Joint Planning Process and Public Affairs Actions

Article 3 min
Learn the specific PA actions to take during each step of the Joint Planning Process.

Public Affairs (PA) planners participate throughout the planning process. This process includes consideration of lessons learned to help guide operational design and assist in anticipating responses to future events. This understanding will shape the commander’s initial planning guidance and intent, which must include communication considerations. Joint Planning Process (JPP) is a proven analytical process which provides a methodical approach to planning at any organizational level and at any point before and during joint planning.

Planners focus on developing situational understanding of the operational environment (OE) to include media infrastructure, capability and bias, as well as the social and cultural characteristics of key areas. As part of this, PA should conduct a PMESII-PT (Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, Infrastructure, Physical Environment and Time) to gain situational understanding and awareness of the information environment in and around the OE. Planners must also analyze the mission, the end state and objectives, while reviewing applicable strategic guidance to identify the PA tasks (specified, implied and essential) and develop initial PA staff estimates.

The following table shows examples of specific PA activities conducted for each step of the JPP.

Joint Planning Process and the corresponding Public Affairs Actions in each step
JPP Steps PA Actions

1. Initiation


2. Mission Analysis

  • Begin analysis of the OE
  • Participate in Joint Intelligence Preparation of the OE
  • Review the following for PA implications:
    • National strategic guidance
    • Higher headquarters planning directive
    • Initial Joint Force Commander's intent
  • Provide PA perspective during mission analysis
  • Identify intelligence requirements for PA support in planning
  • Identify specified, implied and essential PA tasks
  • Develop PA input to the mission statement
  • Conduct initial PA force structure analysis including the need for Visual Information support, America Forces Radio and Television Service and the DOD National Media Pool
  • Develop PA facts and assumptions
  • Develop PA estimates
  • Participate in all cross-functional staff organizations related to planning

3. Course of Action (COA) Development


4. COA Analysis and Wargaming


5. COA Comparison


6. COA Approval

  • Participate in COA development; identify needed PA capabilities and forces required as well as shortfalls
  • Participate in COA analysis and wargaming; identify advantages and disadvantages of each COA from a PA perspective
  • Revise the PA staff estimate as needed based on wargaming
  • Provide PA input on COA recommendation
  • Continued participation in all cross-functional staff organizations

7. Plan or Order Development

  • Refine PA requirements (capabilities, force structure, equipment/logistics and other resources) to support the COA
  • Provide PA personnel requirements of the request for forces
  • Participate in the time-phased force and deployment data build/validation as applicable
  • Continued participation in all cross-functional staff organizations related to planning
  • Provide input to the operational planning process for all applicable annexes including B, C, D, G, O, V and annex F of JP 3-61
  • Coordinate any administrative or contracting requirements
  • Develop and submit proposed Public Affairs Guidance to higher headquarters for review/approval
  • Coordinate with subordinate PA staffs to ensure plan synchronization and a smooth transition to deployed operations

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