|CAPTAIN BILL HARLOW had a distinguished and unusual 25 year career in the U.S. Navy. The son of two World War II Navy veterans, Bill attended Villanova University on a Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship. Upon his graduation, his oath of office was administered by his sister Peggy, also a naval officer. Early in his career, Bill served as officer of the deck aboard the USS MIDWAY (CV-41), the first aircraft carrier homeported in Japan. Following this assignment he was selected to become one of the small cadre of public affairs specialists in the Navy.|
In the early 1980s Bill was assigned as the Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, London where he managed an aggressive community relations and media relations program for the U.S. Navy throughout Europe. During that period major stories he handled included such high visibility stories as the shoot down of Libyan MIGs and evacuation of the U.S. citizens from Lebanon.
Returning stateside, Bill headed the Department of the Navy's News Desk where he and his staff responded to national and international media questions concerning the United States Navy. He was deeply involved with explaining the complexities of sensitive issues such as the Walker spy scandal, the hijacking of TWA flight 847, and the buildup of the 600-ship Navy. During this time period Bill also completed a master degree in public relations from The American University, Washington, D.C. Bill became the Principal Military Assistant to the Spokesman for the Department of Defense. In that job Bill made press arrangements and accompanied Secretaries of Defense Weinberger and Carlucci on overseas travel and developed public affairs guidance on extremely sensitive national security issues.
In 1988 Bill was chosen to become Assistant Press Secretary for National Security and Foreign Affairs at The White House during the Reagan administration. He was asked to continue in that role during the Bush administration where he provided on-site public relations assistance at U.S.-Soviet summits in Moscow, Malta and Washington. Under presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater, Bill handled complex issues ranging from the Gulf War and the breakup of the Soviet empire for the White House.
Returning to the Navy in 1992, Bill became Special Assistant for Public Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. As the primary advocate for the Secretary with the news media, special interest groups and the public he advised on and coordinated the public communications, speeches, crisis public relations and news media activity during times of great turmoil in the Navy. In his final tour of duty, Bill was the Deputy Director of the American Forces Information Service where he managed the worldwide internal information efforts of the Department of Defense. To carry out this mission, his command, AFIS, operated the Stars and Stripes newspapers, Armed Forces Radio and Television Service and a myriad of programs using the most modern communications media available.
During Bill's government career he was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, two Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legions of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Presidential Service Badge and numerous other awards.
After turning in his uniform in August 1997, Bill was named the Director of Public Affairs for the Central Intelligence Agency. He was the top CIA spokesman for seven tumultuous years, the second longest tenure in that position of anyone in the Agency's history. Bill has recently left the Agency to devote more time to consulting on public relations and writing. He lives in northern Virginia.