Discussion

The projected implications of this prospectus on military public affairs are profound. Developing a means by which trust can be improved is essential to mission accomplishment. Because military public affairs and the media rely on each other to properly perform their occupations, the quality of the relationship greatly impacts each other's success.

Few factors contribute to the quality of the relationship as significantly as trust. Attaining and maintaining it is elusive and fragile. Therefore, if several variables affecting the level of trust can be identified and manipulated, trust could be increased and job performance improved. In the process, the timely and accurate dissemination of information available so that the American public and Congress may assess and understand the facts about national security and defense strategy would improve.

The operational tempo in the modern military makes it difficult to find time to evaluate existing practices. Therefore, many military public affairs specialists operate within the constraints of the existing system. This prospectus, if successful, would allow them the ability to improve the manner in which they interact with the media and the efficiency with they diffuse their information. The simplicity and straightforward nature of the survey would facilitate its implementation.

The interaction of the four occasions for administering the survey with the six trust variables is depicted in Figure 1. This model portrays how random interaction, planned military operations, emergency situations and policy changes form the basis under which trust is tested by the survey. These four categories are depicted at each corner of the model. The three interpersonal variables (dynamism, expertness, reliability) encompass the lowest level at which trust is measured. Therefore, they form the inner circle of the model.

Organizational trust variables (rapport, competence, integrity) are depicted as the outer circle within the model. The model portrays the inter-relation between each area of study and each trust variables. For instance, the level of trust involved in any emergency situation can be measured in relation to dynamism, expertness, reliability, rapport, competence, and integrity. This interaction is shown by the manner in which they overlap in the model.

The implications this prospectus on theory building is positive. The meshing of the diffusion of innovations and expectancy value theories poses new possibilities for the development of further theories. Another possible implication is the potential for further research through longitudinal studies that could examine the significance of the findings over time. The extent to which the prospectus succeeds is speculative at this time, but any progress, however large or small, that can be made in improving relations between military public affairs and the media is a success.