THE COMMAND INFORMATION BUREAU
The assignment to a command information bureau
(CIB) is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs
the senior journalist encounters.
A CIB is the focal point of news media activities
when there is great public interest in an event and many
media representatives are expected to cover it. These
events may be actual combat (Operation DESERT
STORM), training exercises (REFORGER, BIG PINE)
or serious incidents (Beirut bombing, Titan II and
USS Iowa explosions). The CIB aids in creating a
communication network that provides news media with
easy access to the broadest possible spectrum of
information about the role of the command in an event.
The CIB title is used when the event is Navy
exclusive. However, when an exercise or incident
involves two or more services, the CIB moniker is
replaced with that of the joint information bureau (JIB).
The topics discussed within this chapter apply to both
CIBS and JIBs. However, for clarity, only the CIB name
Identify the advance steps in
planning to establish a CIB.
As a senior journalist, you must recognize as soon
as possible when to set up a CIB for a particular event.
The degree and quality of planning directly affect the
success of the CIB operation. Planning is a critical first
step that covers a wide array of areas, from a news
briefing/conference time table to media credentialing,
and establishing sub-CIBs when needed. When the PAO
briefs the CO on the need for a CIB (and his approval is
given), begin advance CIB planning immediately.
PA Regs lists six planning steps you should take to
make sure the CIB serves the COs information goals.
These steps are as follows:
1. Develop a basic CIB establishment plan.
When a disaster or emergency situation hits your
command, the time needed to organize a practical
contingency response is at a premium. A solid CIB plan
helps reduce the public affairs office
while optimizing the use of personnel
This is especially important during the first hectic and
confusing minutes of a disaster or emergency.
A special event (such as the commissioning or
decommissioning of a ship or museum dedication)
requires a CIB establishment plan that delineates the
CIB arrangements and the methods of passing timely
and complete information to the media.
2. Consider CIB establishment in all con-
tingencies. A decision point on whether to start a
CIB should be a part of your commands overall
emergency action or contingency response plans.
Regardless of the contingency at hand, the bench
marks you use to determine the CIB establishment are
(1) the likelihood of many correspondents covering an
event and (2) the chance of many correspondents
crowding the public affairs office and interfering with
3. Start the CIB in advance. As the senior
journalist, you have to manage personnel and equipment
in an efficient manner to make sure the CIB plan is
properly executed. One way to take the guesswork out
of this is by establishing the CIB in advance of the
operation, exercise or other high-interest event (save
accidents and incidents). The CIB can be mobilized as
much as 30 days in advance, giving you plenty of time
to work out any glitches.
4. Provide standard operating procedures
(SOPs). The CIB establishment plan should list SOPs
understood by all members of the CIB team. The plan
should cover the CIB configuration (and site selection,
if known), location of news conferences, methods of
serving media needs, ground rules, policies for
receiving and answering press inquiries, and so forth.
Specify CIB personnel assignments in a memorandum
and distribute it to all public affairs staff members and
other participants within the command. You may also
post these assignments on the office Watch, Quarter and
5. Specify the CIB release authority. The
commander who orders the establishment of the CIB
must determine the individual authorized to release
information to the news media and the public. The PAO
is normally the officer in charge of the CIB and receives