National Guard Public Affairs Rapid Response Team (PARRT)
What is it?
The National Guard Public Affairs Rapid Response Team (PARRT) is a joint, self-sustainable, first responder capability dedicated to supporting a state or territory during a natural or man-made crisis. As a force multiplier, the PARRT includes the full spectrum of Public Affairs functions ready to provide media relations, outreach, command information, and satellite broadcasting. The team, assembled from across the nation, can be as small as one Public Affairs Officer (PAO) with a satellite phone and a BlackBerry, or as large as 70 people, depending on the needs of the state or territory asking for support. The governor and adjutant general of the disaster-affected state decide what assets they need.
What has the National Guard done?
Approximately 3,000 participants recently completed exercise Vigilant Guard, a three-day, National Guard-hosted exercise in Beaufort, South Carolina. Some 15 Army and Air National Guard PA professionals, officer and enlisted, civilian and contractor, from several states and NGB, deployed to a simulated large scale earthquake and set up a fully functional forward, interagency Joint Information Center (JIC). With live, full motion video, satellite television and a host of other tools, the JIC was able to monitor media reports and host press conferences directly from the scene.
What continued efforts does the National Guard have planned for the future?
The PARRT currently has a few dozen trained PAOs and is prepared to respond within 12 to 24 hours of an emergency. NGB will continue to train and equip members to deploy quickly and effectively when a state or territory needs this kind of support.
Why is important to the National Guard?
The PARRT will help each affected state or territory focus on the formidable operational demands at hand without becoming distracted by media demands. The PARRT will help make sure the media, and thus the public, get timely and accurate information to include describing where to locate life-critical supplies and correcting misinformation or speculation.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.” With the help of the PARRT, the National Guard is able to work in conjunction with the media to manage the accuracy and timeliness of our messages in support of governors, adjutants general, and PAOs throughout the states and territories.