Communication Planning as a Process

Article 3 min
Familiarize yourself with the RPIE communication planning process and how to apply it.

Research, planning, implementation and evaluation (RPIE) are the core pieces of the communication planning process. Though they all differ slightly, the RPIE process is built into all military planning processes from the Joint Planning Process (JPP) to the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP).

RPIE is the official DINFOS communication planning process.

In the JPP, research occurs during step 1, initiation, and step 2, mission analysis. Planning occurs during steps 3 through 6. Implementation is step 7, and evaluation happens after the process is complete, during plan assessment. Being aware of the purpose of each step will help create a more comprehensive and clear plan.

Explore each RPIE component to familiarize yourself with the process.

Click a target to reveal more in-depth information.


Diagram of each of the following steps in a cycle
Book icon


Joint Planning Process Steps 1-2

Provide the foundation for all the other steps in the problem-solving process. Helps to define the problem or opportunity.

Explores questions such as:

  • Who is involved or affected?
  • What is the source of concern?
  • When does this opportunity or problem present itself?
  • Where is it of concern/presented?
  • Why is this an opportunity or problem for the command?
  • Why is this an opportunity or problem for relevant actors?
  • How does this opportunity or problem impact a command’s intent?
Checklist icon


Joint Planning Process Steps 3-6

Make decisions about goals, relevant actors, publics, objectives, strategies, tactics, activities, relationships and messages.

  • Identify target stakeholders, organizations, relevant actors, publics and audiences
    • Who does this opportunity or problem affect?
  • Set goals and objectives
    • Focus on impact or influence of knowledge, attitude or behavior
  • Determine strategies and tactics
    • Set out specific approaches and mechanisms for employment
    • Include drafts of all proposed material
  • Develop themes, messages and talking points
    • Identify differences in messages for various target stakeholders, organizations, relevant actors, publics and audiences
  • Create an evaluation plan
    • Discuss evaluation of all metrics to assess the impact of the communication plan
Megaphone icon


Joint Planning Process Step 7

Use strategic implementation by focusing on stakeholder management, content management and organizational considerations to carry out the plan. Remember, implementation is about communicating with impact at the speed of relevance.


Stakeholder Management

  • Internal, external, proximity and career field stakeholders identified during planning
  • Proactively include career field colleagues to be current and ready to leverage opportunity

Content Management

  • Creation, execution and adaption of content calendars and productions matrices

Organizational Considerations

  • Ensure leaders understand communication strategy concepts, vision, context, creativity, themes, narratives, messages and how they can participate
Chart icon


Joint Planning Process Plan Assessment

Assess the progress and results of the program to answer the questions:

  • How are we doing?
  • How did we do?

To answer those questions, consider:

Measurable Objectives

  • Metrics used will relate to research
  • Address the objectives and assess impact


  • On what are you basing your success or progress?
  • What is your starting point or reasonable comparison?


  • What factors will determine your ability to carry out the evaluation?
  • At what points during the plan will measurement and evaluation take place?

Discover More You May Like

View All Articles