"We are in a new and very challenging communications environment out there and we tend to focus our efforts to ensuring that the combatant commander has all of the capabilities that he needs to accomplish his missions," a "senior defense official" told Reuters. The military's investigation of its own activities, via the Lincoln Group, to pay Iraqi journalists and plant Pentagon-written stories in Iraqi newspapers "is almost complete." But Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, which includes Iraq, "has thus far not ordered any halt to the media payments." The anonymous official said that part of the Pentagon's next Quadrennial Defense Review, which will be submitted to the White House and Congress in February, will be a "strategic communications" plan. "Developing clear guidance for communicating with the public at home and abroad is a key issue" for the Pentagon this year, Reuters reported.