Admiral Agostini, guest of Avio Aero Talk, offered some enlightening points of view on the role of communication in Defense and its fundamental importance, not only during times of crises.
Presiding over the crisis according to the example of the Armed Forces. In our second appointment of Avio Aero Talks we addressed the issue of crisis management from a military perspective with the valuable contribution of Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini with his in-depth knowledge of emergency management but also of its media implications.
Admiral Agostini is currently Operation Commander of EUNAVFOR MED IRINI although until just a few months ago he was Head of the Public Information and Communication Department, Defence General Staff and before that of the Navy Staff. For many years he was responsible for the communication of the Italian Defense, having to manage its standing but also a complex range of emergencies and unpredictable events requiring immediate action and expertise.
This is the concept of being prepared, reiterated several times by our guest during his speech. As those in charge of communication know only too well, an emergency does not always correspond to a crisis, but a crisis is often a result of a poorly managed emergency. Relations with the media, cross-media activity and safeguarding the truth are just some of the cornerstones of those who are called to coordinate communication activities of an institution such as the Armed Forces, tools that have also proven to be essential in this period of widespread emergency.
As those in charge of communication know too well, an emergency does not always correspond to a crisis, but a crisis is often a result of a poorly managed emergency
"Integrated communication strategies are required to mitigate fake news and avoid media crises in emergency situations. Today more than ever, we need to use all essential communication channels to reach our stakeholders, using these channels in a coordinated way in order to spread a coherent, cohesive and understandable message. A recent successful example is the management of information by public bodies during the Coronavirus emergency. Promptly communicating the epidemiological situation and the interventions implemented in a centralized and constant manner allowed an unequivocal message to be spread thereby reducing the opportunity for fake news to a minimum. Institutional communication has done its job well".
A strategy that has put the role of the communicator and the journalist at center stage again, roles which have been completely overshadowed in recent years by the widespread tendency towards reckless misinformation. Social media, the accessibility and mobility of information, and therefore the resulting speed, have increasingly marginalized communication professionals, causing a loss of control and accuracy in the flow of information increasingly exposed to speculation and exploitation.
According to Fabio Agostini, the role of communication, however, does not only express its functionality in emergency situations but becomes a strategic element supporting the need to increase and improve the culture of defense in our country. "In light of the role of the Armed Forces in history and what they continue to do even today, as we have seen during this emergency, we must ensure that this culture is increasingly widespread so as to remind us that defense is useful to the community in ordinary times and not only in times of an emergency".
"We must ensure that this culture is increasingly widespread so as to remind us that defense is useful to the community in ordinary times and not only in times of an emergency"
This is also endorsed by the teachings of the great classics of literature in this field. Anyone who has read Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Von Clausewitz's On War, will have a clear view of the fundamental importance that "ambition, which often coincides with political will, must be proportional to the resources available," said Agostini. "This is true not only for a mission such as the one coordinated by myself but also for the Covid-19 emergency, with regard to the investments we have chosen to make.
Still on the subject of the Defense culture, the Admiral did not fail to emphasize that "stakeholders also play a fundamental role: I am thinking, for example, of the companies that produce the systems used by the Armed Forces. I am convinced that there must be a constant exchange between the two parties, our aim must be to improve collaboration, making it increasingly fruitful by creating an indispensable alliance between Defense and Industry".