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Chapter 3

Public Affairs Planning

During Operation Just Cause, PA planning and integration were inadequate. Commanders at all levels failed to involve public affairs officers in planning from fear of OPSEC leaks. The results were insufficient PA guidance provided to soldiers, family members and commanders; sometimes miscommunication to and confusion within Army family elements; and misuse of PA assets. A matter of urgent concern was the failure to plan for and use Reserve Component PA assets to relieve the pressure on an already small active PA force so that it could better handle both internal and external communication.
- Public Affairs After Action Report, TRADOC LLC, Phase II, Sept. 90


3-1. Public Affairs operations assist the commander in communicating information and messages about his force and the operation to internal and external audiences. Like other operations, PA operations are conducted to bring about clearly specified, meaningful objectives, which support the commander's intent and contribute to mission success. Those objectives are defined in terms of the effect the PA operations are intended to have on target audiences -- the impact on target audience behavior that is desired -- and are measurable.

3-2. Once PA objectives are defined, PA operations are planned and executed to achieve those objectives. PA operations focus on the communication process -- an on going, dynamic, ever-changing process. The communication process is composed of elements involved in receiving, collecting, analyzing and interpreting data, identifying and analyzing audiences and formulating and transferring messages. This process is used to bring about a specified objective, while measuring and analyzing the outcome and effectiveness of the effort.

3-3. To support the commander's effort to communicate, PA professionals concentrate on five basic functions or core processes — planning, media facilitation, information provision, force training and community relations.

3-4. This chapter focuses on the systematic process for Public Affairs planning and decision-making. It addresses the information environment and the impact of information at the strategic, operational and tactical levels across the range of operations that requires public affairs considerations be totally integrated into the planning and decision-making process. Doing so enables PA personnel to prepare for potential situations, to synchronize efforts with other agencies that manage information communication, and to more successfully influence the coverage, interpretation and understanding of events. It limits the need for reactive, defensive attempts to buy time or control damage.

3-5. PA planning prepared in support of the CINC's theater campaign plan requires a series of decisions related to policy at the national level and the techniques at the tactical level. From policy to techniques, however, basic planning considerations are the same: What should the PA objective accomplish? With what audience? When? How? PA planning must not only be done at all echelons and within national policy but also within the limits of operational plans and capabilities.


3-6. The amount of time available significantly influences the planning process. Two different methods of planning are described in the JCS-published Joint Operations Planning and Execution System (JOPES).

3-7. Deliberate or Peacetime Planning is the process used when time permits the total participation of commanders and staffs. Development of the plan, coordination among supporting commanders and agencies, reviews by staffs, planning conferences and development of proposed public affairs guidance can take many months. Deliberate or Peacetime Plans are prepared in prescribed formats--the complete operational plan (OPLAN) or the conceptual operational plan (CONPLAN).

3-8. Time-Sensitive or Crisis Action Planning (CAP) is conducted in response to crisis where U.S. interests are threatened and a military response is being considered. Crisis Action Planning is carried out in response to specific situations as they occur and that often develop very rapidly.

3-9. It is within the CAP process that established, working relationships between the PAO and operational planning staffs are crucial to the inclusion of PA considerations into OPLANS and OPORDS.

3-10. Both deliberate and crisis action planning are conducted within JOPES. Joint Pub 5-03.2, JOPES Volume II, describes detailed administrative and format requirements for documenting the annexes, appendixes, etc. of operational plans, and conceptual plans, the products of deliberate planning.

3-11. The purpose of JOPES is to bring both deliberate and crisis action planning into a single architecture to reduce the time required to complete deliberate or crisis action planning. This makes the refined results more readily accessible to planners, and makes it a more manageable plan during execution.

3-12. The overall procedures are the same, at all echelons, for both deliberate and crisis action planning.

  • Receive and analyze the task to be accomplished
  • Review the situation and begin to collect necessary intelligence
  • Develop and compare alternative courses of action
  • Select the best alternative
  • Develop and get approval for its concept
  • Prepare a plan
  • Document the plan

Operation Just Cause

The basic problem---planning. No discussion concerning use of personnel can proceed without an understanding of the planning problem. Public Affairs in general was not sufficiently planned for by leaders or public affairs officers for Operation Just Cause. PAOs were not given time to plan. Only outstanding unit mission accomplishment, American public support and the hard work of public affairs personnel, prevented major PA failings in Panama. A longer duration and less popular action could have turned into a public affairs disaster.

The SOUTHCOM, XVIII Airborne Corps, and Army Special Operations Command PAOs were not informed that the operation would occur until 17 December and then they were given instructions not to discuss it with key persons on their staff. The 82d PAO did not learn of the operation until 18 December, 7th ID PAO, 19 December and OCPA one hour before H hour.

More critical however, was the absence of joint coordination. OASD-PA received a PA plan from SOUTHCOM public affairs in November, but the plan was never coordinated due to worries concerning possible security leaks. The XVIII Airborne Corps PAO indicated that he also knew of the operation in general terms in November but was unable to coordinate planning with the Director of Public Affairs SOUTHCOM. Because the plan was not staffed, OCPA was caught unaware. Divisional public affairs officers all indicated that they were not sufficiently drawn into planning. Some PAOs said they never saw a plan. It is obvious that sufficient public affairs planning did not occur at any level.

There was also a ripple effect downward caused by the lack of staffing by the Joint/OASD-PA. In addition, senior leaders at division level and above did not draw PA officers into planning to maximize the limited planning time that was available. Commanders strongly complained about poor balance of coverage in the media, inability to send command information at the same pace as civilian media reporting, and lack of sufficient public affairs guidance; yet senior leaders are reluctant to draw PAOs into the planning process to prevent these problems from occurring. Army leaders must come to grips with this dilemma.

(Public Affairs After Action Report TRADOC Lessons Learned Collection Phase II. Sept 1990)

3-13. An OPLAN is a complete, detailed plan. It includes a description of the concept of operations from the commander's perspective and presents additional annexes provided by various staff sections which identify specific functional area requirements, restrictions, limitations, or considerations. The inclusion of a public affairs annex is essential to successful integration of PA principles and guidance into the OPLAN.

3-14. A CONPLAN is an abbreviated operational plan, which requires considerable expansion or alteration to convert it into an OPLAN or OPORD. Detailed support requirements are not included. The commander determines what annexes will be included to complete the CONPLAN.

3-15. A Public Affairs Estimate is an assessment of a specific mission from a Public Affairs perspective. It is an examination of critical Public Affairs factors, their influence on the planning and execution of operations, and their potential impact on mission success. The senior PAO at each echelon is responsible for consolidating information and preparing the PA Estimate. A sample PA Estimate is included at Appendix C.

3-16. The Public Affairs Annexes to OPLANS or CONPLANs provide the details and instructions necessary to implement Public Affairs media facilitation, news and information provision, and force training operations. It is coordinated with all staff agencies, especially those that significantly impact the information environment -- Psychological Operations, Civil Affairs, Signal, and Military Intelligence -- to ensure that Public Affairs activities are synchronized with other activities.


3-17. A commander continually faces situations involving uncertainties, questionable or incomplete data, or several possible alternatives. As the primary decision maker, the commander, with the assistance of the staff, must not only decide what to do and how to do it, the commander must also recognize if and when to act. How the commander arrives at a decision is a matter of personal determination. However, superior decisions (those, which offer the best solution, decisively, at precisely the correct time,) result from the commander's thorough, clear, and unemotional analysis of facts and supported assumptions. This is done through the "deliberate planning process."

3-18. To support the commander's decisions and command objectives, the PAO must develop a thorough, clear, comprehensive public affairs strategy. This strategy allows the PA to link public affairs considerations into planning for contingency, future and current operations. With the PA strategy, the PAO defines the public affairs perspective of the operation, and identifies how the Army public affairs involvement in this operation supports strategic goals. It provides the intent for PA operations and the Army approach to meeting the information needs of critical internal and external audiences. It is the framework for defining and developing the PA scheme of operations.

3-19. Based on the PA strategy, PA plans are developed for integration into OPLANs. A PA plan is produced by the operational commander's PAO, and it details the media facilitation, news and information provision, and force training and support procedures which will be employed in support of the operation.

3-20. The first crucial step in fulfilling the PA strategy requires the PA Plans officer/NCO to establish and maintain a routine, ongoing relationship with operational planners within the organization. The PA plan is coordinated with key staff agencies, integrated into the OPLAN as a PA Annex. Synchronization with these other activities ensures services and support required by the PAO is provided and multiplies the impact of the PA plan. This process is followed at subordinate echelons as planning guidance is communicated down the operational chain of command.

3-21. There are five phases in the deliberate planning process. Items in parenthesis identify PA actions performed within each phase:

  • Phase I - Initiation. The task assigning directive outlines the major combat forces available for planning, gives general planning instructions, lists assumptions for planning, and specifies the product document such as an OPLAN, CONPLAN. (PA planners begin assessing the information environment, its impact on operations and the PA requirements to operate within a specific arena.)

  • Phase II - Concept Development. (Using the supported CINC's mission statement and concept of envisioned operations, the supporting PA planners analyze the mission, formulate tentative courses of actions and develop the PA Estimate for the operational scenario and requirements.)

  • Phase III - Plan Development. Subordinate commanders use the CINC's concept and the allocated major combat forces as the basis to determine the necessary support, including forces and sustaining supplies for the operation. (The PA planners provide the CINC with recommendations for public affairs assets required, phasing of PA forces and support into the theater of operations, and perform a transportation analysis of their movement to the destination to ensure that the PA segment of the entire plan can feasibly be executed as envisioned. For the supported CINC's PA requirements, above those organic to the tasked major combat elements, the supporting commands [force providers] of each service, as much as possible, identify real-world PA assets to take part in the plan and sustainment to meet requirements. The supporting command identifies PA requirements in OPLANs, OPORDs, and taskings, through operational channels, to major subordinate commands.)

  • Phase IV - Plan Review. The review process is more than a single phase in deliberate planning. The Joint Staff performs or coordinates a final review of operations plans submitted by the combatant CINCs. It is a formal review of the entire operation plan. Approval of the plan is the signal to subordinate and supporting commands to develop their plans in support of the CINC's concept. (PA planners do not wait until the plan is approved before beginning to develop their supporting plans; they have been involved in doing this, while coordinating with their command's planning staff. In the meantime the CINC has been building the overall plan.)

  • Phase V - Supporting Plans. The emphasis in the Supporting Plans Phase shifts to the subordinate and supporting commanders. (This is the phase in which PA planners begin to concentrate on how to meet tasks identified in the approved operation plan by preparing Public Affairs Annexes to supporting plans. This input outlines the actions and relationships of assigned and augmenting PA assets.)


3-22. Planning fosters effective application of knowledge, logic, and judgment. Analysis of the information environment (IE) starts the process used to develop an estimate of the situation.

3-23. The IE analysis provides the basis for the development of all PA operational plans and is a channel for integration of strategic, operational and tactical planning guidance. It is a method of identifying factors within the information environment that have potential implications for the planning and execution of Army operations. PA planners study and evaluate the dynamics of the area information environment to identify specific public affairs operational considerations.

3-24. Analysis of the information environment focuses on research into the following areas, which will be put into the "Situation and Considerations" portion of the PA estimate:

  • Information infrastructure
  • Media presence
  • Media capabilities
  • Media content analysis
  • Public opinion assessment
  • Information needs assessment
  • Impact assessment/courses of action (COA)

3-25. An analysis of the IE using this approach builds a complete picture of the conditions facing commanders and their PA forces, providing them the tools necessary to anticipate trends, actions, issues, and conflicts. The PA staff officer or NCO conducts research and assessment for the estimate then evaluates, prioritizes, and suggests courses of action that public affairs can best support, while considering the information environment. To acquire all the information necessary for an accurate picture of the operational environment, the staff officer or NCO must work closely with intelligence, civil affairs, psychological operations, military police, visual information and other staff sections involved with information gathering.

3-26. The PA assessment must include those aspects under the control of the commander, as well as those the commander cannot control. This can only be achieved with a thorough integration of PA planning at all stages and into all aspects of the planning and decision-making process. Although a variety of techniques may be used in the analysis of the IE, the PA assessment should address the following primary categories.

  • Information Channels and Infrastructure. This element focuses on an assessment of the information infrastructure. It addresses the resources, communications facilities, organizations, and official and unofficial information channels available within the area of responsibility (AOR). It addresses the means to transmit and receive unofficial information. It addresses specific requirements for American Forces Radio Television Service (AFRTS) information services and the availability of assets to meet theater requirements. It identifies the availability of host nation telephone service for voice and data transmission, the accessibility of audio/video channels, the prevalence of private communications devices such as cellular telephones, facsimiles, computers with modems, radios and televisions, and the nature of the information available through these information channels. It addresses alternate means of voice and data communications, whether military or government contracted, for use in the absence of host nation information channels and infrastructure. Much of the information required for this category may be obtained through civil affairs or psychological operations elements assigned or attached to the command and U.S.Information Service offices supporting consulates or the embassy within the area of operations.

  • Media Presence. This is an assessment of the media presence in the area of operations prior to the introduction of American forces and an assessment of the expected level of media presence commanders should anticipate once deployment begins. It includes a description of the type of media (print or broadcast), the visibility of the media (local, national, or international; American or foreign), and the focus of the news media present (news or entertainment) covering the operation. The assessment of the media presence should address the authority under which media representatives are operating (open or closed borders, and free press or controlled press) and the reporters' degree of access to the theater of operations.

  • Media Capabilities. This element is an assessment of the media's information collection, production, transmission and communication capabilities in the AOR. This element analyzes the technological capabilities of the media representatives present within the AOR. It describes their level of sophistication (if they must transport products out of the area of operations for transmission to parent media or do they have self-contained interactive satellite telecommunications access). It also addresses the media's level of logistics support and its potential impact on Army commanders who are required to provide the media free and open access to the AOR. It includes information about their transportation assets, resupply channels, and equipment maintenance requirements. Additionally, the media's general ability to provide their own security should be assessed.

  • Media Content Analysis. Media content analysis is an assessment of news coverage, the media's agendas and an analysis and prioritization of the potential strategic and operational issues confronting the command. Media content analysis assesses what is being said, by whom, and how it is being presented. It is a constant process that must begin well before planning for a specific operation begins and continues through Mobilization, Deployment, Employment, Sustainment, and Re-deployment. Content analysis reveals the meaning, tone, and accuracy of messages, how the information was presented, and the cumulative affect of the information. A media content analysis will provide an evaluation of the quantity of coverage, both in and out of theater, and the nature of that coverage. This will assist the commander to understand the strategic context, the measure of success and the definition of an end-state for the operation as viewed from outside the command and the Army itself. It will also be an essential element of friendly information (EEFI), as explained in FM 3-13 (100-6), in determining objectives and strategies for communicating the Army perspective, and for working to achieve a balanced, fair and credible flow of information.

  • The specific methods for conducting a media content analysis are explained in Appendix O.

  • Public Opinion. A public opinion assessment surveys the national and international attitude about the operation and the command, leaders and soldiers conducting it. This assessment looks at the perceptions held by major audience and coalition groups, and the relative solidity or strength of those attitudes. It addresses the perceptions held by international audiences: those traditionally allied with the United States and those traditionally considered to be adversaries of the US. The public opinion assessment should include as a minimum, consideration of the following groups:

    • American public (general)
    • Civilian political leadership
    • Coalition and allied forces and their general population
    • Host nation citizens
    • International public
    • Internal command audience
    • Home station community
    • Specific special interest groups (if needed)
      • In determining the effects of the media on public opinion, there are three general types of evidence which explain behavior response: direct indicators; indirect indicators; and post-event sampling. Direct indicators are evidence that provide a direct link between the information received by the public and the behavioral response. These indicators include but are not limited to: personal interviews and surveys to estimate awareness and understanding of an issue; dissident group marches, meetings, advertising and other activities; monitoring internal and external law, order and discipline activity; and chain of command after action reports, staff journals and duty logs. Indirect indicators are evidence that identifies behavioral response generated by separate events or activities which appear to be the result of reception of media information. These indicators include: cause-effect estimates from information products and sources other than the military or civilian commercial media; interest level in news media products; shifts in social or economic trends; shifts in political support.

      • Post-event sampling considers the qualitative and quantitative statistical evidence that identifies the level of and nature of awareness and behavioral response to information. This includes the results of surveys, interviews, group observation, probability and non-probability samples, which will identify if and how the public was influenced by information products or messages.

  • Information Needs. This is an assessment of the information needs and requirements of the previously identified key publics. It analyzes and prioritizes key external and internal audiences and assesses their news and information expectations. It identifies the types of information that should be made available to soldiers, their family members, other home station community audiences, the American public, and the host nation local populace. It will identify other audiences, such as allied or adversary leaders and publics that will be interested in available "cross-border" information.


3-27. The purpose of the PA Estimate is to determine whether the mission can be accomplished and to determine which COA can best be supported by public affairs. In preparing its estimate, the Public Affairs staff:

  • Reviews the overall mission and situation from the public affairs and information environment perspective.
  • Examines all public affairs factors impacting on or impacted by the mission.
  • Analyzes each COA from the public affairs perspective.
  • Compares each COA based on the public affairs functional analysis.
  • Concludes whether the mission can be supported by public affairs, and from the public affairs perspective, which COA can best be supported.

3-28. The Public Affairs Estimate summarizes the information environment, prioritizes the major issues confronting the command and predicts anticipated outcomes in detail. It measures the effectiveness of previous and current information strategies, and based on this evaluation, identifies possible courses of action to support command PA objectives. The PA Estimate also contributes to the development of Public Affairs Guidance (PAG) for specific operations or missions. PAG is a primary tool that guides commanders and PA leaders in the application of doctrine and policy during operations. PAG provides the PA force at all echelons standard operating procedures.

3-29. But to be effective, PAG must be developed with the needs of the front-line PA force in mind. PA planners must be able to "see" and "feel" the battlefield. They must have an understanding of the information environment and how it will change throughout the operational continuum. They must be aware that all the resources available at the planning headquarters may not be available or feasible in the theater of operations. Issues that need to be addressed include information release authority restrictions (national, theater or local). These restrictions often place the PA leader in a difficult situation -- one in which an overwhelming number of news media on the scene will seek answers to legitimate questions about unfolding events -- activities that the PA leader cannot discuss. The result is a loss of credibility for the Army.

3-30. DOD policy requires that proposed PAG be provided to the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs (OTASD-PA) by the unified, specified and other major commands for all operations. This requirement includes major joint training exercises that could attract national and international attention. Subordinate command PA leaders should conduct continuing PA assessments as a part of mission training for theater-specific contingencies in anticipation of PAG development requirements there.


3-31. Upon receipt of a "warning order," the commander, through the PA staff, will begin development of proposed PAG. In reality this warning order may be preceded by a telephonic "heads up" call from a PA planner at a higher headquarters that allows PA planners to begin working on proposed PAG before the hard copy of the warning order arrives. This proposed PAG should be based on the warning order or other planning guidance, the proposed command operations plan (OPLAN), and the PA Estimate. Once the proposed PAG is developed, it is staffed through command staff. Once approved by the commander, it is forwarded through major command and Unified/Specified command PA channels to DoD.

3-32. Commanders of Unified/Specified commands should ensure the proposed PAG is coordinated with appropriate elements and functional staffs within the theater of operations. This includes governmental and non-governmental organizations such as the State Department and its embassies, civil affairs, country assessment teams, host governments, allied force public affairs teams, the four U.S.military services and their subordinate commands.

3-33. PA leaders at all levels, specifically major command and above, should work to approve PAG as quickly as possible in order to provide subordinate PA leaders the opportunity to develop and implement PA strategies to support their commands. The format for PAG is included as an appendix to this manual at Appendix E.


3-34. Once the PA estimate and proposed PAG are completed, and the other staff officers have completed their estimates, the commander selects a course of action. The commander then outlines it to the staff. The commander may select one of the proposed COAs, a combination of two or more, or a completely new one. The PA staff must then be prepared to enter the plan development phase (Phase III) which requires development of a PA annex. A format for a PA Annex is included at Appendix D.

3-35. The operation-specific approach to conducting public affairs activities is called a PA scheme of maneuver. This PA scheme summarizes the commander's PA intentions, and details the media facilitation, news and information provision, and force training and support procedures, which will be employed to support a particular operation.

3-36. The PA scheme consists of the PA estimate of the situation, higher command PA guidance, and the selected course of action. It is coordinated with key staff agencies, integrated into the operation plan through the development of a PA annex, and synchronized with the other activities to be executed as part of the basic plan.

3-37. The PA scheme, when included in the PA annex, should not only identify public affairs force requirements for the operation, but more importantly, it must provide the commander a visual picture of how public affairs will support the commander's concept of operation as outlined in the plan.

3-38. The PA activities addressed in the PA scheme of maneuver are:

  • Media Facilitation. Media Facilitation is activities executed to support news media efforts to cover the operation, facilitate the timely, accurate, balanced provision of information which communicates the Army perspective, and minimizes the media disruption of operations or endangerment of mission accomplishment. Media facilitation is accomplished by the early establishment of a media center as the focal point for media representatives seeking to cover the operation. Normal media center operations include scheduling briefings, coordination for interviews; responding to media queries; coordinating unit visits and media escort requirements; and resolving media - military incidents. To prepare for encounters with the media, commanders must accept and understand the role of the news organizations and the journalists in the theater, and their capabilities in getting information from the battlefield or area of operations. Commanders must provide media access to the force, keeping in mind the impact their technology will have on operations security. Commanders must identify and provide support and resources to assist the media in their mission.

  • Information Strategies. Activities executed to fill the news and information needs and expectations of internal and external audiences. Proliferation of personal computers, the World Wide Web, the Internet, on-line services, fax machines, E-mail, cable television, direct broadcast satellites, copy machines, cellular and wireless communication and many other information technologies have created an endless stream of data and information that flow into a world filled with images, symbols, words, and sounds. Public affairs specialists acquire information using a variety of sources. Because of the volume of information and the vast number of potential distribution mediums, the PA staff uses a systematic acquisition strategy. They acquire information from participants, leaders, developed sources, the media, research and development, intelligence, culture at large, and subject matter experts. Print, video, audio and electronic information products are provided to deployed soldiers, home station audiences such as family members and the home station community and news media representatives using contracted services and organic military assets. They communicate the Army perspective and contribute to timely, balanced coverage of the operation.

  • Force Training and Support. Activities executed to assist members of the DA community in interacting with media representatives. Force training and support are conducted to educate soldiers, family members and DA civilian employees on their rights and responsibilities with respect to news media representatives attempting to provide coverage of an operation and related issues. It focuses on helping them to respond when they encounter news media representatives seeking interviews, photo opportunities, responses, reactions, interpretations or comments on an operation, policies or events. The intent of force training and support is to assist members of the community and media representatives in approaching each other with mutual respect. Training for public affairs personnel expands on soldier and unit leader training. It stresses individual as well as collective tasks with an aim of developing units fully prepared to accomplish the range of public affairs missions. It integrates public affairs into the battle staff and trains PA planners to assess the operation environment from a public affairs perspective, produce a PA Estimate, develop the PA Annex and PA Guidance.

Figure 3-1. PA Planning


3-39. Concurrent with formulation of the PA staff estimate, PAG development, and production of the PA Annex to the OPLAN, PA planners must be an integral part of the staff planning process, especially on the following matters.

3-40. Force Planning. In force planning, the PA staff works with the J3/G3/S3 staff. Force planning consists of PA force requirements determination, force list development and refinements in light of PA force availability and PA force shortfall identification and resolution. In force list development, the PA assets needed to meet the mission are identified. Force availability is considered based on the strength and readiness of organic PA units, their personnel and equipment. Identification of PA force shortfalls addresses the lack of organic or mission-capable PA assets and the additional requirements and augmentations for PA units and personnel needed to accomplish the CINC's concept of operations. All taskings for unit or personnel augmentation must be validated and requested through the J3/G3/S3 operational channels. Tasking authority does not exist PA staff to PA staff or PA staff to subordinate unit.

3-41. Support Planning. To plan for logistical support of PA units and personnel assigned to carry out the CINC's concept of operations, the PA staff coordinates with and identifies support requirements to the J4/G4/S4. Specific logistical areas of concern include support in all classes of supply to the PA force, availability and authorized levels of support to civilian media, local purchase and contract support, property accountability, and vehicle transportation and maintenance support as tasked for through the J3/G3/S3.

3-42. Transportation Planning. PA forces move from their home station to a specified destination in the theater, either as part of their parent organization or a task-configured PA unit. This movement involves planning by several echelons of command, possibly stops at several intermediate locations en route, and a schedule constrained by a variety of operational requirements and priorities. Key staff for the PA planner to interact with include the command's transportation officer, movements control officer, and staff officers within the J3/G3/S3 and J4/G4/S4 that have staff supervision in this area. Key items PA planners need to track in this process are:

3-43. Time-Phased Force and Deployment Data (TPFDD). The TPFDD is the JOPES database portion of an operations plan. It contains time-phased force data, non-unit related cargo and personnel data, and movement data for the operation plan. The Appendix 1 to Annex A of the operation plan is the Time-Phased Force and Deployment List (TPFDL) which identifies types and/or actual units required to support the operation plan and indicates origin and port of debarkation or ocean area. It may also be generated as a computer listing from the TPFDD. PA planners must ensure that the TPFDD/TPFDL contains their unit line numbers (ULNs) for units, personnel, or cargo. Assets not listed on the TPFDD do not deploy. It is crucial to the planning process that the PA staff closely coordinate with the J3/G3/S3 and J4/G4/S4 to ensure that PA assets are reflected on the TPFDD or included as organic/attached assets to parent units with validated ULNs on the TPFDD.

3-44. Destination (DEST) - the geographic location where the force is to be deployed/employed.

3-45. The distances between the port of debarkation (POD) within the theater of operations to the destination (DEST), to the port of support (POS), to the marshaling area or assembly area. Where troops land at the APOD (Aerial Port of Debarkation) or SPOD (Seaport of Debarkation) they may be substantial distances from the port where the PA element's equipment arrives in theater and operations begin.

3-46. Transport of equipment must be planned for it to be available at the earliest possible date within the theater of operations. Thus, the PA planner must set a realistic, achievable required delivery date (RDD). This must be aligned with the CINC's required date (CRD). Planners begin with the RDD to establish two interim dates, the earliest arrival date (EAD) and the latest arrival date (LAD). Once these dates are established, then the ready to load date (RLD) and the available to load date (ALD) are established at home station to meet the earliest departure date (EDD).

3-47. Communications/Automation Planning. Key planners on the coordinating staff for communications and automation planning are the J6/G6, G3/S3 and CE officer. Specific concerns include priorities for radio/telephone communications, satellite uplinks and downlinks, number of telephone links/trunks allocated to PA requirements, E-mail access, and inclusion into the Communications Electronics Operating Instructions (CEOI). In addition, consider possible development of web pages or sites, like BosniaLink, the Task Force Eagle Homepage, the Desert Voice in Kuwait or Task Force Falcon in Kosovo.

3-48. Information Environment. When formulating PA plans and coordinating on the overall plan with the commander's staff, PA planners work closely with the staff element having supervising responsibility for each separate issue.

  • Operational Security - G3/S3
  • Psychological Operations - G3/S3
  • Civil Military Operations - G5/S3
  • Combat Camera Operations - G3/S3
  • Armed Forces Radio and Television Operations - G3 and Armed Forces Information Service


3-49. To function as part of a deployed or deployable organization the PAO and PA NCO must think and state requirements in terms that the rest of the organization can understand. Moreover, the PAO must fit the operational PA requirements into the operational planning procedure of the organization about to deploy. Operators think in terms of mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops, time available and civilian considerations or METT-TC. METT-TC is used to envision how the operation will occur, to identify potential risks or hazards, and to define troop and equipment requirements.

3-50. Mission - alert, marshall, deploy, operate (internal information, media facilitation, information provision) redeploy

3-51. Enemy - rumors, disinformation, propaganda, OPSEC

3-52. Terrain and weather - theater of operation, theater of war, area of responsibility, intermediate staging base, homestation and weather condition

3-53. Troops - embedded assets, units (PADs, MPADs, BODs, PAOCs) AFRTS, HTNRs, ABS, NBS, JIBs, Star and Stripes, stringers, surrogate PAOs, Adjutants, and S1s. All other AG services, signal, USIS, DoS and homestation forces and audiences

3-54. Time available - timeline, transition, reports

3-55. Essentially, the information required for a METT-TC analysis is provided by the PA estimate of the situation, which contains the selected course of action and detailed descriptions of PA actions to be performed. These requirements are then translated into the command's planning language and format, resulting in the PA Annex to the OPLAN or OPORD.

3-56. At theater level and above, the PA annex is normally Annex F to the OPLAN. At corps and below, commanders can tailor their plans to fit specific needs or preferences, so the PA annex may fall in another location among the annexes. Regardless of where it is located, the PA Annex is used to provide information about the conduct and execution of public affairs operations in support of the basic OPLAN. The PA annex outlines the situation, identifies the specific PA mission and explains the concept of the operation. It also provides detailed information and guidance PA personnel need to conduct successful PA operations at the operator level. A sample PA Annex format is included in this manual at Appendix D.

3-57. Phase IV, Plan Review, consists of staff coordination and plan adjustment or correction.

3-58. The final phase of the planning process, Phase V, Supporting Plans, follows the same course as the first three phases, with attention aimed at the specific aspects of the overall plan. These supporting plans focus on conducting specific operations, which must be successful in order to guarantee success of the larger mission. PA support to these supporting plans is as important as PA coordination and input to the main campaign plan.


3-59. Integral to the operational effectiveness of PA sections are their standing combat operating procedures. These routine procedures ensure that all members of the section are working in concert toward the same PA objectives and that PA activities are easily blended into the actions of the command's staff.

3-60. PA SOPs differ from PA plans and PA annexes to OPLANS in that they specifically detail and describe how PA is conducted within a certain command or unit. They are routine procedures and actions that apply to each section or unit.

3-61. The senior PA NCO prepares the staff section or unit PA SOP. PA units designated to support or augment specific commands in the execution of contingency missions should use SOPs from these supported commands.

3-62. SOPs should address:

  • Preparation for combat. Stockage, prepackaging, and maintenance of vehicles, equipment, and expendable and nonexpendable supplies.
  • Vehicle load plans.
  • Alert and mobilization actions, routines and procedures.
  • Composition of quartering and/or advance parties and rear echelons.
  • Organization for combat, including detailed delineation of duties for each individual, shift compositions, and plans for reconstitution in the event of combat losses.
  • Operations center and media center layouts (theater, corps and/or division main/rear CPs).
  • Procedures for preparing, disseminating and disposing of records, reports, estimates and orders.
  • Physical, document, and tactical security.
  • Communications procedures. These steps include radio/telephone operating procedures unique to the command, message routing and preparation formats, and operation of communications and data transmission equipment.
  • Movement and displacement.
  • Operations under NBC conditions.
  • Field Maintenance.
  • Personal hygiene, rest, and morale, welfare and recreation requirements and procedures during deployment.
  • Post-operations and reconstitution procedures. Maintenance, restocking and packaging composition of advance and rear parties; disposition of records, and preparation of after-action reports are included.
  • A PA SOP outline is included in this manual at Appendix K.


3-63. During mission planning and preparation, Public Affairs planners should consider debriefing and other post-mission activities. These activities normally include:

  • Collective debriefing of the operational element on all aspects of mission execution, including lessons learned.
  • Collection of maps, notebooks, logbooks, plans, annexes, duty officer/NCO logs, serious incident reports, news releases, tapes and transcripts of news briefings and conferences, and all other information products pertinent to the mission after action report.
  • Maintenance and storage of unit and personal equipment.
  • Individual debriefing of key personnel.
  • Other reconstitution measures as required.

3-64. Upon completion of these activities, the operational element begins pre-mission sustainment training or prepares for its next mission. The planning staff begins review of lessons learned for integration into future plans. See Appendix W for information on producing PA Lessons Learned for the Center for Army Lessons Learned.

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias