This project will conclude with a brief look at our observations, some limitations of our research, and identify some areas for future research. The impact of interservice cultural differences on JIBs cannot be understated. We have found that different service interpretations of Joint Publication 3-61 have led to the creation of individual service doctrines which can often lead to miscommunication in the joint environment. In addition, these doctrines when combined with interservice cultural differences, can impede the flow of accurate and timely information to the various publics the JIB is designed to interact with. Specifically, our examination of actual case studies revealed that media pools in particular can be negatively impacted.


It is a testament to the professionalism of public affairs members across all branches of the armed services that our military has the public credibility it enjoys today. Even when faced in situations where competing instructions, doctrines and cultures have tied their hands behind their backs, the men and women assigned to DoD’s various Joint Information Bureaus have, more often than not, found a way to live up to the military public affairs credo “Maximum Disclosure, Minimum Delay.”

While obviously each service has placed great emphasis in their role in joint operations, the fact that each service feels the need to document their individual doctrine is systemic of the problem described in this paper. If there is to be a joint doctrine, then it should be truly joint in scope. Individual services in their published doctrine, formal, and informal cultures have superceded any perceived authority Joint Publication 3-61 may have had at its creation.

In both their creation and formal publication, individual service doctrines have created situations where officers, enlisted and civilian public affairs professionals are faced with competing sets of guidelines and instructions. In addition, cultural differences in the five services have created an even larger dilemma in the handling of information to both internal and external publics.

On the basis of this study, senior leadership of the armed forces would be well advised to review their services need for individual instructions in regards to joint operations. In addition, Joint Publication 3-61 should be reexamined to see if it addresses the needs of specific services which led to their individual published doctrines and instructions. In short, while several publications title themselves as dealing with joint operations, none of them can truly claim to do so, unless they’re codified into one single instruction, with the weight of law, that is recognized by all the individual services.

More importantly, operational direction should be provided from the Department of Defense to unify the basic rules throughout all its branches of service for public affairs operations, to include release of information, media support, and accessibility of its members.

There is no reason an Army private should have to refer to Navy doctrine for guidance in proper release of information, nor should a Marine captain have to consult Air Force instructions for direction in escorting and transporting media pools (see Atch. 2) in the field. Consolidated instructions and concrete guidance would improve both the efficiency and accuracy of information flow to the various publics served by the JIBs.


In the process of compiling the information used in this study, we encountered numerous limitations. Chief among these limitations was time. In the constraints of this course, we have only begun to measure the problems inherent in joint operations. Were more time available for allotment in pursuit of this study, we may have been better able to address some of the issues facing the men and women assigned to our JIBs today, and alleviate the problems sure to be encountered by future JIBs.

Another limitation of this study was in gaining access to materials relevant to investigating this phenomenon. Several meaningful documents are unavailable due to either classification, access privileges, or were never gathered or compiled in the first place. While the classifications of sensitive documents is understandable, some publications (like the Army’s case studies of JIB operations) are unavailable due to technical issues (in this case, individuals not accessing the publication site with a .mil address) that are easily remedied by other methods (password access, like the Air Force uses, for example). Also service historians would be well charged to collect case studies from different perspectives of the JIB operational spectrum. Most case studies are written from a top-down leadership perspective, and it is quite possible that as much can be learned at both the middle and lower tiers of service member participation.

Our last major limitation was most likely a subset of the time constraints described above. Additional methods of data collection, most notably, surveys, interviews and field observations would have greatly enhanced the information upon which this study was based.

Further Research

Our knowledge of this phenomenon would be greatly enhanced by a simple study of the events and issues surrounding the original publication of the various service’s doctrines and publications. Why were these documents created in the first place? What issues were raised by the individual services that could only be answered in their own separate publications?

Another issue worthy of further study would be a strict systems analysis of JIB operations. How were individual members assigned to their roles, which sections were manned more heavily, what was the chain of command? More importantly, why were these choices made, and did those choices help or hinder JIB operations?

Finally, what is the media’s perspectives and expectations of JIB operations? How much do they know and understand about how we manage JIBs? What do media members expect from a JIB, are those needs realistic, and if so, how well do JIBs meet those needs?



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