Spotlight on Combat Camera of the Department of National Defence

InterGovWorld’s Spotlight series profiles executives, decision-makers and their initiatives across all levels of Canadian government.

Part 1 of Spotlight on Lieutenant Commander Kent Penney, Section Head of Combat Camera at the Department of National Defence (DND)

Lieutenant Commander Kent Penney is head of the Combat Camera team, which shows the public through photography and video the work that the Canadian Forces is doing around the world. It is work that is of special significance now with the current campaign in Afghanistan.

But the work they do can be dangerous and that was brought home recently with the death of 30-year-old NATO soldier Master Cpl. Darrell Priede, who had worked for various in-house publications including Army News and Combat Camera. Priede, who was based at CFB Gagetown, N.B., died when the helicopter he was flying was shot down May 30 in the Helmand province in Afghanistan.

In Part 1 of InterGovWorld’s Spotlight on Penney, he sits down with senior writer Lisa Williams to discuss how he got his start in the Armed Forces, and how Combat Camera is an important tool not just for the media and public, but for members of the military as well.

Q) Can you give me an overview of Combat Camera?

A) Combat Camera is a team of 16 people consisting of military public affairs officers, military photographers and civilian support technicians. Essentially we are an electronic news gathering team for the Canadian Forces, and we deploy small teams around the world to document the Canadian Forces operations in video and in pictures.

Photo courtesy of the Department of National Defence.

We then distribute that footage to the media and, in the last couple of years, to the public directly. Our material is also used by the public affairs community to support public affairs initiatives. I’m head of Combat Camera so I run the team, and we are part of the Assistant Deputy Minister’s office for the Public Affairs branch within the Department of National Defence.

Q) With respect to your career, how did you get involved with the Armed Forces?

A) I started very young. My grandparents served during World War II in the airforce, and both my father and my uncle served in the airforce. At a very young age I knew that I wanted to serve in the Canadian Forces.

Q) What influence did your family have on you?

A) I definitely saw the benefits of being in the Forces, how rewarding a career it could be, and how exciting and different. My father was posted all over the country, and we saw many parts of Canada. The people he served with were some of the most interesting, and some of the best people I’d ever met.

When I joined the Forces I spent the first six years of my career on board ship, and I travelled all over the world representing Canada as a naval officer with some of the most outstanding Canadians I’ve ever known serving beside me.

Continued: Dedicated to media quality imagery

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