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Appendix E



Public Affairs Guidance (PAG) is the operational tool that guides commanders and their public affairs officers in the application of doctrine and policy during major military operations, exercises, and contingencies. The information below is tended to assist local commanders in preparing and obtaining approved guidance.

DoD policy requires that PPAG be provided to the Assistant Secretary of Defense-Public Affairs (ASD-PA) by the Unified and Specified commands and others, as required for all major operations.

This requirement includes major training exercises that could attract national and/or international attention. PPAG may not be used without ASD-PA approval.

Upon receipt of the warning order, the commander, through his PAO, should request PAG from high headquarters. PAG may be included in alert notification or operational orders (see Part Three: Operational Planning). Commanders of major units/commands will direct their PAOs to prepare PPAG to forward the proposal through MACOM and Unified/Specified command PA channels to ASD-PA.

Commanders of Unified/Specified commands should ensure that the PPAG has been coordinated with appropriate organizations within the theater of operations whenever possible (e.g., embassies, country teams, host governments, subordinate commands).

Upon receipt of the PPAG, the ASD-PA coordinates and staffs the PPAG within the DoD and Department of State.

The ASD-PA then issues a message either approving, modifying, or disapproving the PPAG. PPAG is broken down into subject, references and then eight paragraphs (Information/explanation, Purpose and coordination for PPAG, PA Approach, Public Statement, Q&As, Contingency Statement, Miscellaneous Information, Point of Contact). The format for PPAG follows:


The subject line of the PPAG should state "PROPOSED PUBLIC AFFAIRS GUIDANCE - followed by the exercise and/or event name (U)." For coordination, it is best if the subject is unclassified.

If an exercise or event is so sensitive that the actual name cannot be used, an unclassified short title should be used; e.g., "PROPOSED PUBLIC AFFAIRS GUIDANCE - CC-(U)."


Pertinent messages or other documents shall be cited in the reference section. If the PPAG is based on PA policy in the Significant Military Exercise Brief, then the SMEB message Date-Time-Group (DTG) shall be listed.


The first paragraph of the PPAG shall explain the references, the exercise, and any significant existing or anticipated problems associated with the exercise. The information in this paragraph is not for release so may remain classified after the PAG is approved for release. This paragraph may restate some PA information from the SMEB.


The second paragraph shall explain the purpose of the message; identify it as being fully coordinated and theater-approved; request ASD-PA approval and specify the date it is required for use. If the PAG is transmitted to the ASD-PA before it is fully coordinated, it is the responsibility of the submitting command to ensure that the ASD-PA is promptly informed of the results of the remaining coordination. The submitting command should always follow-up a PPAG message with a phone call to ensure that the primary addressee(s) is aware that the message is en route. When the submitting command is a supporting CINC from outside the supported CINC's AOR, the supported CINC is responsible for theater coordination.


The third paragraph shall discuss the public affairs approach for the exercise; i.e., active or passive. This may be a restatement of the PA policy indicated in the SMEB.

  • Active Approach

    • For this discussion, an "active approach" involves efforts made to stimulate public or press interest such as distributing press releases and inviting the press to observe the exercise. If an exercise or event is to be publicly announced, this paragraph shall state who will make the announcement, the method of announcement, and preferred time, and date for the announcement. If unusual circumstances prevail, the rationale for the recommendation should also be included. Part I and II exercises shall normally be announced by the ASD(PA) by issuing a news release (blue top). Other lesser exercises or training deployments, if announced by the ASD(PA), normally shall be made by release of a memorandum for correspondents (MFC). The preferred release time and/or date of exercise announcements is 1200 Eastern Standard Time (E.S.T.) on either Tuesdays or Thursdays in conjunction with the normally scheduled DoD press briefing. If a combined announcement is desired with a host country, complete details of the methods, time, and procedure shall be included in this paragraph. The active approach is recommended whenever possible to ensure appropriate media coverage of specific commands and/or units.

  • Passive Approach

    • A "passive approach" is where no action is taken to generate media and/or public interest in an issue or activity beyond answering specific inquiries. If a passive approach is desired, the PPAG shall so indicate and specify that the PAG is for response to query (RTQ) only. It shall also specify who is authorized to respond; e.g., "Only OASD(PA) may RTQ," or "All of the following addressees may use this PAG for RTQ only." To de-emphasize an event, it is best to authorize release or RTQ at the lowest possible level.


The fourth paragraph shall contain a statement that explains the exercise and/or event. The statement shall be for public release in an active PA approach or for RTQ in a passive PA approach. For ease of coordination, each paragraph of the statement shall be identified as a sub-paragraph of the message; for example: The following statement is for initial public release: (TEXT FOLLOWS): QUOTE.






As indicated above, the last paragraph of the statement shall identify points of contact where additional information may be obtained.


The fifth paragraph shall contain a list of proposed Q&As to enable the user to respond to the majority of anticipated questions. They should all be contained in one paragraph and should be numbered sequentially; e.g., Q1, A1; Q2, A2; Q3, A3, etc. Q&As are for use in both active and passive PA approaches, but are strictly for RTQ only and shall not be given to media as handouts.


The sixth paragraph of the PPAG shall contain a contingency statement to be used efore release of the final PAG. Usually, the contingency statement should be that we don't discuss exercises before they have been formally announced. However, this approach can be modified, as appropriate, depending on the circumstances of the exercise. If a contingency statement is not required, so state in Paragraph 6 of the PAG.


The seventh paragraph shall contain other pertinent information to include the following items (when a certain sub-paragraph is not applicable, so state):Media Information Centers (e.g., Joint Information Bureaus (JIBs), Press Information Centers (PICs), exercise PA elements, etc.) Discuss whether centers are joint or combined; delineate who is responsible for the establishment; give generic description of its composition (e.g., U.S. Army desk (O-4 and E-6/E-7), U.S. Navy/Marine desk (USN O-4/O-5, and USMC E-5/ E-6), etc.); establish the center's functions (coordination of all exercise media and/or PA activities, clearance of U.S. military-generated news material before release, production of news material for release, escort of accredited news media representatives); etc.

  • Command Relationships

    • Designation of sole approving authority for all exercise-related news materials; procedures for the release and/or clearance of information (to include list of addressees for notification in case of accident and/or incident); request for participating commands and/or units to ensure that the media center is action and/or information addressee on all messages with potential PA impact (to include incident and/or accident reports); hometown news release requirements and/or instructions (passive PA approach may make hometown releases inappropriate); etc.

  • Media Coverage

    • State whether media coverage is encouraged or solicited, giving rationale; news media transportation instructions; point of contact (POC) and procedures for handling such requests; requirements for news media representatives (valid passport, working media visa, local accreditation requirements, funds for food, lodging, return travel (if military air is not available), etc.); instructions regarding assistance to continental United States (CONUS)-based units for handling request from news media for accompanying travel before and following public announcement of the exercise; etc.

  • DoD National Media Pool

    • Each exercise is a potential opportunity for activation and deployment of the DoD National Media Pool to cover exercise activities. As a minimum, planning should include arrangements for local ground and/or air transportation, special clothing or equipment to be provided, messing, billeting, protection of media equipment and gear, local escort requirements, and communications support for filing of pool products. Sponsoring commands shall indicate whether the exercise should be considered for a pool deployment. Identify the primary POC should the pool be activated.

  • Internal Media and Audiovisual Coverage

    • Provide instructions on assistance that will be provided to this effort; degree of freedom of movement (to include whether escorts are necessary); screening of visual information (VI) materials upon completion of exercise; sponsoring command POC for handling internal information matters; etc. Also include guidelines for Armed Forces audiovisual teams documenting the exercise.

  • Media Opportunities

    • If known well enough in advance, provide chronology of potential exercise events that would be of interest to media.

  • Miscellaneous PA Considerations

    • Indicate any other proposed PA activities or considerations; if there are none, then so state.


The eighth paragraph shall state the originating POC's name and phone number.


Declassification instructions shall be the last part of the message and in accordance with subsection 4-207 of DoD 5200.1-R (reference (d)).

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