Communicating Airpower: Strategic Communication and the United States Air Force Since 9/11, Comparison to Navy Public Affairs, Iraq and Afghanistan, Foreign and Domestic Audiences, Tanker Scandal
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During the Cold War, the Air Force had a fairly easy time explaining its mission to the American public. It also had a coherent public affairs structure to help execute that mission. The new threat environment in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, combined with steep personnel cuts to its public affairs community, have dramatically altered the communication challenge for the Air Force.
To effectively operate in this new climate with an emphasis on strategic communication, the Air Force has tinkered with a few organizational models to strengthen the communication function.The Air Force Research Institute (AFRI) asked the knowledgeable Washington editor John A.
Robinson to analyze Air Force communications and provide some lessons that might help the Air Force communicate with the nation. Robinson is the managing editor of Defense Daily and is also a lieutenant commander public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve. Book Communicating Airpower: Strategic Communication and the United States Air Force Since 9/11, Comparison to Navy Public Affairs, Iraq and Afghanistan, Foreign and Domestic Audiences, Tanker Scandal He has a bachelor of arts in government from the University of Notre Dame, a master of arts in international affairs from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.As the ground campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan drag on, perceptions of the Air Force contribution to those efforts and the larger global war on terrorism will play an increasing role in how it is understood by the American public as well as leaders in the Pentagon and Congress.
Robinson concludes that the Air Force needs to redouble its communication efforts. It needs to abandon the vague theoretical construct of strategic communication, rebuild the public affairs community, and focus on better explaining the relevance of airpower in current and future wars.
He feels that it was an important story to tell, not only for the Airmen proudly defending the nation but also for the public, whose support is crucial. AFRI collected these thoughts from Robinson in order to distribute them to Air Force public affairs offices and those most affected by and interested in his observations.INTRODUCTION * A BRIEF HISTORY OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION * AIR FORCE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION EFFORTS * AN ALTERNATIVE MODEL: US NAVY PUBLIC AFFAIRS * RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AIR FORCE COMMUNICATION EFFORTS