During a Crisis: Establish and Transition Guide

Checklist 3 min
Use this checklist to hit the ground running upon short-notice deployment to a crisis or emergency.

This checklist provides best practices for establishing a public affairs task force capability and facilitating the transition from the initial capability to the relieving and/or enduring capability. Use this checklist as a starting point and tailor to specific mission requirements as needed.


  1. Ensure manuals, forms and guides are current in electronic and paper forms
    1. Add electronic versions to laptop prior to departure
  2. Review Public Affairs Guide (PAG) and Strategic/Tier 0 Guidance, if available
  3. Establish interagency coordination with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and/or embassy public affairs officers (PAOs) -- local authorities if possible
  4. Identify and establish team roles
  5. Ensure access to all of the systems used by various agencies for Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA)


  1. Check-in at the crisis or emergency as soon as possible after arriving on-scene
  2. Review the Site Safety and Health plan, if available
    1. Review and understand all of the incident hazards and mitigation strategies
  3. During the first 24-48 hours:
    1. Conduct PA Assessment/Environmental Estimate (formal, informal or hasty)
    2. Integrate with the command group and ID staff networks and processes
    3. Identify and establish communication requirements (NIPR, SIPR, printer, phones)
    4. Brief the commander
    5. Establish PA battle rhythm (integration with B2C2WG – Boards, Bureaus, Centers, Cells and Working Groups)
    6. Set up a Watch capability in the Joint Operations Center
    7. Coordinate Proposed Public Affairs Guidance (PPAG) with Components, High Authority/GCC PA (CCCI, AFRICOM, CYBERCOM, EUCOM, INDOPACOM, TRANSCOM, SPACECOM, etc.) and Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (OASD)/PA
    8. Establish initial contact with applicable external stakeholders
    9. Identify the need for and initiate applicable processes for clearances, space access, etc.
    10. Establish media desk operations
  4. During the first 96 hours:
    1. Establish specific redeployment-criteria with leadership
    2. Determine formation and process to manage commander's communication synchronization working group (CCSWG) and integrate with the command's battle rhythm
    3. Coordinate with US Department of State (DOS)/embassy PAOs in theater and other information assurance (IA) representatives
    4. Coordinate with partner nation militaries and PA/Public Information (PI) officials
    5. Integrate PA in operational planning
    6. Determine imagery release process
    7. Create boilerplate statement to go with cutline/news releases
    8. Ensure all component personnel are familiar with approved PAG, operational theme and talking points
    9. Provide general media training
    10. Identify the process for internal products to include approval/release/distribution
    11. Establish social media presence
    12. Determine relevant hashtags (#)
  5. Develop Joint Manning Document (JMD), if required
  6. Establish credentialing process, if required
  7. Establish media embed/embark tracking log
  8. Coordinate establishment of, or input to, the assessment process


  1. Ensure incoming public affairs support capability is integrated with the command group
  2. Facilitate the transition of communication requirements
  3. Manage the transition of release authority to relieving public affairs capability
  4. Validate public affairs input to JMD and recommend sources to fill any vacant positions
  5. Ensure all PA standard operating procedures (SOPs) are current, validated and accessible
  6. Conduct right seat/left seat turnover as required
  7. Validate integration of public affairs into B2C2WG
  8. Conduct right seat/left turnover of CCSWG as required
  9. Ensure Media Query Tracking log, contact lists and Public Affairs Guidance documents are validated, current and accessible
  10. Conduct right seat/left seat turnover of media desk as required
  11. Pass updates to checklist/reference guide to PA OPS

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