Working as a civilian in a military environment comes with it own challenges and many people outside such environment are curious of what it takes to work there. Mr. Enoch Tetteh Nanor Opata is a young man who has been working with the Ghana Armed forces for years now.
This reporter drew closer to this fine gentleman who works with the Ghana Armed Forces as a Defence Civilian Staff and currently acting as the 2 Garrison Public Relations Officer to find out what it takes to work in a military environment as a civilian.
We were curious to know what it takes to be the PRO in a military setting as a civilian and this is what Mr Enoch Tetteh Nanor Opata has got to say.
How long have you been working with the military as a Civilian?
I have been working with the military as a Civilian for fourteen years now.
What does heading a Military PR detachment as a civilian entail?
Heading a Public Relations (PR) detachment as a civilian entails taking on a leadership role responsible for managing and directing the Public Relations efforts within a military context.
It involves not only having expertise in public relations but also the ability to navigate the unique challenges and dynamics of a military environment. Your experience and delivery plays an important role in that regard. It also requires strategic thinking, effective leadership, and the capacity to represent the military in a positive and transparent manner to both internal and external audiences.
Working as a Civilian Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the military involves steering a unique professional landscape that combines the demands of military operations with the principles of public relations and communication. I, automatically serve as a liaison between the military establishment and the civilian world, playing a crucial part in shaping public perception and understanding of the armed forces.
What does it mean to be a Civilian PRO in a military context?
The military operates within a unique culture and structure. One’s experience as a civilian PRO in this context demonstrates his/her adaptability to different work environments and your capacity to understand and integrate into diverse organisational cultures.
Being a civilian PRO in a military context also means adapting to the unique culture and language of the Armed Forces. Understanding military protocols, rank structures, and operational considerations is essential for effective communication and collaboration with military personnel. I also have to provide leadership and strategic direction to my team. This involves developing overarching communication strategies, setting goals, and ensuring that the detachment's efforts align with the larger objectives of the military.
Can you mention some of your primary responsibilities?
One of my primary responsibilities as a civilian PRO in the military is to develop and implement strategic communication plans. This involves crafting messages that effectively convey the military's mission, values, and contributions to society. Whether through press releases, media interviews, or social media campaigns, my goal is to highlight the positive aspects of military activities and foster public support.
Is your role limited to managing external communications?
My role is not limited to managing external communication; I also work closely with internal stakeholders within the military. I collaborate with military leaders, personnel, and various departments, to ensure that my communication efforts align with the organisation's goals and objectives. Effective internal communication is crucial for maintaining a cohesive and informed military community. This includes communicating with military personnel to ensure a cohesive internal understanding of communication strategies, as well as engaging with the public and media to shape the external perception of the military.
Which other role do you play apart from those you have mentioned?
My role extends beyond traditional public relations tasks to include event planning, protocol duties, Master of ceremonies, community outreach, and engagement initiatives. Organising public events, participating in community programmes, and facilitating opportunities for civilians to interact with the military all contribute to building positive Civil-military relationships and fostering mutual understanding.
Crisis is something that must be handled professionally. How do you handle such situations being a civilian?
During times of crisis or conflict, my skills are put to the test. As a civilian PRO, I must navigate sensitive situations, providing accurate and timely information to the public while balancing the military's need for operational security, which becomes a delicate task. But, I must say that, with a strategic and well-prepared mindset, one will be able to contribute to a positive public perception while safeguarding the sensitive aspects of the operations.
Crisis communication becomes a critical aspect of my role, requiring poise, transparency, and the ability to address concerns and mitigate misinformation. And I can execute these roles with the authority from Command based on my professional abilities. In most cases, I will have my bosses deal with it when it bothers on key security matters.
How is the digital era useful to your area of work and the military?
In the digital age, proficiency in utilizing various communication platforms is essential. Social media, in particular, provides a direct and immediate channel to engage with the public. My ability to leverage digital tools contributes to shaping public discourse around military affairs and maintaining an active and positive online presence. Let me state that, the Ghana Armed Forces is in synch with the digital moment and advancing steadily with it in its operations with regards to information sharing.
Do you encounter challenges as a Civilian PRO?
I must mention that, challenges are inevitable but we owe it as an obligation to learn from them. I have gone through the mill and it has been worth it and living up to the billing. undeniably, working in this kind of environment comes with its challenges. I deal with the moment as they come.
In summary, will you say working as a Civilian PRO in the Military has helped you in your career?
Working as a Civilian PRO in the military requires a unique set of skills that blend Public Relations expertise with an understanding of military culture. my role is instrumental in bridging the gap between the military and civilian communities, fostering understanding, and building support for the vital contributions of the Armed Forces.
Working as a Civilian Public Relations Officer in a military environment has been instrumental in shaping my professional development. This unique experience has honed my crisis management skills, strategic communication abilities, and adaptability to diverse organizational cultures. Leading a PR detachment has provided leadership and team management experience, allowing me to make critical decisions and set strategic objectives. Navigating military hierarchies and protocols has enhanced my understanding of structured environments, while community engagement initiatives have showcased the positive impact of public relations efforts. Networking opportunities within the military context have expanded my professional connections, and the global perspective gained has enriched my understanding of international communication dynamics. Overall, this role has contributed to a versatile skill set, ethical decision-making, and a deeper appreciation for the complexities of public relations in dynamic and challenging environments.