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National Guard Public Affairs Rapid Response Team (PARRT)

What is it?
The National Guard 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. Each team is ready to provide media relations, outreach, command information, and satellite broadcasting. A PARRT team, assembled from across the Nation, can be as small as one public affairs officer (PAO) with a satellite phone and a BlackBerry wireless communication device, 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 Army done?
In April 2008, approximately 3,000 first responders participated in Vigilant Guard, a three-day exercise hosted by the National Guard and took place in Beaufort, South Carolina. Fifteen Army and Air National Guard public affairs professionals- officer, enlisted, civilian, and contractor- from several states and the National Guard Bureau (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. In late August, the PARRT forward deployed to Tennessee, North Carolina, and then Florida, for possible employment during the 2008 hurricane season.

What continued efforts does the Army 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 notification. The NGB will continue to train and equip members to deploy quickly and effectively when a state or territory needs public affairs support.

Why is this important to the Army?
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. 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.

 
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