Affairs-specific software and updates, which is the information protection approval to operate on the Air Force Global Information Grid.
Our Readiness Branch (AOXR) coordinates plans and operations for the DAF’s only active duty Combat Camera (COMCAM) unit, the 1st Combat Camera Squadron (CTCS), located at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
Acting as a liaison between Combatant Commands (COCOM), SAF/PA and COMCAM, AOX coordinates global deployment of COMCAM forces in support of joint operations across the range of military functions.
We also acquire and manage mobile communications systems (satellite and cellular) used for fast and reliable voice and data transmission from austere locations. This capability allows COMCAM to deliver critical imagery from remote locations to decision makers around the globe.
Requests for aerial VI support are validated and fulfilled through coordination with the 1st CTCS, 4th CTCS, 2d or 3d Audio Visual Squadrons (AVS).
AOXR uses the Defense Readiness Reporting System (DRRS) and AEF UTC Reporting Tool (ART) to manage visibility and readiness of the 1st CTCS’s capabilities. We do this by ensuring currency, accuracy and validity of the Mission Essential Task List (METL), Designed Operational Capability (DOC) statement, UTC availability library (UTA), and Unit Manning document.
We leverage VI’s inherent informational capabilities by working directly with contingency and exercise PA and Information Operations (IO) planners in support of Air Force, Space Force, joint, coalition and other named operations and exercises. AOX reviews and validates COMCAM and production center requirements ensuring alignment with DoD, Air Force, Space Force and supported commander’s information objectives.
Additionally, AOXR analyzes After Action Reports (AAR) and provides planners and senior leaders with trend analysis and recommended improvement areas.