Accession Number:

ADA279556

Title:

Media Coverage and its Impact on the Operational Commander

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI DEPT OF OPERATIONS

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1994-06-17

Pagination or Media Count:

36.0

Abstract:

The impact of media coverage at the operational level of war is analyzed through a historical review of media war coverage. Restrictions imposed on freedom of the press during Americas past wars are presented. Media coverage is evaluated in relation to its ability to affect operational security, deception schemes, the element of surprise and public opinion or the support of the people. During the Gulf War, the military successfully coordinated media coverage in the theater, preventing major breaches of operational security while presenting a positive image of U.S. troops at war. They did this through a formal review system and control of access by media representatives to military operations. Although the tight controls imposed on the media during the Gulf were successful, it is unlikely that a similar system will be as effective during Americas next conflict. Circumstances unique to the Gulf War made enforcement of the restrictions possible. To be as successful in future conflicts, the military must be flexible and come prepared. The side which evaluates and plans for the impact of media coverage in theater will have a significant advantage. Public affairs experts should be brought in at the early planning stages of a campaign. This will not only allow development of an effective scheme for managing media coverage but will also provide a means of ensuring that the possible effects of media coverage are understood and considered in developing and selecting a concept of operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE