4-55. Public affairs operations fulfill the Army’s obligation to keep the American people and Army informed. They help to establish conditions leading to confidence in the Army and its readiness to conduct unified land operations. Public affairs operations strive to enhance public understanding and garner American, as well as global, support for the Army by engaging with both domestic and foreign media entities. (Refer to FM 3-61.1)
MISSION AND OPERATIONS
4-56. Public affairs Soldiers accomplish their mission through public information, command information, and public engagement. Public information focuses on informing external audiences. It primarily engages media and key audiences to convey Army and command themes and messages to global and American audiences. Command information focuses on internal audiences—Soldiers, civilians, and family members—who recognize that an informed force is a more ready, reliable, and resilient force. Public engagement places special emphasis on two-way communication with identified publics and communities surrounding military installations. It recognizes a positive rapport between the Army and its host communities is mutually beneficial, supporting the Army as an institution as well as its individual Soldiers.
4-57. Integrating public affairs with other information-related capabilities helps leaders shape the information environment, provides valuable media assessment, and counters enemy propaganda and disinformation. Public affairs operations support the leader’s development of themes and messages and collaborate with other information-related capabilities to protect OPSEC and avoid information fratricide.
4-58. Public affairs Soldiers participate in information-related capability and information integration process in the information operations element by continually assessing media information environment to determine the degree and nature of media coverage. They take steps to correct misinformation and propaganda. They also seek to leverage other information-related capabilities—such as combat camera or civil affairs operations— to provide greater accuracy, context, and characterization while informing. Additionally, public affairs operations provide reinforcing messaging for other information-related capabilities actions and the overarching strategic communication.
4-59. The presence of the media is a reality that confronts every Soldier involved in all operations. All leaders and Soldiers must know how to deal effectively with broadcast and print reporters and photographers. This should include an understanding of subjects they are authorized to discuss and subjects the public affairs officer must address.
4-60. The objective of the Infantry battalion commander in dealing with the media is to ensure that operations are presented to the public in proper context. All leaders and soldiers must know how to deal effectively with reporters and photographers. They should understand which subjects they are authorized to discuss and which ones they must refer to the public affairs officer.