PACE has its roots in a 1995 study initiated by Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. The study was conducted by a panel of military Public Affairs officers and Pentagon correspondents from the national media. The panel recommended strengthening Public Affairs training and media awareness at all levels of enlisted and officer PME, as well as including it in pre-commissioning and commissioning programs.
In April 1996, the Air Force Chief of Staff and the secretary of the Air Force wrote a letter giving their support to the development of a PACE-like mission at Air University and tasked the AETC commander to have curriculum planners at Air University review the recommendations from a panel of military Public Affairs officers and Pentagon correspondents from the national media to ensure core courses are in place that teach people the right lessons at the right time in their careers.
Air University initiated curriculum development and imbedded Public Affairs and media awareness into the various curricula. The success of this effort varied with each college and school within the University. Due to the importance of this tasking, Air University initiated a proposal to consolidate Public Affairs functions and use the manpower savings that resulted to greatly strengthen the Public Affairs presence in the teaching, research, and doctrinal development mission of Air University. This initiative builds upon what has already been established at Air University. This initiative also supports the Public Affairs Center of Excellence proposal made by SAF/PA. The center and its mission was suggested by SAF/PA in a letter to the Air University commander dated 18 April 1997.
In January 1998, the Air University commander directed a reorganization of all Public Affairs offices that created efficiencies and allowed the Public Affairs Center of Excellence to be created. In July 1998, the initial cadre of two people were assigned to PACE. Formal training began to teach them how to lead seminars, instruct, and develop curricula. Initial Operating Capability date is 1 October 1998. Fully Mission Capable date is July 1999.
Military operations in the post-9/11 era have further emphasized the importance of educating all military personnel to be aware of the implications of the modern information domain, and to be able to proactively communicate in support of national objectives. Through education and training, the Air Force Public Affairs Center of Excellence enhances the ability of warfighters to be effective mass communicators in support of worldwide operations and the public communication strategies of the United States Government. In this age of instantaneous information flow, every Department of Defense action, public remark, written statement or image directly affects both U.S. and global perceptions of our nation, its activities and intentions.
PACE develops joint leaders - officer and enlisted - who understand the nature of the global information environment, the challenges and opportunities of various public communication channels, and how to craft and deliver effective messages in the information domain.
Currently, the USAF Public Affairs Center of Excellence is the only organization charged with providing media education and on-camera training during the continuum of an officer/enlisted/civilians entire career. Furthermore, it is the only educational institution with this mission in the whole of the Department of Defense.