Small Wars Journal

Military Brass Joins Wired Troops (Update 3)

Military Brass Joins Wired Troops: Admirals and generals hope to connect with soldiers via their own Facebook pages and blogs. But will they tweet?

Christian Science Monitor article by Gordon Lubold, and no we aren't making this up, that cites Small Wars Journal and innovation in the same breath... Damn, just damn.

Some of the US military's top flag officers are becoming dedicated bloggers and attempting to change the military and extend their reach, one Facebook "friend" at a time.

They are using the Internet and social media to reach down within their own traditionally top-down organizations -- and outside them, too -- to do something the military isn't known for: creating more transparency to empower young military leaders and the public.

Some senior officers say transforming the military means more than buying next-generation vehicles or developing new training. It's giving more people more access to what they're doing and thinking. That's already happening as top officers create their own blog sites and Facebook pages in order to keep pace with the plugged-in, hyperconnected charges they lead...

As social media expands and its value becomes more apparent, those kinds of policies may be reassessed, defense officials say. Meanwhile, sites like Small Wars Journal (SWJ), a respected online forum, offer warrior academics a chance to vet ideas and build consensus.

"It connects the top thinkers on the direction the military should go as it adapts to the wars in the 21st century," says John Nagl, a former Army officer and author who is a regular part of the debate on SWJ. "It allows instantaneous feedback and ideas to be debated in real time, and it accelerates the debate."...

More at CSM - and a hearty thanks - as well as a Tip of the Hat (Akubra is my brand) Gordon and John - much appreciated, to say the least.

Update #1: Nice piece by Galrahn over at Information Dissemination - Admiral, Do You Tweet Sir?

... In no small part due to a comment in the article by John Nagl, the Small Wars Journal gets an honorable mention in this article as an example where new media is having influence in the national security debate. While it is possible other areas of new media are having a similar effect, I would argue the Small Wars Journal is the exception, not the rule, and is the only place this is happening. What makes the Small Wars Journal unique?

Because it is where active and retired members of the military want to debate their ideas, want their opinions in the open source on any given topic, and Dave has tapped into a community that has become comfortable with their ideas debated in an open forum. The Small Wars Journal has the capacity to "help shape the public debate about national security policy" primarily because those involved in the debate have found value participating in the public debate...

More at ID and another thanks and a tip of the hat.

Update # 2: Mark Safranski (Thanks and H/T) at Zenpundit - When Old Government Intersects with New Media

... Tradtional think tanks are not set up to do what SWJ does because they come with either ideological baggage (Heritage, Brookings Carnegie) or institutional affiliations (SSI, CNA, Hoover) that preemptively circumscribe membership, discussion and research interests for fear of drying up the revenue stream. Few large donors, be they Uncle Sam, Richard Mellon Scaife or George Soros, are motivated to open their checkbook by the idea of unfettered inquiry and unlimited time horizons or providing a platform to their professional or political opponents. Attempts by official orgs to imitate SWJ will result in costly but sterile echo chambers. Genuine Web 2.0 interactivity is not desired because it is spontaneous and unpredictable but without that interactivity there's no spark, no insight and no intellectual productivity...

Much more at Zenpundit.

Update # 3: More from Galrahn at Information Dissemination - CSIS Studies the Digital Network Advantage

The Center for Strategic and International Studies has a new 47 page PDF report out titled International Collaborative Online Networks: Lessons Identified from the Public, Private, and Nonprofit Sectors. I thought the report was very interesting, and very well done.

More at ID.



Thu, 01/22/2009 - 6:06pm

And as a "MFR": While my name probably is the most associated with SWJ, I'm just one small bit of a whole that includes SWJ partner Bill Nagle, SWJ writer for FP Robert Haddick, Journal and Blog contributors, Council moderators and members, and blog commenters; to name a few. Many thanks to all plus a shout out to Smith Richardson Foundation.


Thu, 01/22/2009 - 4:01pm

Much thanks for the link Dave!

To follow on the previous comment, a .mil blog called "Iron Major" with bloggers in that demographic would sound pretty darn cool. Bet they'd grab a lot of attention too.

Maybe somebody at CENTCOM or Leavenworth.... ; )

As I've been perusing the blogosphere lately (a newcomer myself!), a couple of things have become clear: (1) Many junior soldiers are blogging about their experiences on the ground, and (2), many senior officers are blogging to facilitate internal communication.

The group that seems to be underrepresented in the blogosphere is mine! The mid-level officers and NCOs do not seem to engage the blogosphere as much. Why is this?

We do seem to be represented somewhat here at SWJ and the CAC blogs, but not in the general blogosphere. Hmmm... Perhaps we're more risk averse in this arena? Perhaps we're "too busy"? I expect as we see more and more senior officers engage new media, and more young Solders embrace it, the Army will begin to use what it offers even more - to improve recruiting, professional dialogue, and as a way to tell our story more effectively.