Understand and Articulate Command Messages

Article 2 min
As a mass communicator in the Armed Forces, it is important to understand the overarching issues, themes, and audience that are common to the DoD, your service and your unit's mission. These are crucial in creating and identifying the appropriate command message. These represent the views of the organization, so it is important they are clear, concise and direct.

At some point in your career, you may find yourself in a situation where you will be dealing with reporters who have questions about your unit or a situation involving your area of responsibility. You need to be prepared for this type of situation before you face reporters. How well you understand and can articulate your command messages will help you plan and prepare for these tough situations.

A command message is tailored communication, directed at a specific public and aligning to a specific theme, in support of a specific end state. They are usually one sentence and may come from a variety of sources, including a Commanding Officer, a Public Affairs Officer (PAO), Public Affairs Guidance (PAG) and higher headquarters.

Review examples of command messages for each of the following situations.

The command wishes to express its condolences to the families and friends who have been affected by this tragedy. A memorial service will be held Tuesday at the post chapel.
The Department of Defense core values of integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do have not and will not change.
The post has an excellent history of fine performance in the area of military investigation.
Counseling services will be provided for the survivors of this tragic incident.
The situation is under investigation.
The quick response of the paramedics resulted in lives saved today.
The post is reviewing its safety programs to keep incidents like this from happening in the future.
The length and care taken in each case confirms the integrity of the unit's administrative, investigative and judicial processes.
The military police with the coordination and assistance of local authorities captured the suspect at approximately 10 p.m.
We are aware families will need assistance during this period. There are several agencies (name agencies) available to provide that assistance.
The unit followed normal investigative procedures to pursue all leads in a thorough, timely manner and followed law enforcement procedures designed to protect the personal rights of those involved.

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