An analysis of data gathered from service policies, doctrines and case studies reveals that operations in the joint environment are profoundly impacted by differences in interservice cultures. Specifically, the flow of accurate and timely information flow within and through a Joint Information Bureaus is often impeded because of this phenomenon.

RQ1: Do different service interpretations or adaptations of Joint Publication 3-61 affect how Joint information Bureaus operate/interact in a DoD combined operation? Yes, our research found several instances where this was indeed the case.

In comparing Joint Publication 3-61’s list of the Department of Defense Media Guidelines, Table 1, it was noted that there were several significant differences in how the military services adapted these guidelines into their service-unique doctrines.

Specifically note, that the U. S. Navy and Air Force refer the public affairs professional to other documents to find these guidelines. The Air Force refers the PA officer to the Joint Publication for media guidelines; these are not included in its doctrine for public affairs. The Navy refers the PA officer to Department of Defense Directive 5122.5 Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs (OSD /PA). Our analysis concludes that since the directive originated from the Department of Defense, there is no chance of the directive being misinterpreted.

Between the Army and the Marine Corps, since each branch has adopted the guidelines for media into their respective policies, it is noted that each has adopted each of the guidelines in one form or another. Of the nine guidelines listed in the Joint Publication, the Army adopted seven leaving out, (1) The military will supply public affairs officers with facilities for transmission of pool material and (2) Commanders are responsible for transporting the pool into the area of responsibility and joint operations area. The Marine Corps, on the other hand took the last guideline - #2 the Army left out – and incorporated it into guideline number seven which states “Field commanders should be instructed to permit journalists to ride in military vehicles and aircraft.”

Further analysis uncovered other differences, or discrepancies, in the way the different services have adopted guidelines from the Joint Publication as noted in Attachment 1, labeled Department of Defense Media Pool Support. Here the services do not differ much in that each refers the PA professional to another document for guidance. Both the Air Force and Army refer to the Joint Publication whereas the Navy and Marine Corps directs the PA professional to Department of Defense Directive (DODD) 5400.14 Procedures for Joint Public Affairs Operations. It should be noted that the Marine Corps comes under the Department of the Navy so many of the policies and directives are the same. However, in the Navy’s SECNAVINST 5720.44A Public Affairs Policy and Regulations, items regarding media pools are discussed in general terms not specifics as noted in the Joint Publication or DODD 5400.14.

Analysis of Doctrine

In our analysis we found that many of the differences in the way each of the services have adopted the Joint Publication into their respective doctrines contributes to miscommunication between the services and misunderstanding between the services and the services and the media. The differences, though appearing minor in scale, were significant enough to surface in different case studies regarding the relationship between the military and the media. One of the most comprehensive studies performed to date is America’s Team, the Odd Couple (Aukofer & Lawrence, 1995). The study makes several inferences to how JIBs operate in a joint environment, and how the services interact with the media.

Based on the units of analysis, we see that were the individuals services differ in their interpretation of the Joint Publication is cause for concern and has contributed to its credibility with the media.

Analysis of Service Culture

RQ2: Do interservice doctrine and cultural differences impede communication flow to both internal and external publics? Yes, specific examples can be found in all four tenants of service culture: values, focus, mission and network.

Values. Only the Air Force (USAF) spells out specific values for its public affairs members, all the other services use the “core” values outlined for their specific services. The USAF public affairs values mention “counsel”, “trust and support”, “morale”, “readiness”, and “global influence and deterrence” (AFI 35-101, p. 2) The other service core values outline morals and ethics to guide their members. The Navy (USN) and Marine Corps (USMC) have the very same core values, “honor, courage and commitment” (U.S. Navy Office of Information, 2002, 5). The USN calls these “foundations for life and service” (U.S. Navy Office of Information, 2002, 5) The USMC insert “Corps” and “Marines” into the terminology. The Coast Guard (USCG) also cites “honor” as one of its three core values. The other USCG values are “respect and devotion to duty” binding “us together and guiding our conduct.” The Army (USA) has the longest list with seven core values. They repeat the USN and USMC values with “honor” and “courage” and the USCG’s “respect” and “duty” and also add “loyalty”, “selfless-service”, and “integrity” (see Attachment).

Focus (Vision). The Coast Guard’s vision of public affairs falls most closely in line with the DoD’s policy of maximum disclosure with minimum delay. In regards to information, the Army (USA) and Marine Corps (USMC) specifically mention “timely” and “accurate”. The Army Public Affairs Manual states “...maintain timely flow of accurate, balanced information to the American people” (FM 46-1, p. 5). The Marines guidelines also mention specifically the timely and accurate flow of information, “...the public are entitled to timely, accurate responses from the Marine Corps...” (Marine Corps Public Affairs, 2002, 1). The Air Force vaguely mentions information and the flow within its organization (AFI 35-101). The Navy doesn’t spell out information or flow in its vision. It outlines “Themes” from Navy leadership and various publications ( The themes insinuate the flow of information and keeping its people and the public informed, but do not directly say so (see Attachment).

Mission. The USA, USN and USMC mission statements for public affairs articulate specifically information, its organizational members, and the public. All four services (USA, USAF, USN, and USMC) imply increasing the image and awareness of their respective services in the eyes of the American public. The USAF public affairs mission identifies and breaks its statement into different organizations that comprise the public affairs triad (public affairs, bands and broadcasters.) The public affairs mission doesn’t mention information, only “expanding awareness...” (AFI 35-101, p. 2).

Network. All the service’s and JIB’s information channels in public affairs begin in the same office, The Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs (OASD/PA). Information then flows to the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA) for the Army and in the USAF to the Secretary of the Air Force, Public Affairs (SAF/PA). The USA and USAF converge in their similarities at the third level, in that, both utilize major commands and then finally to the individual public affairs shops. In the USN, USMC and USCG (during wartime operations) the flow of information begins with the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV). Information then moves to the Chief of Naval operations. At the third level, “the Navy office of Information is headed by the Chief of Information (CHINFO), who is the direct representative of the SECNAV and the Chief of Naval Operations for Navy-wide public affairs matters” ( The Director of Marine Public Affairs is the CHINFO Deputy, but only on Marine Corps matters. CHINFO maintains four local points of contact, Navy Offices of Information (NAVINFOs). The Coast Guard is not an element of the United States Armed Forces unless Congress ratifies an act of war. Normally, the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Transportation (see Attachment).

Case Study

RQ3: Do historical case studies reveal that the improper operationalization of JIBs impede the intended use of a media pool and the reporting of military actions? Yes, in several circumstances this can be proven.

Upon examination of the three case studies, several points were revealed. First, the American public wants to know what their military forces are doing when conducting operations in foreign lands. Second, the media will take any and all information the JIB for the operation will provide. This leads us to the third main point that the media will try to cover the story regardless of measures taken to prevent them. This further illustrates the point that JIBs need to facilitate the flow of information in order that safety and security of both the media and the soldiers involved are ensured.

Grenada 1983. Studying the 1983 operation revealed the necessity of a media pool and consequently the JIB to act as liaison for them. The results show that the military cannot expect the American public to sit passively by while an operation takes place and not want to know what is happening.

· No organized media pool.
· President ordered a complete blackout under fear of jeopardizing security.
· Reporters had nothing to give the American public about the operation.
· Major outcry because of the lack of information.
· National Media Pool created to provide the media with timely, inside access to military operations while keeping them safe.

Panama, December 1989. By the time the Panama operation occurred, the National Media Pool was in place. This operation illustrated that the media will take any information the military gives them, but conversely, this practice goes against the reason for media pools – to provide timely, accurate information to the American public.

· Military did not inform the National Media Pool until 3 days after the operation started.
· Once called, the Pentagon held the media pool at an air base in Panama.
· Pentagon spoon-fed journalist photographs and information about the operation.
· Once on scene, the media pool was not allowed true access to information.
· Information reported to the American public was not accurate about what really happened during the operation.

Operation Restore Hope. Operation Restore Hope reveals the need for good communication between JIBs and the National Media Pool. While the JIB had a working public affairs plan, it did not include contacting the National Media Pool, resulting in actions that could have jeopardized the lives of Marines and media personnel alike.

· Public affairs plan set up to include journalists embedded with the Marine unit deploying for the operation.
· Suitable information was not released to the media about how to get information resulting in reporters on the beach with lights and cameras broadcasting the exact movements of the Marine unit.
· Afterwards, the “outside” reporters were included in the information dissemination.



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