Why the Defence Department is investing in media training

by Brett Henebery14 Jun 2017
When you hear the words ‘training’ and ‘defence’ in the same sentence, you can be forgiven for assuming it relates to combat.
However, not all combat is physical, and in today’s digital world, the ability to wage – and defend against – information warfare can be an effective weapon in a nation’s arsenal.
Recognising this, the Australian Defence Department is spending $77,000 on teaching its top brass about using social media. This includes acting lessons and courses in dealing with journalists.
According to Defence Connect, Defence members are sometimes required to interact with the media as subject matter experts or spokespeople who can deliver news or explain Defence's position.

The face-to-face course will cover the Defence environment, pitfalls of social media use, practical measures, the impact of social media, Defence's social media policy and examples of successful and unsuccessful social media use.
As recently reported in The Australian, the Defence Department has engaged media intelligence company Isentia over the last four years to provide media monitoring and training so that Defence members can become familiarised with media processes.
This week, the Department said the $77,000 expenditure – titled: ‘Development of face-to-face social media course’ – was for “personnel and army personnel” from the Joint Operations Command, the area in control of Defence Force operations worldwide.
A spokesman told The Australian that the training was “focused on analysis and metrics, strategy development, content development and risk and mitigation”.
“The Defence Force is like many large businesses and government organisations that provide presentation skills training to relevant members of the Defence organisation,” the spokesperson said.
“[The training] is to support Defence communication and interaction with the public, including media engagements, public hearings, conferences, corporate engagements and the like.”

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