officials can reveal a great deal about previous programs
and the lessons learned from them. If a base-community
council exists, the members and records of the council
will offer valuable information.
Defining the Problem
Once the fact finding and analysis are completed,
you are prepared to determine the key community
relations problems of the command. When the problems
have been defined, the solutions must be provided and
decisions made to prevent or correct them. After the
problems have been clearly stated, you are ready to
develop a plan of action. Some of the problems can be
remedied without conducting a full-blown community
relations effort. This is done by referring obvious and
easily correctable problems to the proper repre-
sentatives or by setting up committees to cope with each
area of interest. Their recommendations maybe carried
out directly by the base-community council or through
the organizations concerned. Some problems caused by
a considerable lack of understanding in the community
of the mission and contributions of the military to the
local community may require special plans of action.
These plans are integrated into the overall community
relations program. A community relations program
requires long-range or strategic planning that, in turn,
will require short-range or tactical plans to accomplish
the goals of the long-term plans. All must be interrelated.
Planning begins with a draft of the proposed
community relations program, including a statement of
objectives and a tentative schedule of projects and
activities. It should contain a statement of policy and
general philosophy, using such guidelines as the PAO,
CO and higher authority may provide. The basic
statement also should spell out specific delegations of
authority for community relations activities. This will
provide a frame of reference for the listing of
objectives-long-range and short-range-and a blueprint
for operations. (A sample community relations plan can
be found in PA Regs, Chapter 4.)
Working from the general proposal and considering
the program objectives with the facts gathered in the
survey and analysis, you should plot ways and means of
attaining community relations goals.
Consider the following questions with respect to
each community relations objective:
l Which publics are involved?
What guidelines and directives must be
What projects or activities can contribute to the
attainment of the goal?
The authors of Effective Public Relations, Scott M.
Cutlip, Allen H. Center and Glen M. Broom, believe that
every community relations project or activity must be
measured against its contributions to organizational
goals. For instance, the DuPont Company follows a
checklist that measures each project with an analysis
What is the objective this project is designed to
gain or approach?
Is the objective sound and desirable?
Are there collateral advantages?
Is the project possible?
Can it be done with existing personnel?
Does it involve cooperation outside the
Is it counter to sound public relations policy?
Is it counter to company policy?
Is the expense too high in relation to possible
Can it embarrass sales, production or research?
Where is the money coming from?
What are the penalties of failure?
Why do it now?
Why do it that way?
Who approved the project?
Who must be informed?
Obviously, every command cannot afford a
full-blown community relations program. Others may
find it necessary to develop a phased program,
beginning with a few key program elements and adding
others regularly. Experts believe that the basic elements
that a command begin with are the following:
An effective ship or station newspaper
A speakers bureau
Correspondence with opinion leaders and