DAOD 2008-4, Public Affairs, Military Doctrine and Canadian Forces Operations

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Overview
  4. Requirements
  5. Process and Responsibilities
  6. References

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 1998-01-30

Effective Date: 1998-03-01

Application: This is an order that applies to members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND).

Approval Authorities: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Deputy Minister (DM) and Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).

Enquiries: Director General Public Affairs (DGPA)

2. Definitions

aid of the civil power (aide au pouvoir civil)

The term "Aid of the Civil Power" means the aid rendered under Part XI of the National Defence Act in response to a request by a province for the assistance of the CAF in respect of a riot or disturbance of the peace.

CF operation (opération des FC)

A CF operation is any deployment of the CAF, within Canada or internationally. A CF operation may be local, regional, national and/or international in scope or nature.

operational public affairs (affaires publiques opérationnelles)

Operational public affairs (PA) refers to activities designed to inform the public of CAF activities in and/or involving a CF operation.

national public affairs (affaires publiques nationales)

National Public Affairs (PA) refers to activities designed to inform the public of government decisions related to DND and/or CAF policies, programs, services, activities, and/or operations.

public affairs material (matériel d'affaires publiques)

Public affairs (PA) material refers to information products designed to support public affairs activities with internal and/or external audiences.

operational security (sécurité opérationnelle)

Operational security refers to the principle of safeguarding the integrity of a military operation or activity, and/or the safety of CF members and other personnel involved in the military operation or activity.

issue-specific public affairs plan (plan d'affaires publiques axé sur un problème particulier)

An issue-specific public affairs (PA) plan articulates the approach and activities required to support the implementation of a specific program, initiative, operation and/or event, or to manage an issue or crisis.

issue (problème)

An issue is an actual or potential incident, event or series of events, either internal or external to an organization, that may undermine, cause damage to, or lead to public concern with regards to a policy, program, service, law, activity, person, or organization.

Every issue could potentially escalate into a crisis.

crisis (crise)

A crisis is any event or series of events that undermines public confidence, causes damage to an organization, or threatens public safety, security and/or values.

CF member (membre des Forces canadiennes)

A Canadian Forces member is a member of any component of the CAF, Regular or Reserve, unless the contrary is indicated.

3. Overview


3.1 The key priority during any CF operation is to achieve its mission, whether the mission is oriented toward war, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, or assistance to law enforcement agencies.

3.2 At the same time, the demand for information concerning the activities of the CAF during an operation increases substantially due to heightened media and public interest.

3.3 The requirement to inform in these instances is usually divided into two spheres of information. The first sphere is national, and it concerns the demand for information related to the Government's decision to deploy the CAF and the nature of the CAF's mandate for the operation. The second is operational, and it concerns the demand for information regarding the structure, people and activities of deployed forces.

3.4 The challenge for public affairs (PA) is to inform Canadians of both the national and operational dimensions of CF operation in a manner that is accurate, complete, timely and respectful of the principles of openness, transparency and operational security. This requires the effective integration of PA into all aspects of military operations, from doctrine to the execution and coordination of PA in theatre during operations.

3.5 To this end, the intent of this DAOD is to provide CF members and DND employees, particularly Commanders, military planners and public affairs officers (PAO), with guidance for:

  1. integrating the operating principles of the DND and CAF PA policy into military doctrine;
  2. integrating PA operational requirements into military planning, decision making and the implementation of activites for CF operations at home or abroad; and
  3. coordinating the national and operational dimensions of PA during CF operations between deployed commanders and PAOs in-theatre, National Defence Headquarters and the Government.


3.6 This DAOD applies to CF operations of an international or national scope or nature, including regional operations that have a national dimension. United Nations peacekeeping operations unless otherwise directed, CF operations in aid of the civil power, and CAF operational support to diplomatic conferences within Canada are all examples of operations that fall within the scope of this DAOD.

3.7 This DAOD does not apply to CF operations involving routine local or regional deployments within Canada. CAF deployments in support of routine search and rescue operations and regional CAF exercises are both examples of operations that are excluded from this DAOD.

Operating Principles

3.8 The safety of CAF personnel and the integrity of military operations constitute fundamental principles, underlying everything the CAF does on behalf of Canadians.

3.9 For this reason, the principles of openness and transparency should be balanced against the principle of operational security during CF operations.

3.10 In respecting the principle of operational security, no PA activity should undermine:

  1. the safety of personnel involved in a CF operation; or
  2. the likely success of a CF operation or activity.

3.11 The principle of operational security may place limits on the CAF's ability to live up to demands for complete openness; however, every effort should be made by CF members and DND employees to be as open and transparent as possible within the law when informing the public about CAF activities during military operations.

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4. Requirements

Military Doctrine

4.1 The CAF shall integrate PA policy and direction (as articulated in the DAOD 2008 series) into all aspects of military doctrine, as appropriate, to ensure that PA is fully integrated into CAF military planning, decision-making, standarding operating procedures, and operations.

Requirement for PAOs on CF operations

4.2 All CF operations shall include PAOs within their complement at a level commensurate with Canadian participation.

4.3 All major CF operations shall include at least one PAO of a senior rank within this complement. All other operations shall include at least one PAO of a suitable rank.

PA During CF Operations

4.4 During CF operations:

  1. PA shall mirror Government policy and incorporate any direction that may be issued by the Privy Council Office (PCO);
  2. national dimensions of CAF and DND PA shall be coordinated by DGPA in support of the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (DCDS);
  3. operational dimensions of CAF PA in a deployed area shall be coordinated by the commander of the operation with support from deployed PAOs, and DGPA as appropriate;
  4. the senior PAO assigned to an operation shall report directly to the operational commander to ensure that PA is fully integrated into operational planning, decision making and implementation of CAF activities;
  5. deployed PAOs shall perform PA-related duties; and
  6. CF members shall adhere to DAOD 2008-2, Media Relations and Public Announcements and shall report all significant incidents to the chain of command in accordance with DAOD 2008-3, Issue and Crisis Management.

4.5 PA during civil emergencies shall be managed in accordance with DAOD 2008-7, PA During Civil Emergencies (to be developed).

Information Operations

4.6 Information operations is an integral component of all CF operations.

4.7 Public Affairs has an important role to play in supporting information operations planning and execution.

4.8 To this end, the DND and the CAF shall fully integrate PA into the design, development and implementation of information operations at all levels, including policy and doctrine, in accordance with DAOD 8010-0, Information Operations, this DAOD, and DAOD 2008-0, Public Affairs Policy.

Announcements, Approvals, and Coordination

4.9 Public announcements and PA plans, materials and activities dealing with the national dimensions of CF operations shall be approved, in advance, by the Minister, DM and CDS.

4.10 To facilitate operational effectiveness, commanders of CF Operations, including contingent commanders, have the authority to approve:

  1. public announcements, and PA materials and activities involving community relations and routine CF activities within deployed areas; and
  2. strategic media briefings, on or off the record.

4.11 In the event of a significant incident or crisis within a deployed area:

  1. commanders of operations shall adhere to DAOD 2008-3, Issue and Crisis Management; and,
  2. the senior PAO within the deployed area shall coordinate operational PA with DGPA through the PA technical network, in support of and under the direction of the commander of the operation.

Escalating Military Tension or War

4.12 DGPA shall maintain a war establishment to ensure that it is able to meet increased PA requirements during times of escalating military tension or war.

4.13 In times of escalating military tension or war:

  1. DND/EPC, on behalf of PCO, shall initiate implementation of the National Emergency Arrangements for Public Information (NEAPI), as appropriate;
  2. upon mobilization, DGPA, in consultation with the DCDS, shall coordinate the assignment of all PA personnel; and
  3. Allied War Headquarters and Press Information Centres shall be resourced, as required, by Canadian PAOs at a level proportional to Canadian participation in the operation.

5. Process and Responsibilities

Process and Responsibility Table

5.1 The following table outlines the process and responsibilities that should guide PA decision-making and activities during CF operations.

Stage Who does it? What happens?



  • orders the deployment of the CAF via the CDS.



  • manages and coordinates all aspects of the CAF's deployment and operations; and,
  • ensures that PA is fully integrated into military doctrine, planning, decision-making, standard operating procedures, and operations, with support from Environmental Chiefs of Staff (ECS) and DGPA.



  • activates J5PA standard procedures to provide PA support to the DCDS;
  • liaises with PCO, and other government departments or agencies, as required, to facilitate the coordination of federal PA;
  • develops a draft national PA plan for the CF operation;
  • identifies recommended designated subject matter experts;
  • coordinates advice PA plans and the selection of subject matter experts with PCO, and other government departments or agencies, as required; and
  • advises the DCDS, CDS and DM.


DM and CDS

  • advise the Minister.



  • advises PCO.



  • advises the Prime Minister and Cabinet, if required.



  • liaises with the Prime Minister's Office, as required; and
  • approves the national PA plan and designates subject matter experts to serve as spokespersons for the operation.



  • implements the national PA plan;
  • prepares approved PA products;
  • coordinates approved PA activities, such as media briefings;
  • coordinates the assignment of DGPA and Command PA personnel in support of force generation;
  • monitors media and public reaction to developments; and
  • liaises with PCO, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), DND/EPC, and other government departments, governments or agencies, as required.


Senior Deployed PAO

  • liaises with DGPA and other departments or agencies within a deployed area to facilitate the coordination of DND and CAF PA during CF operations; and
  • coordinates the development and implementation of operational PA plans, products, and activities within deployed areas, on behalf of and in support of the commander, with support from DGPA as required.


Commander of the Operation

  • approves operational PA plans, products and activities within the deployed area; and
  • informs DGPA, in advance and in a timely manner through the chain of command, of planned PA activities.



  • ensures the effective coordination of operational and national PA activities, with support from DGPA.
  • liaises with DGPA, as required.
  • advises the CDS and the DM as required.


DM and CDS

  • continue to advise the Minister and PCO, as required.



  • approves PA products or activities, as required.



  • liaises with the senior deployed PAOs, as required;
  • monitors media and public reaction to developments; and
  • advises the DCDS, DM and CDS on adjustments to national and operational PA plans and activities, as required.



  • reviews national and operational communications effectiveness following the operation to identify lessons learned.

6. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

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