Date of Award

December 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Public Relations


Rochelle Ford

Second Advisor

Hua Jiang


Communication, Military, Public Affairs, Public Relations, Social Media, Target Audience

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this qualitative research analysis is to highlight the key changes over the last decade that influenced the U.S. Military to redirect its efforts of ignoring social media, to make it one of its major contributing asset to effective communication. I will examine my findings by answering the following questions to prove or deny that social media has enhanced the U.S. Military’s communication with its target audience. The first question is-Why did the U.S. Military change its strategy on using social media to manage communication? I am aiming to find out who or what events influenced this change and how long it took to make these changes. I hope to outline key lessons learned and the benefit of becoming pro-social media.

The second question-What are the current procedures, practices and issues with the U.S. Military’s plan for managing social media? I aim to find out if the U.S. Military is effective with its current ability to manage themes and messages by use of social media.

Third question is-Learning from a decade of communication through social media, what is the future of the U.S. Military’s social media plan? What have public affairs officers learned from past and current operations to help pave a new path for effective communication in an ever changing social media driven society.

During the research process for this study, 20 public affairs officers (PAO) randomly selected from the five branches of U.S. Military service were interviewed to gain insight on the effectiveness of its communication. While this is only a small number and not a representation of the whole U.S. Military, it provided sufficient information to prove the desired hypothesis.

While interviewed these 20 PAOs all three research questions were answered regarding the U.S. Military’s effectiveness while communicating, concerns with the current nature of communication and recommendations for the future to make communication even more effective.


Open Access