VI Shipboard Operations Guidance

Checklist 2 min
Understand the roles and processes for visual information shipboard operations.

Navy MC's support a variety of visual information (VI) responsibilities when they are assigned to a ship. OPTASK VI are no-fail missions to visually document key moments of unsafe, unprofessional or abnormal interactions by vessels and/or aircraft of other nations against U.S. assets. The imagery products provide higher headquarters with a full narrative to inform operational decision-making, intelligence analysis, and, if released, public consumption via media outlets. If released, these products provide external audiences with enough information to communicate an accurate and timely account of what transpired and win the battle of the narrative. It is critical that you do not miss capturing the imagery because you will not get another chance.

Visual information personnel (VIPER) teams provide documentation of these interactions, according to a prescribed set of timelines, to higher headquarters for potential public release.

You may also be assigned to a Ship’s Nautical Or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Examination (SNOOPIE) event when an unknown contact comes within visual range. Still and motion imagery of these contacts helps identify the contact and inform the Tactical Action Officer, Intelligence Officer and Commanding Officer of a contact's weaponry and posture. Be prepared to respond quickly and know your role when these events happen.

Use this checklist when deployed on a VI shipboard operation to familiarize yourself with ship communication, protocols and responsibilities. Understand the operational environment and be prepared to respond when potentially unsafe, unprofessional or abnormal situations develop so you can capture the lead up and the actual event.

  • Prepare for the mission:
    • Test all equipment to make sure it functions correctly
    • Practice capturing still photo, motion imagery, and full-motion, high definition video during the day
    • Practice capturing still photo, motion imagery, and full-motion, high definition video at night
    • Learn and understand the context for the mission so you are prepared to tell the story
    • Know the process for transmitting and disseminating imagery to the Maritime Operations Center
  • Coordinate your mission tasks with the VI Planner, Fleet OPTASK VI, Fleet Forces and Pacific Fleet commands, and the ship's PAO and/or Media Department Chief/Leading Petty Officer
  • Know your daily VI mission requirements in support of VI tasking and the commander's intent
  • Do NOT go on the flight deck without an escort
  • Do NOT use flash photography on the flight deck
  • Get clearance before going into any Reactor spaces
  • Protect your equipment at all times and use handrails as ladders can be steep and slippery
  • Use a wide field of view and capture broader activity when shooting interactions
  • Capture still and video imagery of as many angles as possible

  • Know your VIPER Team role and responsibilities
  • Disseminate video and still photos to the Maritime Operations Center within 40 minutes, or sooner, to counter propaganda and disinformation
  • Include a Textual Summary of the event and a Public Affairs Statement when producing VIPER products


In a SNOOPIE event, follow these guidelines.

  • Know your SNOOPIE team role and responsibilities (team leader, recorder, photographer, videographer and photography team leader) so you can quickly respond accordingly
  • Know the POC for the VI products
  • Capture the actions of unidentified contacts within visual range via still photographs, videos and taking notes
  • Capture still and imagery of the contact’s actions and how it interacts with the ship from as many angles as possible
  • Take notes digitally or on paper of an unidentified contact's interaction with the ship
  • Capture any possible weaponry, radars and antennas, their posture, and whether they are manned or unmanned
  • Relay all information up the chain of command to help the Tactical Action Officer (TAO) and Commanding Officer (CO) understand the entire tactical picture of the ship’s contacts for tactical decision-making, and to the Intelligence Officer (IO) for analysis

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