Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton
I recently retired from the Army and served as a Public Affairs Officer for the last 10 years of my career.
Generally, military public affairs personnel work on internal communications, media relations, community outreach and social media. What specifically you do in those four lines of effort will often be determined by the commander. A public affairs officer can help shape that line of effort by providing quality analysis and recommendations.
Here are some things you might do along each of the four lines of effort:
Internal communications: speech writing, Op-Eds, sensing sessions (much like focus groups) Media relations: pitch to media, conducting interviews, preparing senior personnel for interviews, facilitating interviews and embedded media Community outreach: public speaking, tours of military units and facilities, community events Social media: maintaining a presence in all appropriate social media venues
You must also understand there is a difference between being an officer or enlisted personnel when considering the military. An enlisted Soldier in the Army might capture imagery and write copy for content that would be published in the social media space or in owned media. An officer can also do that, but must often is managing those that are conducting those tasks.
To get an idea what public affairs personnel are doing, go to the website of a military unit -- say, the 1st Infantry Division at Ft. Riley, KS or the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC. Most of the content will have been produced by Public Affairs personnel. You can also find links on the those websites to their social media venues. Those sites can give you an idea on the events they cover or promote and the messages they look to transmit.