Day-3 of the 2018 DHS/FEMA Master PIO

Day-3 of the 2018 Master PIO Program and today we are discussing a whole bunch of field tactics and Public Information Officers’ actions. Leading discussions today is Dr. Joe Trahan discussing war time strategy.

The communications challenges and the role of the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) during the Civil War.

Yes, screaming was involved.

But more importantly, the discussion point of perception vs reality. Which was more important?

President Abraham Lincoln used the telegraph like how we use the twitter but in the 1860s.

And now we Master PIO discussion ensues, focusing in on the inverted pyramid, have now changed as it relates to Civil War telegraph and how information is being sent.

Reflecting on it now, we still only pay attention to the first few seconds…then tune everything out. Hmmmmmmm.

High risk = high reward. But most real PIOs are open to high risk but low reward and pay because of political exposure. Do we as PIOs and PAOs serve at the behest of the agency lead? Or do we serve the mission objective?

I had an Assistant Fire Chief that always told me that we all “serve at the behest of the Mayor’s pleasure!” I HATED that phrase! Partly because I think it was a lie and because we don’t serve only the Mayor, we serve the community, the public, and their best interest in mind. We as public servants don’t serve just one person (slavery abolished in the US).

The Master PIO class discussed a few other topics including on December 20th, 1860, the State of South Carolina decided to leave the USA.

What the?!?!?

Just imagine being the South Carolina PIO and what kinds of things you would need to prepare for that kind of media frenzy. Yikes.

Speaking of incident command and the command and general staff, we talked a ton about how history often repeats itself.

This included heavy discussion of Sickles freelancing from his command orders including direct verbal command orders in front of his entire staff. But self-promotion of his injury and political ties changed the narrative on disobeying official orders.

Cemetery Hill provided some incredible moments for education and reflection today. *The effectiveness of a coordinated offense with their “fish hook” line. *The surprise element of a well positioned coordinated offensive force behind the low wall. *The coordination of a small well-trained force to dissipate the larger and better trained force.

Despite being over 150 years old, our review of these #CivilWar #tactics challenges us as #commanders and #leaders of our organizations. We must review the historical events so that we can learn and enact better operational plans today. This “lessons learned” is an inherent process ingrained in #EmergencyManagement.

Even 150 years later, an After Action Review (AAR) of events is critical for any professional. Command & General Staff USA assess how their actions affected mission success including completion of SMART Objectives.

And if you were wondering which discipline does the best kind of AARs? Why yes, Emergency Management is primary because they do the coordination and have the best all-hazards understanding of roles and responsibilities for all involved in the tactical operation including all the Emergency Support Functions and Command and General Staff.

Reporting live from the field history class…


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