Balancing Your Right to Know against Operational Security with US Marine Corps Public Affairs Officer Major Danny Chung
Eric Schwartzman: Friday, November 6, 2009 | 8:54 PM
United States Marine Corps Major Danny Chung discusses his role as a public affairs officer, pulling Geraldo Rivera out of the desert during Operation Iraqi Freedom and balancing the American people’s right to know against operational security during combat situations.
00:56 -- Why Danny Chung decided to enlist in US Marine Corps in 1990.
02:07 – What it was about the Marine Corps versus the Army, Navy and Air Force that attracted him.
04:00 – How he wound up in media relations, which was certainly not his intention when he originally joined.
04:48 – Major Chung discusses his experience managing media relations in Iraq before and after former president George W. Bush command the US Armed Forces to invade Iraq on March 19, 2003.
06:05 – Major Chung talks about his experience getting the USMC story out to professional journalists in today’s highly polarized news media environment.
07:41 – Major Chung’s opinion of Fox News.
09:22 – Using access to newsmakers and other military public affairs officers as a way to influence the media coverage that gets generated.
11:44 – The mandate of a United States Marine Corps public affairs officer.
12:41 – Pulling Geraldo Rivera out of the desert during Operation Iraqi Freedom for compromising operational security and the more difficult aspects of balancing the American public’s right to know against operational and national security now and in the distant future.
14:41 – The single biggest lesson that all Marine officers learn.
16:06 –How a conservative, command and control style organization like the US Marines Corps is approaching social media engagement.
18:34 -- Casey Peterson
asks if social media has replaced the letter home and if the Marines are monitoring that information for loose lips.
20:06 – The role of a public affairs officer and leadership in monitoring social media conversations, the pervasiveness of digital media in lives of service members today and the Abu Ghraib prison photos scandal as a case study for when things go wrong.
22:18 – Getting the good and the bad news out as quickly as possible.
23:12 – The prospect of living up to the motto “every Marine a spokesperson” by making laptops and handhelds standard issue.
24:14 – How the USMC public affairs staff mitigates risk be briefing their fellow Marines on dealing with the press.
25:39 – How to convince a commanding officer who may be older and less engaged that things like search engine optimization and social media matter, when they don’t even know what these channels are.
33:03 – Fighting to preserve the right of people to freely protest and express their opinions.
34:02 – Erik Deutsch
asks about the US Military’s social media strategy in the Middle East, to which Major Chung responds that print and radio are more of a factor in those theaters.
36:16 – The notion of using social media for information operations and the use of handheld devices to Tweet during the Islamic Republic of Iran’s recent electoral protests.
38:56 – Major Chung responds to a passage from a feature story
in Wired Magazine about how Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is focusing on winning the war today and his decision to ramp up production of armed transports deployed in Iraq.
41:28 – Major Chung talks about driving around Bagdad in a soft skinned Humvee.
44:05 – Major Chung shares his personal perspective on the effectiveness of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates versus former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
46:41 – End
On the Record…Online returns as the Official PR Podcast of the 2009 PRSA International Conference, which will be in San Diego, Oct. 7-10, 2009. Other US Armed Forces public affairs officers who will be interviewed at the conference include:
- Lt. Col. Ann Peru Knabe, APR, public affairs officer, Pentagon War Court Spokesperson, U.S. Air Force Reserve
- Col. Rudy Burwell, director, Army Reserve Communications
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