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Media Engagement

LTC Paul Hayes
J oint Public Affairs Support Element
1 APR 2013
The overall classification is
UNCLASSIFIED
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Why engage the media
PAOs responsibilities
A successful engagement
Responsibilities
Anatomy of a response
Media Interviews 101
Reminders
The AAR
Sample Prep Packet
Video PRT Commander Press Conference
Agenda
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Why Engage the Media?
I say to you: that we
are in a battle, and that
more than half of this
battle is taking place in
the battlefield of the
media.

-- Ayman al-Zawahiri, in an
intercepted letter to al-Zarqawi,
dated July 9, 2005




"America doesn't know
its military and the United
States military doesn't
know AmericaToo often
we're just talking to
ourselves.

-- Adm Mike Mullen on the gap
between the military and
American Public 11 JAN 2011



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Why Engage the Media?
Tell our story
Gain public trust and support
Go Ugly Early
Emphasize military commitment to USG and
international operations
Transparency within limits of OPSEC
If we dont tell our story others will; accessibility
is vital


Insight
I have been struck in my travels at the lack of what I would call in-depth understanding
of what weve been through. We come from fewer and fewer places weve BRACed
our way out of significant portions of the country. Long term, if the military drifts
away from its people in this country, that is a catastrophic outcome we as a country
cant tolerate. Adm Mike Mullen, to time Magazine, OCT 2011
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A Successful Engagement
Preparation
(PAO and SME)
Training
(PAO)

Natural
Ability
(SME)
Natural Ability: natural
speaking and interpersonal
skills for the interviewee

Training: Media engagement
and public speaking training
conducted on routine and
periodic basis by interviewee /
unit

Preparation: Those activities
undertaken by PAO and
interviewee from notification
up to the actual engagement

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PAOs Responsibilities
-Always-
PAO schedules, plans and executes media
engagement training for entire unit
Specialized training for select SMEs
Media analysis to monitor topics and trends for unit /
local area
Collect AAR / feedback from other PRTs conducting
media engagements what were they asked?
What are hot-button issues back in the states / local
hometowns
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PAOs Responsibilities
-Prior to interview-
Immediately schedule interview prep with SME NLT
24 hours prior to engagement
Build prep packet for SME
Interview theme, supporting messages and talking points
Reporter Bio
5 Ws of engagement
Guidance from higher
Possible Qs and As 15 ea. 5 Questions you dont want
asked, 5 Questions most likely asked, 5 Questions you want
asked.
Build press kit
SME bio, fact sheet, latest articles / releases, CD of photos
Prep your SME - plan on an hour
Cover all material in prep packet
Include murder board
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PAOs Responsibilities
-Immediately prior to interview-
USE A CHECKLIST!
Validate reporters credentials
Confirm reporters interest items
Establish connectivity (e.g., face-to-face, phone,
satellite/DVIDS, internet)
Confirm format
In-person or remote, Live or recorded, Print, TV, radio, web
Establish ground-rules with reporter
Expected duration
Limit scope of interview to (topic XYZ)
If more than one reporter:
Limit to 1-part questions (no multi-part questions)
State name and media affiliation before questions
Let reporters know we will be recording the event


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PAOs Responsibilities
During the interview
Intro interviewee (e.g., name, duty title)
Time and record the interview
Review due-outs with interviewee and reporter
After the interview USE A CHECKLIST!
After action review w/ interviewee
Follow-up w/ reporters unanswered questions

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Interviewees Responsibilities
BLUF Interviewees #1 priority is preparation
Maximum disclosure, minimum delay
Unless it calls into question SAPP issues (Security,
Accuracy, Policy & Propriety)
Express sympathy (if appropriate)
Set realistic expectations
If outlook uncertain, best to under-promise and over-deliver
Dont speculate on hypotheticals/unknowns
Exit Strategy
When time to leave, PAO will announce, Time for one more
question!
Answer last question and transition to command message by saying,
In conclusion. give key message and leave.


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Interviewees Responsibilities
Check appearance before interview
Well groomed hair, no 5 0clock shadow
No sunglasses
Sharp uniform
Optional: open with icebreaker
If a press conference type of format:
Provide clear and concise opening statement
Effective Response = Message + Talking Point in
less than 18 seconds
Stick to about 3 key messages

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Anatomy of an Effective
Response
1. Message
Narrowly focused communication directed at a specific audience to
support a specific theme
We are committed working ourselves out of business in the next
year.
2. Talking Point
Something that lends support to an argument
Weve already transitioned 4 of our agricultural development
projects to the Provincial Governors Agricultural Director.
3. Less than 18 seconds
Easier for sound-bytes
Easier for translation
How long is someones span of attention?
Allows for more questions and answers
Put it all together We are committed working ourselves out of
business in the next year for example - Weve already
transitioned 4 of our agricultural development projects to the
Provincial Governors Agricultural Director.

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Media Interviews 101
Body Language


Lean slightly forward if
seated
Use natural gestures
Dont lose composure; be
calm
If interviewed by a
journalist:
Look at him/her NOT
the camera
If interviewed by the camera
operator or via remote link:
Look at the camera
operator or the camera
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Avoid military jargon &
acronyms
Clarify vague questions before
answering
Always assume mic is on and
you are on the record
Listen, Pause, Think
Respond
SAPP (Security, Accuracy,
Policy & Propriety)
Stay on topic and in lane
Be positive
Dont repeat the negative
Disagree when appropriate



Media Interviews 101
Spoken Language


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Blocking
We never say no comment
but ultimately might be
asked questions we do not
want to answer or speculate.
Im not prepared to talk
about that issue today.
My personal opinion is not
important.what is
important is.
An answer to that question
would be pure speculation at
this point
Id like to get more
information on that prior to
answering Ill ask my PAO
to follow up with you later
today.
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Bridging
Never use No Comment;

If you cant comment, state why
Info could put lives or mission at risk
(e.g., details of force plans /
movements / capabilities /
vulnerabilities or intelligence activities
Info outside your lane of expertise or
responsibility or inappropriate to
comment

Thenbridge to a key message
yes/no/I dont know..
what I do know is..
.another point I should make
let me put that into perspective.
.whats more interesting to
consider is..
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Flagging
Phrases used to call
attention to or highlight
salient points
Dont lose sight of the
fact.
The critical issue to
remember is..
It all boils down to
The key point to
remember is

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Reminders
1. Do your homework. Be prepared.
2. Relax and be yourself.
3. Stay in your lane and dont speculate.
4. Use conversational language.
5. If you dont know, say so and offer to
get back to the reporter with the
answer. Then follow up.
6. Always be honest. Always.
7. Take a few seconds to think about your
answer.
8. Never say no comment.
9. Speak with confidence in the fact that
you are the subject matter expert.
10. Use a command message in every
answer.
11. Know that most media questions are
non-threatening, however
12. Reporters do seek drama and conflict.
13. Dont argue, but
14. Dont be afraid to correct a reporters
facts.
15. If a reporter interrupts you, pause, let
the reporter finish, and then finish
your answer.
16. Know that you can politely decline to
answer.
17. If a reporter asks multiple questions,
say: Youve asked several questions.
Let me respond to the first
18. You can ask the reporter to repeat,
restate, or explain a question.
19. Maintain a professional attitude at all
times.
20. Be available for follow-up questions
and/or additional interviews.
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Media Interviews 101
After Action Review

APPEARANCE
SPEECH/CADENCE
BODY LANGUAGE
Q&A
CLOSING REMARKS
Etc.
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Back Ups
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Sample Engagement Prep Packet
Successful Engagement =

Ability
Training
Preparation
Effective Response = (Message + Talking Point) <= 20 seconds
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5/6 J une Media Engagement
Overview
Key Personnel
Engagement Concept
Background: The ongoing tensions in Centerland are
garnering considerable attention on National/International
News. The State Department and United Nations continue
to work to seek resolution to the instability but considerable
discussion in the media is focusing on potential US Military
Support. USGEOCOM and OASD PA continue to receive
extensive queiries on this issue.
Purpose: Increase awareness USGEOCOM planning efforts
in support of Centerland
Guidance: Focus on the broad range of capabilities that our
military forces can bring to bear if/when directed to do so.
Stay in your lane". Avoid speculation as to what type
military action may be required while hi-lighting the broad
spectrum of capabilities and readiness of our forces.



4 /5 JUN (Day 1 - prep):
2000-2030, Media Prep, JPG Cell

5/6 JUN (Day 2 execute):
1200: Arrive PAO office, final prep
1245: Arrive at interview site, micd up
1300: Interview with Ms Garceau and Mr Evans
1330: Mission complete

Timeline:
PA - LTC Paul Hayes: 757-286-1871 (Bberry)
SME 1 (5 JUN) CDR Craig Bangor, USN, JPG Lead
SME 2 (6 JUN) LTC Bill Tillery
Nick Blaice OSD PA, 757-203-5631
Media Topic: USGEOCOM Planning for Centerland

Engagement Date: 5 JUN 2012 - 1300, 6 JUN 2012 - 1300
Location: HQ Bldg, FT Story
Units involved; JPG, USGEOCOM

Media Type and Amount: (2 of the following will attend
with cameraman roundtable format)

1. Joseph Long, African News Service
2. Sharon Garceau - New York Times
3. Joe Herbert, New York Herald.
4. John Meindl, AP:
5. Alexus Buhari - The Guardian
6. Nigel Warburton, BBC
7. Mark Williams, UPI
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Reporter Bios
Joseph Long, African News Service. Mr. Long was born in Zimbabwe and educated in the United States at
Northwestern's college of journalism. He worked for the Associated Press for five years, covering issues on the
African continent. He began working for the African News Service as its lead reporter in 2007. He has covered every
issue of substance on the continent since then.
Sharon Garceau - New York Times
A veteran journalist, Sharon has worked for the Washington Post and the New York Daily News before coming to the
New York Times. Sharon holds a B.A. in Journalism and American Studies from Syracuse University. Sharon covers
a wide range of issues including education, economic growth, humanitarian efforts and politics. She also wrote and
blogged for AlertNet, Reuters' humanitarian news website.
Joe Herbert, New York Herald. Joe Herbert has the lead military reporter for the New York Herald for ten years. He
has deployed with U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and at sea in the Middle East and the Pacific. He is a
graduate of Columbia's college of journalism.
John Meindl, AP: Award winning wartime reporter with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Horn of
Africa. In addition to mainstream media, writes a Blog entitled "Notes from the Front" with a readership of
100,000+. Meindl has a keen interest in disaster recovery and humanitarian relief.
Alexus Buhari - The Guardian
Ms. Buhari is an editor and writer at The Guardian an independent daily newspaper considered to be "Nigeria's most
respected newspaper." Before joining The Guardian, Buhari wrote about security, international development and
women's issues. She worked as a freelance journalist, writing about the United Nations Development Fund for
Women responsible for opening two women's referral centers--a small place of solace for abused, battered or raped
women.
Nigel Warburton, BBC: West Africa beat reporter, grew up in the Gambia, has covered all of the major issues in
the region over the last 15 years, including conflicts in Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Has frequently
authored pieces critical of the Nigerian government and its repression.
Mark Williams, UPI, military desk, OIF and OEF embed experience, 16 years on the job, Radford University
Journalism grad 1995.
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Theme/Messages
Theme: Prudent planning in support Government of
Centerland
Security is a necessary condition for prosperity and lasting democratic institutions
We condemn the actions of the LLA and recognize its actions are outside of
international law and jeopardize the security of its citizens

Regional challenges require cooperative solutions
Department of Defense and US Geo Command will be part of a much larger United
States response to a Government of Centerland Request for Assistance we will be
cooperating with many agencies and partners from across the region to plan for all
contingencies

US Geo Command is committed to lasting partnerships
The US Military has a long history of working with international relief organizations and
host nations to reach those effected by terror and disaster we are planning
accordingly.

DoD has unique capabilities which can provide a range of assistance options
Geo Command forces bring unique capabilites to this crisis to support the Government
of Centerland as requested to include providing a secure environment for relief
organizations, medical support, transportation, engineering, and heavy lift
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Possible Topics of Interest
Planning efforts
DoD capabilities
Security posture (right to
self-defense)
Enemy activity; our plans
and/or reaction (stick to
facts/stay in lane)
Regional and international
cooperation (stay in lane)
Current events, i.e.
kidnappings, bombings (stick
to facts/stay in lane)
DoD presence (none
planning only)
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Topics to Avoid
Speculation on mission,
endstate
Christian vs. Muslim
Political stability in the
country
UN, USG policies
Security posture pending
deployments
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U.S. GEO COMMAND is conducting reasonable planning efforts to support
a request for assistance from the Government of Centerland. We along
with the rest of the Department of Defense and the US Government affirm
our support for the rule of law and sovereignty and territorial integrity of
Centerland. We regret the loss of life and damage to civilian structures that
has resulted from the terrorist attacks in Centerland. All of our planning
efforts are in support of UNSCR X132, and we will work with all US
Government and international partners to ensure the Government of
Centerland has all the assistance it needs to meet immediate humanitarian
needs. As always - with the understanding US GEO COMMAND forces
will be operating in an Uncertain Operational environment - the safety and
security of Americans is paramount. Our planning will ensure the
humanitarian and security operations will be conducted with the GOC and
its populace in mind, giving deference to the sovereign nation and its
leaders.
Opening Statement
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Holding Statements
HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS.
Im sorry, but Geo Command policy is to not discuss hypothetical situations
or events, so I cant help you.

INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES.
For security reasons, Geo Command does not discuss actual, alleged, or
perceived intelligence activities.

TROOP MOVEMENTS.
For security reasons, Geo Command does not discuss troop movements, or
rumors of troop movements.

MILITARY PLANNING.
Geo Command is conducting reasonable planning efforts to support request
for assistance from the Government of Centerland to the United States.
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Potential Qs/As
Q: What is your mission here?
A: We are here in a planning capacity. I have a roughly 20-person team
here working hard to plan how best to support the request Centerland
has made to the United States for military support.
Q: How is the US Military supporting Centerland currently?
A: At the request of Centerland, through the US State Department, we
are assisting with reasonable planning efforts in support of UNSCR
X132.
Q: What is the extent of your planning efforts?
A: Right now we are trying to anticipate where we might be needed until
specific requests for DoD assistance are made. Historically, DoD has
been asked to provide equipment and specialized assistance unique
capabilities if you will that only the military has. Things like our heavy
lift helicopters. Our engineering assets. The security our ground
forces provide. Communications support is another. We are focusing
our planning efforts on where these unique capabilities will be called
upon to assist the people of Centerland.

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Potential Qs/As (cont.)
Q: How long are you going to be in Centerland?
A: First, we are only planning no forces are in Centerland. Second, like
any mission we take on we plan to complete the tasks that are assigned to
us well stay until the mission is done.
Q: There have been numerous lives lost in terrorist attacks in
Centerland what is the US Military going to do to stop these attacks.
A: First, we regret the loss of life and damage to civilian infrastructure. We
condemn the actions of the LLA and recognize its actions are outside of
international law and jeopardize the security of its citizens. Obviously, the
security of our own personnel and those of innocent Centerlandians is one
of the critical considerations in our planning efforts.
Q: What capabilities does the US Military have that can assist
Centerland?
A: We have a multitude of capabilities to include security, engineering,
heavy lift, logistics to support humanitarian assistance, and non-combatant
evacuation assistance.
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Potential Qs/As (cont.)
Q: What forces have you committed so far?
A: We are still in the planning stages and have not committed any
capabilities at the time. However, the Department of Defense offers a
unique set of capabilities that we are prepared to provide upon request.
These capabilities include communications support, transportation, public
works and engineering, emergency management, public health and medical
service, to name a few.
Q: Why is the US Military supporting Centerland?
A: First and foremost, the Government of Centerland has requested US
Government assistance most of which only the military can provide. But
US GEO Command has always been committed to a lasting partnership
with Centerland and its people. We know that security in the region is a
necessary condition for peace and prosperity.

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Media Interviews 101
1. Do your homework. Be prepared.
2. Relax and be yourself.
3. Stay in your lane and dont
speculate.
4. Use conversational language.
5. If you dont know, say so and
offer to get back to the reporter
with the answer. Then follow up.
6. Always be honest. Always.
7. Take a few seconds to think about
your answer.
8. Never say no comment.
9. Speak with confidence in the fact
that you are the subject matter
expert.
10. Use a command message in every
answer.
11. Know that most media questions
are non-threatening, however
12. Reporters do seek drama and conflict.
13. Dont argue, but
14. Dont be afraid to correct a reporters
facts.
15. If a reporter interrupts you, pause, let
the reporter finish, and then finish your
answer.
16. Know that you can politely decline to
answer.
17. If a reporter asks multiple questions,
say: Youve asked several questions.
Let me respond to the first
18. You can ask the reporter to repeat,
restate, or explain a question.
19. Maintain a professional attitude at all
times.
20. Be available for follow-up questions
and/or additional interviews.
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Name:
Date:
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Notes:











Flagging:
Blocking:
Bridging:
Prepping:
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Sample Engagement AAR
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Media Engagement Report
Summary:
Engagement time and date: 051300JUN12
Media Outlets: Sharon GarceauNYT, John Meindl-Associated Press, Mark WilliamsUPI
Location of Interview: USGEOCOM HQ, 1
st
floor command group office
Subject Matter Expert: Navy CDR Craig Bangor, OPT Lead, USGEOGOM Planning Cell
Duration of interview: 28 minutes
Projected air / publish date/time: 061800JUN12
Topics covered:
1. Planning in preparation for contingency operations in Centerland
2. Unique DoD capabilities being considered for operations
3. Overview of military planning process







Assessment of engagement: Anticipate coverage being neutral to positive. Overall theme
of the interview was awareness of initial planning efforts for possible contingency operations
in Centerland. The SME answered approximately 14 questions over 28 minutes. Format for
the interview was informal with three media representatives asking questions with the entire
interview being taped. SME stayed on topic reiterating planning was an ongoing iterative and
collaborative effort. While interviewers asked several questions that invited speculation
SME avoided answering and bridged to appropriate top-line messages. SMEs use of
opening and closing statements were well received and should be utilized in the future.
Suggest SME refine answers for next interview as responses trended long.
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SME AAR Comments
Questions asked:
1. What planning are you conducting?
2. What options are you planning for?
3. What specific capabilities are you looking at?
4. What forces do you have moving into theater?
5. If HA/DR is a possibility what are you looking at as far as a threat? What are the
regional threats?
6. Where there is a threat for instance smuggling how will you interdict it?
7. What are you doing about the American Students trapped in Centerland?
8. Is Grenada a good example of how we execute NEO?
9. What is normalcy in Centerland? What will Centerland look like after we leave?
10. How does the planning process work please explain in laymens terms?
11. What is your military background?
12. How do you feel about the current situation in Centerland how would you feel about
going in there?
13. What can the US do about piracy off the Centerland coast?
14. What about WMD how can you protect our Soldiers from that threat and what are the
challenges in finding WMD?


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SME AAR Comments
Observation: Responses too long
Discussion: When queried you tend to be long on your responses. Responses averaged 1-2 minutes.
Recommendation: Improve. Effective responses are one part message, one part talking point in under 20 seconds. Once
you get into the rhythm of answering questions this way it gets much easier.

Observation: Be careful inviting criticism
Discussion: You made statements like in the past the public has been critical and I know some people have been critical
about This invites the reporter to ask you to clarify what you are referencing and could leave you open to delving into
a topic we dont want to talk about.
Recommendation: Improve. When a reporter asks you directly about conflict or touchy issues its acceptable to
acknowledge them and move on. In the future stick to your top-line messages and avoid opening yourself up for an
enterprising reporter.

Observation: Deferring questions
Discussion: When queried about issues that were outside of your lane you deferred these questions to subject matter
experts like the POLAD, Department of State, and Theater Security experts.
Recommendation: Sustain. This is a great technique to use and you should sustain for future engagements.

Observation: Definition of normal
Discussion: One of the questions asked you to define what normalcy was in Centerland. Further the reporter wanted you
to define what normal would look like after the US leaves.
Recommendation: Improve. Normal is relative who knows what that means. You should avoid discussion of this and
bridge to one of your top-line messages. Bridging to a security message or support to the GoC would be more
appropriate.

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SME AAR Comments
Observation: Body language
Discussion: Overall body language was good. You had a reassuring demeanor and spoke with confidence. Be careful
looking down when you read your notes your voice trails off.
Recommendation: Sustain. Only suggestion would be when referencing your notes look down, pause, and look back on
the interviewers before starting to talk again.

Observation: Use of opening / closing statements
Discussion: You chose to use opening and closing statements. The statements were well received and allowed you to set
the tone for the engagement. Your closing statement allowed you to hit your top-line messages one last time.
Recommendation: Sustain. Just be careful about reading your notes / statement while on-camera.

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Sample Engagement Report
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Media Engagement Report
Summary:
Engagement time and date: 051300JUN12
Media Outlets: Sharon GarceauNYT, John Meindl-Associated Press, Mark WilliamsUPI
Location of Interview: USGEOCOM HQ, 1
st
floor command group office
Subject Matter Expert: Navy CDR Craig Bangor, OPT Lead, USGEOGOM Planning Cell
Duration of interview: 28 minutes
Projected air / publish date/time: 061800JUN12
Topics covered:
1. Planning in preparation for contingency operations in Centerland
2. Unique DoD capabilities being considered for operations
3. Overview of military planning process







Assessment of engagement: Anticipate coverage being neutral to positive. Overall theme
of the interview was awareness of initial planning efforts for possible contingency operations
in Centerland. The SME answered approximately 14 questions over 28 minutes. Format for
the interview was informal with three media representatives asking questions with the entire
interview being taped. SME stayed on topic reiterating planning was an ongoing iterative and
collaborative effort. While interviewers asked several questions that invited speculation
SME avoided answering and bridged to appropriate top-line messages. SMEs use of
opening and closing statements were well received and should be utilized in the future.
Suggest SME refine answers for next interview as responses trended long.