Monday, May 11, 2009

Bad News And Commanders

Getting hit in the media can sometimes have more long term negative effects than physical casualties. The recent credibility debacle arising from airstrikes in Afghanistan is disturbing on many levels and a very good – bad example.

First of all CDR, especially senior ones, should know that, unlike wine or chicken soup – bad news does not get better with age. CDR should also know that sooner or later the ‘truth’ will come out. Consequently it makes sense to know where your bombs are landing and to be ready to admit when things going awry.

Commercial Public Relations (PR) experts will advise to get out in front of the event and take the moral high ground. Admit what happened, take responsibility, describe how you will help to set things right and then detail the steps you are taking to make sure it won’t happen again.

Of course this has to be in the context of not giving the enemy the feeling that you are abandoning the weapons systems and conveying that you won’t hesitate to bring air power to the fight whenever necessary.

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