Blogging Gen Reaches Out to Troops, Blows Off Security Fears

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by msr, Aug 1, 2009.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    While most of the Army is still wringing its hands trying to figure out what to do about blogs and other social media, the two-star general overseeing 19,000 U.S. soldiers scattered across 17,000 square miles of southern and central Iraq has decided to start blogging himself and holding online chats with his troops.


    ronically, Oates had to wait until he got over to Iraq to start his social media push; a lumbering military bureaucracy kept him from blogging, while his troops were stationed at Ft. Drum. "We did not get anywhere with it while we were in the United States because the rules, procedures, policies, and regulations are extremely inhibiting to doing that sort of thing."

    What chance of that happening over here?

    Further interesting thoughts here:
  2. It will be the end of the modern world as we know it... seriously!

    Transparency, accountability, equality of information... not before breakfast old boy, upsets the horses.
  3. Well I can see it happening, so that the government can quickly identify the thought criminals amongst us.. pretty easy really, just look at the orbat!
  4. Key question - is this distracting him from his command or is it enabling it? A secondary consideration is that if this grows too big are we going to see the usual staff bag carriers responding on his behalf, thereby eliminating that direct contact and personal touch he seems so keen on, thus alienating his troops.
  5. The online chat must have been deemed really successful by the C-O-C. The last one recorded was April 26th!!
  6. msr

    msr LE

    It's all there for discussion.

    Here is Lt Gen Caldwell:

    First, we need to Encourage
    Soldiers to “tell/share their story”. Across America, there is a widely held perception that media coverage of the War in Iraq is overwhelmingly negative. We need to be careful to NOT blame the news media for this. The public has a voracious appetite for the sensational, the graphic and the shocking. We all have a difficult time taking our eyes off the train wreck in progress - it is human nature… ut when it comes to their men and women in uniform, they also have a very strong desire to hear their personal stories. They want to know what it is like, what the Soldiers are experiencing, and how the Soldiers feel about their mission. That is why we must encourage our Soldiers to interact with the media, to get onto blogs and to send their YouTube videos to their friends and family. When our Soldiers tell/share their stories, it has an overwhelmingly positive effect.

    Just playing lip service to encouraging Soldiers is not enough. Leaders need to not only encourage but also Empower
    subordinates. A critical component of empowering is underwriting honest mistakes and failure. Soldiers are encouraged to take the initiative and calculated risk in the operational battlefield because we understand the importance of maintaining the offensive. However, once we move into the informational domain, we have a tendency to be zero defect and risk averse. Leaders have to understand and accept that not all media interactions are going to go well. Leaders need to assume risk in the information domain and allow subordinates the leeway to make mistakes. Unfortunately, the culture is such that the first time a subordinate makes a mistake in dealing with the media and gets punished for it, it will be the last time ANYONE in that organization takes a risk and engages with the media…

    Finally, we need to Equip Soldiers to engage the new media… [W]e need to trust them enough to give them the tools to properly tell/share their stories. The experience of trying to gain YouTube access in Iraq and even back in the United States is a prime example. A suggestion for consideration might be equipping unit leaders with camcorders to document operations but also daily life. The enemy video tapes operations and then distorts and twists the information and images to misinform the world. What if we had documented video footage of the same operations which refuted what our enemies say? … If we wait until we see the enemy’s images, we are being reactive and we have already squandered the opportunity.

    Rings very true.
  7. What's the US equivalent of a DIIN :)