Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why can one man in a cave out-communicate the government of the world's superpower?

There was an interesting admission from the US Army Secretary last week in Inside Defense as reported in the Wired Danger Room Blog,
Senior Army leaders have fallen behind the breakneck development of cheap
digital communications including cell phones, digital cameras and Web 2.0
Internet sites such as blogs and Facebook, Army Secretary Pete Geren said at a
trade conference on July 10. That helps explain how "just one man in a cave
that's hooked up to the Internet has been able to out-communicate the greatest
communications society in the history of the world -- the United States," Geren

"It's a challenge not only at home, it's a challenge in recruiting, it's a challenge internationally, because effective communication brings people over to our side and ineffective communication allows the enemy to pull people to their side," Geren continued. He said the Army brass needs to catch up -- fast. But how exactly?

One solution: "Find a blog to be a part of," Geren said.

Young people embrace social media "as a fluent second language," he added. Army leaders have to do the same.
The article went on to describe some of the initiatives underway at the US Army to help it prepare for the new world - including adding blogging to their graduate school curriculum and allowing a tiny office of Web-savvy mavericks at West Point to create Army-specific Web 2.0 tools (blogs, forums, social networks) for soldiers.

At the same time the US Air Force is using blogs, wikis and personal profile pages to better support its missions, per a Network World article, U.S. Air Force lets Web 2.0 flourish behind walls.

I expect that the Australian armed forces are watching and learning from our US counterparts. The online channel can deliver major benefits to the training and operations of a defense force.

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