The purpose of this research project is to determine communication methods military public affairs personnel can use to maintain credibility with the media while concurrently and regularly using deception strategies. Military public affairs professionals work as gatekeepers of information and must temper the natural conflict between the need to use deception practices--collaborative deception, concealment, omission of fact, and evasion--and the need to maintain credibility with the media. First, classical theory of organizational communication is used to explain the bureaucratic nature of the armed forces. This theory describes how information flows within a military organization, which is also part of the motivation to use deception. Deception theory is examined to review why deception occurs and to learn ways to employ deceptive strategies while taking ethical considerations into account. Next to be examined is credibility and why it is important and yet difficult to maintain during the communication process. Finally, uncertainty reduction theory is applied to the problem as a solution. The intent is to use deception practices to safeguard sensitive information and still maintain credibility. Individuals affected most by this problem are military public affairs personnel and media representatives. If the media feels it is not getting all the information available from the military public affairs office, or that this information is not completely accurate, they will find other sources. Credibility may be lost when other sources provide information the public affairs office was not able to release. The suggested solution for the problem of maintaining credibility while using deception is a two-step process. First, military public affairs personnel will be trained to minimize the use of deception and second, the media will be educated on the reasons for public affairs’ use of deception.

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