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Chapter 2

Public Affairs Functions and Responsibilities



2-1. The global information environment and continually evolving information communication technologies make it imperative that information and messages be consistent at all levels. The personal comments made by a deployed soldier in a remote area of operations and the official statements released by DoD at the Pentagon must be mutually supporting. The information targeted to internal audiences must parallel the information released through the news media to the American public and other external audiences. The Army's need for security, and the soldier's and family member's right to privacy must be balanced with the Army's obligation to provide timely, accurate, complete information to internal and external audiences. The commander's information strategy must ensure that the information available in the public domain, regardless of the source, does not conflict, contradict or otherwise undermine the credibility of the command or the operation.

Historical Perspective
Civilian news coverage contributed greatly to maintaining soldier morale during Desert Storm. The coverage was generally positive; the American people were behind the operation and soldiers felt this impact. Problems arose when the coverage created rumors, and command information was not consistent with what the soldiers were seeing or hearing in the world media. Family members and non-deployed soldiers were greatly affected by news coverage, often creating problems for rear commanders and detracting from their credibility.
(After Action Report, Desert Storm 1990, Center for Army Lessons Learned)

2-2. Accomplishing this presents unique command and control challenges for commanders, PA practitioners at all levels and others involved in using information to help accomplish the mission in the most effective, efficient manner. It requires careful coordination between staff elements and necessitates continual liaison between levels of command from the tactical through the operational to the strategic.

2-3. Further complicating PA command and control challenges are PA force structure realities. The small size of the PA staff sections organic to war-fighting headquarters necessitates augmentation, especially for operations with a high level of visibility. The availability of augmenting PA units, the majority of which are located in the reserve components, and the difficulties inherent in deploying PA civilians result in heavy dependence on augmentation by individuals. This leads to the creation of ad hoc, unequipped PA elements, which have not trained together or developed relationships with other staff sections or commands, and do not have established internal or external operating procedures.

2-4. For PA personnel therefore, the critical challenge is to rapidly define command and control channels, establish lines of communication and develop operating procedures. The responsibility for doing this usually lies with the Corps PAO who normally leads the commander's PA effort. He identifies requirements, assesses resources and plans, organizes, directs, coordinates and controls the PA operation.


2-5. Effective PA command and control establishes a public affairs organization based on analysis of mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time available and civilians (METT-TC), tailored to the situation, which reflects the commander's concept of the operation. It ensures that there are sufficient, experienced, PA personnel at each echelon to provide the commander and his force with the most effective and efficient support possible.

2-6. PA command and control begins at the DoD level. The Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs (OASD(PA)), retains primary responsibility for the development and consistent implementation of DoD information policies and determines who should serve as the initial source of information about operations. Although (OASD(PA)) delegates PA release authority to the combatant commander as soon as practical, it retains responsibility for approving Public Affairs Guidance (PAG), establishes public affairs policy, and coordinates and approves PA strategies and plans.

2-7. The Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA) for the Army is responsible for Army PA resources. OCPA develops PA doctrine, designs PA organizations, determines training and leader development requirements, identifies materiel needs, and manages PA personnel to ensure that sufficient assets are available, qualified and ready to conduct successful PA operations in support of any assigned mission.

2-8. Commanders supported by their PA staff personnel, plan PA operations for their assigned missions based on the situation, published in DoD directives, instructions, doctrine and guidance, and in coordination with OASD(PA). The CINCs prescribe the chain of command, organize and employ forces, give authoritative direction, assign tasks and designate objectives through component commanders, subordinate unified commanders, commanders of joint task forces and other subordinate commanders. The commander establishes responsive PA structures and ensures that they are provided with the personnel, facilities, equipment, transportation and communications assets necessary to provide adequate PA support. A failure to establish these structures results in a duplication of effort and a waste of resources. The commander is responsible for the full range of PA activities -- PA planning, media facilitation, information strategies and PA training and at sustaining base, community relations. He is also responsible for establishing, resourcing and guiding the operations of Joint Media Operation Centers and planning all AFRTS radio and television support operations in the area of operations.

Historical Perspective
The establishment of the Joint Information Center under the auspices of the DOT Presidential Task Force on September 1, 1992 was vital to a coordinated and successful Joint Public Affairs effort. The JIC was an "umbrella" organization that served as the clearing house for dissemination of hurricane relief information to the news media. More than 10 federal agencies involved in relief operations had public affairs representatives at the JIC. Daily meetings and consistent interaction among the agencies involved resulted in a coordinated federal information effort.
(Public Affairs Lessons Learned Library, Joint Information Center, Hurricane Andrew, 1992)

2-9. Within the Army, the Corps is usually the hub for PA operations. The Corps commander, supported by his PA staff element, is responsible for the development and coordination of PA strategies, the implementation of information campaigns and the execution of PA operations based on METT-TC, the information environment, and guidance and policy received from the combatant CINC.

2-10. The Corps PAO is the principal PA advisor to the Corps commander and deploys with the lead element of the Corps headquarters. When fully deployed, the Corps PAO section operates from the Corps main command post, with a liaison officer/NCO located at the Corps plans cell. It also is responsible for establishing coordination with the PA elements of higher, lower and adjacent commands.

2-11. The Corps, through the PAO, controls the employment of augmenting Army PA units deployed in support of the operation. Up to one PAOC and six MPADs are normally allocated to augment the Corps PA section, although the size and scope of the mission will determine the actual augmentation required for each operation. The Corps PAO and his staff task organize the personnel and organizations available and allocate the equipment, communications support and facilities. When augmented, the Corps PAO operates a media operations center and establishes satellite centers as required.

2-12. Below the Corps level, the PA staff section organic to a war fighting headquarters is extremely austere. The mission of the PA section below Corps is to advise the commander by providing immediate planning expertise and guidance on issues with critical PA implications. The PA section deploys with the lead elements of the headquarters, and operates from the command's main CP.

2-13. PA units deployed to augment the staff sections organic to a headquarters are normally placed under the control of the supported PAO, who assigns the augmenting PA unit missions and tasks. He will do so in conjunction with the augmenting PA unit commander, who will retain command of his unit and ensure that his unit's personnel are not employed as individual fillers. Whenever possible, augmenting PA units should be linked with the supported command headquarters at that command's home station prior to deployment to facilitate establishment of command and control relationships.


2-14. Reliable, survivable, flexible communications are essential for effective PA command and control. In today's global information environment, information must flow to and from users, up and down the chain of command, and horizontally across the battlefield. Technology has compressed time and space and forward-deployed PA sections can be in direct communication with officials at DoD working PA strategies. The challenge is to ensure coordination and interoperability so that all elements have the communications capability necessary to effectively carry out their assigned mission, especially in today's joint, combined or interagency environment.

2-15. Deliberate, detailed planning can prevent communications shortfalls. PA planners assess their information transmission and reception needs and requirements. They then identify the communications capabilities they need access to, and determine the communications support they will need from command signal organizations. Through close coordination with the staff signal section, the identified PA communications requirements are integrated into the overall communication architecture.


2-16. The three central defining characteristics of the global information environment -- the facility of information acquisition and transmission, the speed of information communication and the breadth of information saturation -- combine to increase information availability. The American public, internal audiences, allies and adversaries have ready access to information. Information security is transitory and it is critical that information operations at every echelon are mutually supporting and directed at a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective.

2-17. Credibility is essential for successful information operations. If an information source is not perceived as believable, then the desired effect of that communication cannot be achieved. Regardless of the source, target or objective of an information effort, in the GIE, credibility is founded in truth and enhanced by validation, corroboration, and consistency.

2-18. Commanders require integrated, coordinated, synchronized information operations. PA operations, which occur at, and impact on, the strategic, operational and tactical levels -- often simultaneously -- are a critical element of these operations. News media coverage of conflicting messages and information communicated by different elements of the command compromises credibility.

2-19. Integrating, coordinating and synchronizing every element of the commander's information operation -- Public Affairs, Psychological Operations, Civil Affairs, Combat Camera, Operations Security and others -- results in a synergistic information strategy. It minimizes the possibility of conflicting messages, which undermine credibility, jeopardize operations and endanger mission accomplishment.


2-20. Logistics is critical at all levels of command for Public Affairs mission success, during any phase of combat or garrison operations. Commanders must ensure their Joint Table of Allowances (JTA), Modified Table of Equipment (MTOE), Table of Distribution and Allowances (TDA) or Common Table of Allowances (CTA) reflects appropriate equipment levels to maintain a PA staff and media support under field and garrison conditions. Maintenance also plays an important role in Public Affairs operations. A Public Affairs element that has all its equipment cannot function properly if its equipment is inoperative, broken or deadlined. Each Public Affairs element must develop its own internal SOP in regard to logistics. (See Appendix K.)

2-21. Public Affairs staff members must be trained in the areas of supply, budget, property book, ordering, class A procurement, etc. Public Affairs must be an integral player in all mission and operational planning sessions to ensure logistical requirements are identified and resourced.

2-22. Responsibilities: The Public Affairs staff has the responsibility to identify to its resource manager, property book manager and ordering officer all fiscal and logistical requirements for field operations and home station support. Requisitions for equipment, supplies, services and allowances will be ordered and processed in accordance with appropriate Army Regulations, AR 710-2 Unit Supply Update and budgetary guidelines.

2-23. Requesting supplies: Commanders must ensure that equipment and components authorized by JTAs, CTAs, MTOEs, or TDAs are on hand or requested. The organization's supply operation is responsible for identifying, acquiring, accounting, controlling, storing and properly disposing of materiel authorized to conduct the mission of the unit and maintain the soldier. The organization is the foundation of the supply system. Exceptions and procedures are outlined in AR 710-2.

2-24. The Direct Support and General Support Activities provide class 1, 2, 3 (packaged and bulk), 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 supplies directly to the using units on a customer support basis. These supplies are routinely procured through the unit supply rooms. In the event a Public Affairs element is operationally attached outside its assigned organization, it should coordinate before deployment for logistical support when possible. If prior coordination is not possible, contact for support should be made upon arrival into the theater of operations through the C-4, J-4, G-4, or S-4.

2-25. Accountability: All property acquired by the Army, regardless of source or whether paid for or not, must be accounted for, in accordance with applicable Army regulations and AR 710-2.

  • Nonexpendable property is personal property that is consumed in use and that retains its original identity during the period of use. It requires formal property book accountability throughout the life of the item. It will be accounted for at the using unit level using property book procedures. Examples are desks, computers, file cabinets, chairs.
  • Expendable items are property which is consumed in use or that loses its identity in use, and all items not consumed in use with a unit price of less than $100 and not otherwise classified as nonexpendable or durable. It requires no formal accounting after issue to the user. The following classes or types of property will be classified as expendable.
    • Supplies consumed in the maintenance and upkeep of the public service. Examples are oil, paint, fuel and cleaning and preserving materials.
    • Supplies that lose their identity when used to repair or complete other items. Examples are assemblies, repair parts, and accessories.
    • Office supplies and equipment (such as paper, staplers and hole punchers) with a unit price of less than $100.
    • Durable property is personal property that is not consumed in use, does not require property book accountability, but because of its unique characteristics requires hand receipt control when issued to the user. Examples are hammers, lawnmowers, audiovisual production material and books.

2-26. Conservation of resources and property accountability is ultimately a supervisory responsibility. Property responsibility must be assigned and acknowledged in writing using hand receipts and property books as outlined in AR 735-5, Policies and Procedures for Property Accountability and AR 710-2.

2-27. Property book: Effective supply support at the using element or property book level requires timely and accurate processing of supply requests and receipts, accurate accounting records and adequate property control. Turn in, transfer, substitutions, hand receipt, etc., are accomplished in accordance with Army Regulations, AR 710-2 and logistical SOPs.

2-28. Budget: Budgets must be programmed in advanced. Organizations plan their budget in the previous fiscal year They must be established and managed with the appropriate command resource manager/budget analyst. When allocating funds consideration must be given to equipment replacement and upgrades, recurring supply needs TDYs, maintenance, contracts, etc. Normal operating funds are allocated/dispersed by a public affairs element operational headquarters; however, during deployments for exercises/operations funds may be available from the tasking headquarters up front or on a recuperative basis.

2-29. Maintenance: Public Affairs elements must maintain their equipment in a deployment ready state. Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS) is an important part of the maintenance program, and is the user's responsibility. The Public Affairs element's operational headquarters provides maintenance support. For example, an embedded Public Affairs section assigned to the Headquarters Company of a separate brigade would seek maintenance support from the Headquarters Company, then the brigade maintenance section. The company/brigade's maintenance SOP would be followed for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc., echelons of maintenance. Maintenance for communications and data processing (computers) equipment is coordinated through the G6 (DOIM).

2-30. Local Purchase: Local purchases may be an option for procurement provided the action is in the best interest of the government in terms of timeliness, quality and cost. Local purchase requests must be made in accordance with AR 710-2. Approval for local purchase of nondevelopmental items starts at the first level of command authority and is accomplished in accordance with local policies and Army regulations. Nondevelopmental items is a generic term that covers materiel available from a variety of sources with little or no development effort from the Army. Sources include commercial items which fully meet an approved need, items being used by other U.S. services or agencies or items used by military or other agencies of foreign government. Most of these purchases are covered under the IMPAC Card program. Local guidance covers implementation.

2-31. Class A Procurement/Credit Card: Class A agents and government credit card holders must be identified and trained prior to their ability to accomplish those functions. Training is routinely accomplished at the installation level. Purchases for other than national-stock-numbered items are routinely accomplished using Class A agents and ordering officers, and the U.S. Government Credit Card.

2-32. SSSC: Self Service Supply Centers are managed at the installation or theater level. Users are required to have a valid SSSC account. Accounts are identified by DODAAC or UIC. Subaccounts are authorized IAW AR 710-2. Field resupply centers are often established at divisional-level logistics bases.

2-33. The best means of ensuring supply discipline is to be proactive and not reactive in supply operations. Enforcing compliance with regulations requires constant emphasis.

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