Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/707823
20 Proceedings Summer 2016 www.uscg.mil/proceedings ensure that the public was informed about what operations were underway, and that everyone clearly communicated what impact the operations would possibly have. The Story During Arctic Shield 2015, the Coast Guard worked to enhance Arctic maritime domain awareness, broaden partnerships, and improve preparedness, prevention, and response capabilities. The U.S. Coast Guard public affairs involvement was critical for making sure that the public was kept informed of all of these missions in a timely and engaging fashion. By the time the USCGC Healy departed from Seattle head- ing for the Arctic in the spring of 2015, there were already plans in place to have multiple media outlets embed aboard her. A U.S. Coast Guard public affairs officer was sent on temporary orders to assist the command during the media embeds and to ensure that the media was able to get and transmit the information they needed. Of course, this is easier said than done. Before you can get the story out, especially from such a remote location with so many agencies involved, you have to have a plan. For this oper- ation, the communications action plan detailed timelines, communications tools, key messages, and the various agencies' responsibilities. We created guidance documents that discussed current policy, concerns, environmental issues, and emergency planning. From there, the team made sure that personnel were sent to the right place to help with the outreach efforts, that everyone involved coordinated messaging to Evolving Communications Pre-Email Back in the 1980s and 1990s, getting a story from a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker could take months, as public affairs specialists needed to mail film or video. Even after email become more prevalent, once you were north or south of certain latitudes, the coverage became thin. The less coverage available, the harder it was to get imagery off the ship, and imagery was (and still is) an integral part of showing the U.S. Coast Guard missions to the public. Modern Media Challenges Now, even with satellite coverage, when a cutter enters the Arctic, we must make accommodations to get the information off the vessel fast enough to keep up with a modern, 24-hour, social media-integrated news cycle. This includes compressing image sizes to make the data packet small enough to email off the ship and waiting for the best signal to send video back to the waiting public affairs offices on land. Arctic Shield 2015 Support During Arctic Shield 2015, efforts to communicate from the far north included one television station doing a live feed from the USCGC Healy using a special satellite uplink that allowed the station to show real-time shots from the icebreaker. We also conducted interviews on the Healy via Skype with other media when their satel- lite capacity allowed. Further, we were able to provide Arctic Shield 2015 images to Admiral Zukunft's staff, who used them in a presentation just days after they were taken. Just one generation ago, this type of image would have taken weeks or months to make its way to Washington, DC. Scientists aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy collect ice cores and other data on an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Cory J. Mendenhall. The Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks through ice near the Arctic Circle. U.S. Coast Guard photo.