A Public Affairs Officer (PAO)/Public Information Officer (PIO) Training and Conference will be held at the 2017 State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on 22 September. This will be the first training and conference for SGAUS PAO/PIO personnel, and it will be modeled on trainings held for Judge Advocate Generals (JAG) and Chaplains. Content for this full day training is yet to be finalized, but it is expected that sessions will cover topics such as National Incident Management System (NIMS) Basic Guidance for Public Information Officers, best practices for State Defense Force (SDF) PAOs at headquarters and unit level, recommendations for table top exercises for PAO/PIO personnel, and additional trainings and information.
The rationale for the training is to heighten awareness of duties of PAO/PIO personnel in SDFs. In the 21st century the role of the PAO with respect to public information, especially with a rapidly changing social media environment and the role that SDFs play in disaster relief, is increasingly important. To function professionally the PAO should begin to work toward an attitude of a professional information officer, and training and best practices of PAO/PIO officers will be shared to help achieve this end. SDFs can improve in getting the story of SDFs and their mission to all Americans, and these techniques can be learned and practiced. The way to do this is to begin the development of a professional PAO corps. Doing so will have a positive affect on public perception, influencing state legislators and recruitment as well as creating a sense of community among SDF forces.
Examples of content that will be discussed include how to run social media inside an SDF unit (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram); write articles for SGAUS and SDF magazines and newsletters; shoot photo’s, post-process pictures, and maintain an archive; shoot and edit video and upload to DVIDS and maintain an archive; produce commemorative items (t-shirts, poker chips, photo books, coins, and other paraphernalia); and keep a history of the unit.
More information on the PAO/PIO Conference and Training can be had by contacting 1LT Steven Estes at LTSteven.Estes@icloud.com.