a. General. This plan provides specific public affairs (PA) guidance, PA tasking, and overall concept of operations for in-theater US military PA activities conducted in support of the evacuation of American citizens, third country nationals, and selected host country nationals from a foreign (host) nation. The chief of mission has authority over media coverage of the NEO in the HN. He may authorize coverage contrary to the commander's desires.
b. Policy. Pursue a vigorous PA program to keep US and international publics informed of NEOs to the maximum extent possible consistent with OPSEC and personnel safety. The PA mission seeks to allow the JTF commander to conduct the mission in a manner that safeguards lives of assigned personnel and OPSEC while keeping the American public informed through the news media.
(1) News media pools will not deploy for this operation.
(2 Media coverage and PA notification is authorized.
(3) Open media coverage in HN is possible.
a. Contribute to public confidence in US procedures for this operation by providing the media access to unclassified, timely, and accurate accounts of the operation.
b. Accurately describe the operation as effective use of flexible US military force for an evacuation of noncombatants endangered as a result of hostile environment.
c. Characterize US military involvement in this operation as non-confrontational and humanitarian.
d. Illustrate US forces' capabilities and readiness, as well as their professionalism.
e. Promote accurate media coverage of NEOs.
a. Concept of Operations. This plan outlines PA support for any course of action (COA). Because the situation can rapidly deteriorate from a permissive to a hostile environment, be prepared to support each COA separately, sequentially, or concurrently.
- Interviews as appropriate and photo opportunities of evacuees awaiting transport from assembly areas to ECC and point of embarkation (POE).
- Interviews and photo opportunities with military personnel at ECC and POE.
- Photo opportunities of evacuees departing assembly areas enroute to and arriving at ECC, preparing to depart and departing, and arriving at safehaven.
- Photo opportunities of air crews conducting NEOs, and interviews with crews about the operations and how they prepared for it.
- Photo opportunities of military personnel as they prepare to secure, and of secure assembly areas and or ECC and POE.
- Photo opportunities of American embassy evacuees preparing to depart and departing embassy, and interviews with senior embassy spokespersons and or officials.
- Interviews and photo opportunities with military personnel who secured assembly areas and POE.
- Interviews and photo opportunities with evacuees at assembly areas awaiting transport to ECC and POE while enroute to, arriving at and departing POE, and enroute to and arriving at safehaven.
- Photo opportunities of embassy evacuees preparing to depart and departing embassy, and interviews with senior embassy spokespersons or officials.
(1) General. A public affairs officer (PAO) deploys with theater military forces and serves as the JTF commander's spokesman in event of on-scene media coverage of the operation.
(2) Media Coverage and Opportunities. Anticipate that initial media coverage will focus on evacuees and their reaction to departing (HN). Expect focus to then turn to effectiveness of a military NEO and treatment of evacuees during transport and final destination. Access to and interviews with evacuees will be as authorized by the senior on-scene State Department PA representative. The JTF PAO and commanders concerned will authorize any interviews with US military personnel. The following list of media opportunities for the possible COAs is not intended to be an exhaustive list nor should it be used to limit additional coverage in any way. Anticipate additional opportunities under each COA.
(a) Media opportunities for permissive and uncertain evacuation include--
(d) Media representatives will receive cooperation from all forces participating in the operation on a not-to-interfere basis in order to keep the American public informed of the activities of the US Armed Forces. This will include reasonable access to key command and staff personnel for briefings and interviews.
(e) As feasible, the JTF commander will ensure media representatives are given needed military support to facilitate their reporting on the operation. He will assist media representatives in filing their stories and products including granting them access to military communications facilities where feasible when commercial facilities are not available.
(4) After-Action Evaluation. A written after-action report with lessons learned will be submitted to OASD-PA by the unified command public affairs within 60 days of completion of the operation. This report will outline procedures that worked well, define problem areas, and provide proposed solutions.
(1) Request that OASD-PA--
(a) Confirm that information and combat camera visual documentation release authority resides with unified command PA.
(b) Provide ongoing changes to approved PA guidance to unified command PA.
(a) Retain theater PA responsibility for noncombatant evacuation operations.
(b) Carry out an active PA program, in collaboration with embassy (HN) and Department of State representatives, consistent with personnel safety and OPSEC.
(c) Coordinate initial announcement and questions and answers with appropriate US embassy representatives and OASD-PA.
(d) Provide JTF PAO.
(e) Provide unified command PA representative to direct and coordinate PA operations at POE.
(4) Component PA will provide PA and visual information documentation (VIDOC) support to unified command PA representatives as required to facilitate news media coverage of evacuees arriving at POE.
(5) Embassy (HN) will provide coordination and assistance to JTF PAO as feasible and appropriate.
(6) TF PA will--
(a) Provide comprehensive, unclassified operational briefings for media representatives in (HN) if operationally feasible.
(b) Direct local JTF PA activities in coordination with embassy (HN) press officer.
(c) Provide copies or text of unclassified PA news releases or operational summaries to unified command PA.
(1) The initial public release of information will be made concurrently by the embassy (HN), unified command PA, and, at their discretion, appropriate national authorities in Washington, D.C.
(2) Information about this operation will not be released by any military command until after the initial release is made. Unless otherwise directed by the CINC, or unified command PA, all supporting commands involved in the NEO will forward queries and proposed responses to unified command PA or the JTF PAO for clearance before public release. Release authority may be delegated to subordinate commands, if requested.
(3) Security classification of information will be in accordance with current DOD and State Department security directives. All interviews will be "on the record."
(4) If CINC delegates release authority, component commanders may issue statements and news releases within the context of approved PA guidance and information previously released. The CINC may delegate original release authority to the JTF. The JTF PA maintains records of releases, press conferences, and responses to queries and provides significant information to CINC by the fastest available means. News conferences and interviews will be recorded on tape.
(5) The right and privacy of individuals will be protected according to applicable directives. No evacuee will be required to grant a media interview or photo without his consent.
(6) All media requests for interviews with military personnel involved in this operation will be coordinated through unified command PA, its representatives, or the JTF PAO.
(7) Transcripts or accurate accounts of news conferences and interviews will be forwarded to unified command PA and OASD-PA by the fastest available means.
a. In a hostile evacuation, implementing this PA plan may present a variety of problems in maintaining a balance between security and release of information to the public. This will not preclude providing all possible assistance to the media to support their coverage of the operation
b. Guidelines to Follow When Correspondents are Present
(1) Media must not have access to intelligence centers or other classified areas or information.
(2) "Off the Record" statements will not be made in briefings or discussions with members of the media. Public or media knowledge of any classified activity associated with an operation does not imply that the information is unclassified or may be released or confirmed.
(3) Security at the source applies.
a. Prior to execution of NEOs, unified command operations arrange to deploy a combat camera team.
b. The JTF PAO provides the VIDOC team guidance on PA VIDOC requirements.
c. VIDOC material is dispatched to combat camera center (CCC) at POE in a timely manner. Deploying teams ensure the following dispatch procedures are as follows:
(1) Shipments containing video tape, unprocessed film, and sound tapes with captions must be addressed to CCC. Ship VIDOC products to POE via military transport from POE. Initial VIDOC products must be on first and fastest transport.
(2) CCC will ensure VIDOC products are processed, edited, and reproduced quickly and forwarded to the unified command PA representative who releases locally and forwards copies to OASD-PA as appropriate. JTF PAO ensures that aircrew member, by name, is responsible for material en route for delivery to unified command PA representative. Shipment must be marked "EXPOSED FILM-DO NOT X-RAY." Complete caption data is included.
a. The principle of maximum information flow to the public is to be followed, consistent with OPSEC and personnel safety. However, situations may arise where correspondents gain possession of information not yet officially released under the rules of this section. Such information is not to be transmitted or publicly released until officially coordinated and cleared for release.
b. The movements of correspondents will, at times, be restricted in certain areas. These restrictions will be kept to a minimum, but they will be applied by the JTF and or his PAO when the security of the operation warrants. The JTF PAO will advise correspondents of restrictions.
c. Any violation of the conditions or ground rules by a correspondent will be regarded as a basis for withdrawal of support.
a. Releasing Authority. Information concerning the protection and evacuation of noncombatants cleared for official release will be made available to the media by CINC PA or the JTF PAO through one of the following means:
(1) Press releases.
(2) Press briefings or conferences.
(3) Special press handouts.
(1) Confirmation that US forces are participating in the emergency protection and evacuation of American citizens, third country nationals, and selected HN nationals.
(2) Confirmation of evacuation vehicles, ships, or aircraft plainly visible to the media during the operation.
(3) Nonsensitive, unclassified details of the operation.
(4) Approximate number of noncombatants to be evacuated.
(5) Approximate friendly force strength figures.
(6) Casualty figures, if any. Names of casualties or fatalities will not be released until confirmation of next of kin (NOK) notification.
(1) Information regarding classified aspects of the NEO plan or the operation.
(2) Information on the vulnerabilities, weaknesses, or shortfalls of operational command, control, personnel, or support.
(3) Rules of engagement details for security personnel, military and civilian, assigned to the operation.
(4) Information on intelligence collection activities, methods, targets, and results.
(5) In hostile action, information on missing or downed aircraft or ships while search and rescue (SAR) operations are planned or in progress.
(6) Listing of all US elements involved in the operations.
9. Proposed statements and questions and answers for each course of action are outlined below. Statements and questions and answers are declassified upon public release.
10. Public affairs guidance for COA 1 includes the following statement for release concurrent with initiation of the COA and OASD-PA approval.
a. "In view of the military coup and continued unrest in (HN) and the potential danger to US CITIZENS, the US government has authorized evacuation of US and other third country personnel desiring to leave (HN). To assist with the evacuation, the unified command has dispatched military aircraft and personnel at risk. As a result of the unrest, voluntary evacuation at this time is prudent. "
b. Questions and answers for use overall are:
Q1. How many people are being evacuated?
A1. Because it is a voluntary evacuation, assessing exactly how many people may desire to leave is difficult. There are approximately (TBD) private Americans, (TBD) US government employees, and (TBD) US government dependents living and working in (HN). There are also (TBD) Peace Corps volunteers. Plans are to evacuate other people as well, including personnel from other countries.
Q2. Are there any indications of threats of violence directed specifically against Americans in (HN)?
A2. No, there are not. It is strictly an internal matter and has not threatened any citizens of other countries now living in (HN).
Q3. Are American military personnel supporting the government forces?
A3. No, American military personnel have been dispatched only to support the evacuation of US and third country personnel.
Q4. Are US military personnel armed?
A4. US forces are prepared to defend themselves. They are armed to provide security to evacuees and assembly and departure points such as the airport.
Q5. How are Americans being evacuated?
A5. Evacuees are being flown out on military aircraft from the (TBD) airport near (TBD).
Q6. Where are the evacuees going?
A6. Those evacuated on C-141 aircraft will be flown to airport (TBD). Those evacuated by C-130 aircraft will first be flown to the (TBD) airport in (TBD) and then to (TBD).
Q7. Was the action coordinated with the government of (HN)?
A7. (TBD) by State Department.
Q8. Why has the US government issued a travel advisory for (HN)?
Q9. Is this an evacuation?
Q10. Is the local airport open?
A10. The airport has been closed to regular traffic.
Q11. Are you taking private Americans out with the diplomats?
A11. Yes. Private American citizens in (HN) who wish to leave will be assisted by staff at the US Embassy in (HN). We are urging American citizens in (HN) to contact the embassy. We are using our warden system to advise all American citizens in (HN) to consider leaving the country, and to keep them abreast of all developments.
Q12. What about third country nationals?
A12. Obviously, our first obligation is to US citizens and their immediate family members. We have asked other embassies to coordinate efforts on behalf of their own citizens.
Q13. Have you received any requests from other countries to take their people out?
A13. We have received a few requests.
Q14. Are we coordinating with other countries?
A14. Yes. We are in close contact with other embassies in (HN).
Q15. What happens to private Americans once they get to (TBD)?
A15. We will assist evacuees in making onward travel plans to their final destination.
Q16. Are they on their own from there on?
Q17. Who pays for the departure of private Americans and third country nationals?
A17. As in all such evacuations, Americans will be required to sign promissory notes to cover the cost of their transportation.
Q18. What about Peace Corps members? Are they ordered out, too? Would they go out with our diplomats and dependents?
A18. Yes. The Peace Corps volunteers will depart with other Americans.
Q19. Is this a one-shot effort, or are we making contingency plans for further flights and convoys if the need arises?
A19. We are planning to evacuate all Americans who desire to depart (HN). No arrangements have been made at this time for future contingencies. We urge all Americans to depart now.
Q20. How many embassy employees will remain in (HN)?
A20. (TBD) embassy employees are expected to remain.
Q21. What is the US ambassador's name?
A21. The ambassador's name is (TBD).
Q22. Does this operation have a nickname?
A22. Yes, it is operation (TBD).
Q23. Do you anticipate any problems removing the Americans from (HN)?
Q24. Who is the commander of the joint task force?
A24. The commander of the joint task force is (TBD).
Q25. What are the units conducting the NEO?
A25. Elements from (TBD).
a. "Seizure of the airfield is necessary to allow for evacuation of American and third country noncombatants from (HN). While Americans are not specifically targeted by rebel and government forces in (HN), fighting has prevented those desiring to leave from doing so. The military action was ordered to save lives and protect endangered American citizens and ensure evacuation to safehavens. "
b. Additional questions and answers to COA 2 are:
Q26. Why are special operations forces being used in (HN)?
A26 These forces provide the commander in chief with the flexibility needed to provide security for American citizens during this unstable situation.
Q27. How long will US forces be deployed?
A27. Only as long as necessary.
Q28. Were any additional combat forces brought from (TBD)?
Q29. Can the media accompany the special operations forces or interview individuals?
A29. Requests will be taken case-by-case and accommodated if possible.
a. To provide a balanced public affairs program that supports the policies and objectives of the US government.
b. To coordinate PA activities at all levels under the guidance of the ClNC.
c. To keep the public informed of contingency NEO by providing the media with timely unclassified information to the maximum extent possible consistent with OPSEC and personnel safety.
a. Verify media correspondents' credentials and operate a badging system.
b. Support on-scene commander's news briefings and press conferences as required.
c. Escort media to PA activities such as photo opportunities, briefings, and press conferences.
d. Request official still photo and video combat documentation coverage of evacuation operations for PA purposes.
e. Serve as clearinghouse for news releases, photographs, and audiovisual and visual information products.
f. Produce news analyses and summaries and issue consolidated reports to the OASD-PA, unified command, and appropriate COM, as required.
g. Produce transcripts of all media briefings, interviews, press conferences, and so forth.
h. Respond to media queries quickly (goal is within two hours) and maintain logs of media queries and responses.
i. Ensure all speakers or briefers are fully informed on PA policy and guidance.
j. Provide guidance concerning PA requirements to assigned military AV and combat camera (COMCAM) teams.
16. JTF PAO and JIB Director Responsibilities
a. Review, update, and prepare appropriate plans for the employment phases, including the request for PA augmentation, if required.
b. Deploy with the JTF commander or advance echelon.
c. Establish the JIB in the final staging or forward operating area and conduct an active information program based on guidance from Department of Defense, Department of State, and theater CINC.
d. Serve as the principal PA advisor to the JTF commander.
e. Coordinate PA matters with the appropriate American diplomatic or U.S. Information Service representative in the host nation.
f. Supervise all military PA activities in the area of operations and schedule, as appropriate, press briefings and news conferences. Support an active command or internal information program.
17. Open and independent reporting will be the principal means of coverage of US military operations.
18. Pools are not to serve as the standard means of covering US military operations. They may, however, provide the only feasible means of early access to a military operation. Pools should be as large as possible and disbanded at the earliest opportunity-within 24 to 35 hours when possible. The arrival of early access pools will not cancel the principle of independent coverage for journalists already in the area.
19. Even under conditions of open coverage, pools may be appropriate for specific events, such as those at extremely remote locations or where space is limited.
20. Journalists in a combat zone will be credentialed by the US military and required to abide by a clear set of military security ground rules that protect US forces and their operations. Violation of the ground rules can result in suspension of credentials and expulsion from the combat zone of the journalist involved. News organizations will make their best efforts to assign experienced journalists to combat operations and to make them familiar with US military operations.
21. Journalists will be provided access to all major military units. Special operations restrictions may limit access in some cases.
22. Military PA officers should act as liaison but should not interfere with the reporting process.
23. Under conditions of open coverage, field commanders should be instructed to permit journalists to ride on military vehicles and aircraft whenever feasible. The military will be responsible for the transportation of pools.
24. Consistent with its capabilities, the military will supply PAOs with facilities to enable timely, secure, compatible transmission of pool material and will make these facilities available whenever possible for filing independent coverage. When government facilities are unavailable, journalists will, as always, file by any other means available. The military will not ban communications systems operated by news media organizations, but electromagnetic OPSEC in battlefield situations may require limited restrictions on the use of such systems.
25. These principles apply as well to the operations of the standing DOD National Media Pool system.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|