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Document: New Air Force Public Engagement Guidance

The following is the March 1, 2018 Air Force memo: OPSEC and Public Engagement Reset. The memo, first reported by Defense News, directs Air Force public affairs officers to put on hold media engagements until the completion of a round of operational security training.

From the Report:

1. PURPOSE: Provide commanders and public affairs offices with guidance to ensure operational security is practiced in the various public engagements in which the Air Force participates, whether through public affairs or not. The following guidance will apply to all organizations until operational security training and certification has been completed.

2. BACKGROUND: ln line with the new National Defense Strategy, the Air Force must hone its culture of engagement to include a heightened focus on practicing sound operational security. As we engage the public, we must avoid giving insights to our adversaries which could erode our military advantage. We must now adapt to the reemergence of great power competition and the reality that our adversaries are learning from what we say in public. Commanders, public affairs offices and Airmen participating in public engagements must be prepared to strike the crucial balance between providing information to the public we serve and preventing release of sensitive operational information.

This is a total force effort to improve our operational security communications actions in line with the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s operational security memorandum sent in February 2018 detailing the imperative to protect information that may provide an advantage to our enemies. As this transition occurs, the Air Force will temporarily limit the number and type of public engagements tied to operations and readiness while enhanced training is provided to commanders, public affairs professionals and Airmen representing the Air Force.

3. PUBLIC AFFAIRS POSTURE: Response to query only at all levels pending completion of operational security training as directed by Headquarters Air Force and recertification for proactive engagements. For public affairs professionals executing communication activities In support of combatant, unified and geographic commands or operations, their guidance takes precedence keeping in mind operational security considerations.