Garrison looks to improve communication efforts; developing smartphone app, new website

by U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs
To ensure U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs meets the needs of its audience, staff conducted a recent outreach on communication efforts across the footprint — gathering feedback through surveys at Sembach, Landstuhl, Baumholder and sites around Kaiserslautern.
— Courtesy photo

Keeping the community informed on issues affecting the garrison is one of the primary responsibilities of the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs Office and they use a variety of tools to reach their audience, from Facebook and Twitter to the Kaiserslautern American and the garrison’s official home page.

“Whether it’s announcing gate closures, sharing winter weather road condition updates, or providing information on vigilance and awareness, there are time-sensitive, quality-of-life matters that we post up to our social media platforms daily,” said Stefan Alford, USAG RP chief of Public Affairs.

“Our primary audience is our garrison team — our employees and family members,” said USAG RP Commander Col. Keith E. Igyarto. “In many cases, the demographics overlap and our employees and their families are also our customers, so it’s vital that we keep our Army professionals informed and we constantly look at the best ways to communicate with our community.”

To ensure public affairs meets the needs of its audience, Alford and his staff conducted a recent outreach on communication efforts across the footprint — gathering feedback through surveys at Sembach, Landstuhl, Baumholder and sites around Kaiserslautern.

The results offered insight on where community members currently get their information and how they prefer to receive it in a time-constrained, mobile environment.

“For example,” Alford explained, “51 percent of respondents said they prefer to have garrison information presented as small announcements, such as Facebook posts or tweets; with 37 percent preferring smartphone app notifications, and the remainder divided between videos, photos and print stories.”

The PA team is currently developing a smartphone application to allow easier access to garrison news and information.

“We hope to have a garrison smartphone app available next spring,” Alford said. “In addition, our public website will be migrating to a standardized IMCOM (Installation Management Command) format next summer, which will also be more user friendly and allow us real-time updates as needed.”

While these initiatives should enable easier access and more responsiveness, the recent surveys also show most community members prefer to get their garrison information via the USAG RP Facebook page, followed closely by listening to AFN-Kaiserslautern radio.

Nearly 70 percent said they visit Facebook on a daily basis for their local information, and that’s where the PA’s Command Information team focuses its efforts in disseminating pertinent news affecting the community as a whole.

Asked to check all recurring announcements that are beneficial to them, the respondents listed installation gate closures (83 percent), speed camera set ups (77 percent), and demonstrations/protests (48 percent) as their top items of interest.

Some of the anonymous comments received, included:

“I often do specific searches ‘fun run,’ ‘open house,’ ‘bazaar,’ etc. in order to find out what is going on. Often the webpages I’m directed to are either difficult to navigate, or the information is out of date or incomplete. Need more U.S. Army stories and articles in the Kaiserslautern American. The list of activities is great but there is so much going on in the Army domain that doesn’t get reported except on the (Army) sources.”

“I am AF civilian, but utilize Army MWR services and facilities regularly.”

“The garrison Facebook page is my go to for all garrison info. Love it!”

Alford added, “We realize there are so many competing sources of information in the Kaiserslautern Military Community that it can be overwhelming, with dozens of official unit Facebook pages sharing local information and even more unofficial groups also providing great content for our community. Sometimes you have to check a variety of sources to find the information you need.”

For those looking for official garrison news and information, the primary source is and for Baumholder at For information on garrison FMWR events, programs and classes, it would be”Other official garrison online presences can be reached at,,;;,, and