Army Job Profile: 46Q Public Affairs Specialist Job Description
These soldiers communicate with the media
Much like their civilian counterparts act as company representatives to the media, the Army Public Affairs Specialist acts as a liaison between the Army and the press. A background or interest in journalism is extremely useful, and strong communications and writing skills are crucial for soldiers in this job, military occupational specialty (MOS) 46Q.
Duties of the Army Public Affairs Specialist
These soldiers will be responsible for writing and editing news releases, newspaper articles, online articles and other written materials, which could be used either for military or civilian publications. They'll also take photographs when appropriate, to accompany a news article or other writing.
MOS 46Q works to develop news articles by either conducting interviews with appropriate people or gathering information from military news programs and publications. Sometimes the information gathering will include more than one of these sources. This job is likely to include crisis communications, which involves dealing with the media during an emergency or other problematic situation.
Another important part of this Army job is training other soldiers and officers for speaking to the press, by following protocols and walking them through possible scenarios. MOS 46Q will also act as a spokesperson, developing and maintaining relationships with beat reporters and other members of the media.
Training for MOS 46Q
Job training for a public affairs specialist requires ten weeks of Basic Combat Training and 12 weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction.
Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field, including learning how to write news stories, operate a camera and edit newspapers and photographs, all according to Army style and protocols. You’ll also put together a real newspaper, contributing stories and photographs.
Some of the skills you’ll learn in this training if you don't already have them, include news, feature and sports writing and research, newspaper design and production, and interviewing techniques.
You'll have the opportunity to pursue specific areas of expertise, including photojournalism, public speaking, and media relations. While all of these are parts of MOS 46Q, most soldiers are more suited to one of these tracks than they are to another.
Qualifying for MOS 46Q
In order to be eligible to serve as an Army Public Affairs Specialist, you'll need a score of 107 the general technical (GT) section of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. You should be able to type 20 words per minute before you begin your training.
Since you're likely to be viewing and receiving sensitive information, you'll need to be able to qualify for a secret security clearance, so should have a record free of criminal or drug convictions.
You should expect an investigation of your character and conduct and in some instances mental and emotional stability.
Civilian Jobs Similar to MOS 46Q
Although jobs in the media are becoming a bit more scarce as newspapers downsize, you'll be well-qualified to work as an editor, photographer, reporter or public relations specialist after you leave the Army. It's worth noting that you'll have expertise that will allow you to write authoritatively about military issues and veterans, which should prove helpful when trying to set yourself apart from journalists with more traditional experience.