With the extremely sophisticated communication technologies of the global information environment (GIE), the nature of media coverage has a significant impact on the conduct of war and stability and support operations at the strategic, operational and tactical levels. Civilian and military news media coverage influences the perceptions of soldiers, family members, the public and political leaders, and affects the direction, range and duration of operations. It has a direct relation to the confidence these key audiences have in the Army and its execution of operations.
Effective PA operations are critical to successful Army operations in the information age. They assist the commander in monitoring and understanding public opinion, explaining the situational context of events and communicating the Army's perspective clearly and without filters. They enable the commander to interpret the perceptions of external and internal audiences and influence the way in which discussion of the operation is framed.
Synchronized, well-planned and actively executed PA tactics, techniques and procedures significantly clear the fog of war and impact the morale and effectiveness of the force. They reduce distractions, misinformation, uncertainty, confusion and other factors that cause stress and undermine efficient operations. They enhance understanding, acceptance and support. Effective PA operations contribute to soldier confidence, discipline, will to win, and unit cohesion.
FM 3-61.1 (46-1-1), Public Affairs Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, builds on the doctrinal foundation of FM 46-1. It translates the PA fundamentals and principles into detailed guidance for the planning, coordination and execution of PA operations. It provides what is required for the information age -- a sophisticated approach to conducting PA operations. It is the TTP that brings Army Public Affairs into the "information age."
FM 3-61 (46-1), Public Affairs Operations, addresses fundamental PA concepts in depth, and provides the linkage between PA and the Army's keystone doctrine, FM 3-0 (100-5), Operations. It recognizes that a refocused, restructured military will conduct operations in an information environment in which detailed, graphic, and live coverage of events are transmitted around the world. It builds from the understanding that information availability will influence strategic decisions and the direction, range and duration of operations.
FM 3-61 (46-1) also examines PA operations at the different levels of war and across the range of operations. It discusses PA operations with respect to the Principles of War and the Tenets of Army Operations. It analyzes the PA contributions to build and sustain combat power, defines the PA mission, and establishes strategic PA goals, fundamental PA principles, and underlying considerations for planning integrated information strategies.
Public affairs frequently deals in intangibles -- perceptions and implications -- that are not easily quantifiable or qualifiable, but are essential to commanders. The PA objectives, processes and methods presented in FM 3-61.1 (46-1-1) will assist Army leaders and PA professionals to develop solutions to the complex PA issues they will confront.
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