Lost Missiles, Lost Messages Conclusions A supplement to a presentation on crisis communication http://bit.ly/AD9xya
Crisis Communication • AFDD 2-5.3 emphasizes the important relationship between the Air Force and its stakeholders – Communication efforts bolster those relationships – Openness and transparency are necessary • In this case, policy got in the way of openness – “Neither confirm nor deny” • Crisis communication plan should account for conflicts in policies – Practicing crisis management scenarios would identify this conflict
Capabilities for Crisis Communication • In a crisis, normal rules no longer apply – Adaptability is required • HRO concept – Deference to expertise • Did leaders listen to recommendations from AFDD 2-5.3? – Decentralized decision-making authority • Who was choosing the key messages? – Evidence of organizational learning • Air Force got out ahead of the Taiwan incident
Effects on Air Force • Highest-ranking leaders fired • Strained relationship with key stakeholder groups – Congressional leaders – Local citizens/general public • Procedural changes implemented • Elite certifications revoked • Heightened media scrutiny
Discussion • Could an effective crisis communication plan have prevented any of these adverse outcomes?