Combating Ineffective Public Involvement with the U.S. Military

Public Involvement Program Purpose

Our Military Clients:

 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers                 U.S. Navy                    U.S. Air Force               U.S. Marine Corps

U.S. Missile Defense Agencyd  d       ddU.S. Army                   U.S. Coast Guard

No matter the location or project specifics, there are common challenges we all face when trying to involve “the public”— identifying and reaching the appropriate audiences, crafting effective project messages, communicating accurate and public-friendly information, and gathering the most substantive and useful input. The U.S. military faces these challenges across vast geographic areas of responsibility, where citizen interests and cultural norms greatly vary from region to region. Myriad audiences and divergent interests, along with the oftentimes polarizing subject matter of military training, can intensify the complexity of managing an effective public involvement program.

To overcome some of these challenges, we’ve worked with the military for more than 15 years on expanding public involvement and outreach efforts beyond legal requirements to enhance communication with stakeholders. We view effective outreach as a process based on clearly defined, outcome-oriented goals: What do we want to achieve through outreach and involvement? What are our desired outcomes? Asking these questions, and agreeing on the answers, is a critical step for ensuring program success. We strive to be strategic, targeted and innovative while fully understanding the constraints the military faces, such as available personnel, tight budgets and accelerated schedules.

Our Outreach Vision

We have guided our military clients towards adopting a strategic approach to outreach, and with them have developed a solid framework for planning efforts, which is then tailored to the specific project, location, issues, stakeholders, and community and cultural norms. We do not take a cookie-cutter approach to outreach. Our eight-step approach is a result of extensive experience supporting the military with their unique challenges, incorporating lessons learned, and continually adapting and evolving with changing circumstances.

8 Steps to Effective Public Involvement

Working with our military clients, we continually creates effective strategies, communication tools and techniques that:

  • Facilitate and improve stakeholder and public engagement efforts
  • Are cost-effective
  • Maximize outreach and involvement opportunities

Implementation of enhanced outreach programs has resulted in a broader and deeper understanding amongst stakeholders of the military mission and need for training. Together with our clients, we have significantly increased meaningful public input, and helped to open and expand an environment of trust and support.