What armynet should be?

But the troops also exchanged information on tactics and techniques, as well as anything else they knew that could help keep them alive in combat. This alarmed the Department of Defense, which put some restrictions on active duty bloggers. The troops did not fight back, as, once reminded, they understood that, in public forums, anyone could read what they were saying, including the enemy. So a lot of this information continued to be exchanged email and private message boards. The military got into the act by establishing official message boards, for military personnel only, where useful information could be discussed and exchanged. All this rapid information sharing has had an enormous impact on the effectiveness of the troops, something that has largely gone unnoticed by the mass media.

The brass have not tried to discourage all this communication, because the officers use it as well, for the same reasons as the troops. Most junior officers grew up with the Internet, and many of the older ones were using the Internet before it became popularized in the 1990s. Even the generals of today, have experience with PCs when they were young, so have no trouble getting into this new form of communication. The military is eagerly building a "battlefield Internet" for use during combat, and parts of this are up and running and heavily used in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Agreed, or alternatively something like this.

US Army LL Website.

Alas us limeys cannot join the site as it just for the US, unsurprising as they are dealing with some pretty topical and classified issues. It's a shame as we could do well with something similar and Armynet is the only site out there at the moment.

One thing to remeber about the the internet as a whole, unless you have state of the art security then opsec is essential in some cicumstances. How many times do we hear of banks and credit card companies being hacked to gain info for monetary gain. The same can be said of Armynet.mod.uk they can be just as vulnerable. All it needs is to be exposed to outside access. The moment you plug your computer into a phone socket you are vulnerable to attack.

Do not get me wrong I think the rapid exchange of info is a good thing vis-avis news on a good piece of kit in the shops. But we must also take security measures appropraite to the subject matter. Hence the opsec on arrse.
The book Grand Strategy in the war Against Terrorism would seem to indicate in the age of network centric computing there is a real threat towards information that can be accessed outside of the host location. (Specific section of relevance- Information age and terrorism and warfare).

The idea being that the US military is increasingly networking for instant information retrieval from theatres of operations and deployments. Registered assaults on Pentagon mainframes. Also seen that there is interest by regional and non regional groups to gain access to this information. Much in the same way that NATO played with systems in Kosovo/Bosnia.

And to finalise, I was always taught the safest way to keep you info secure is to have no outside connection whatsoever on the system. (Well and not to allow your cleaners to walk off with the usb keys).
If the British Army wanted to share this sort of thing we could do it tomorrow in a suitable forum on ArmyNet - or even start a new topic in the existing Lessons Learned forum.

However, IT access for the average soldier is generally bloody awful. There aren't enough machines and when you can get on its too slow. Our current management culture wouldn't allow it, any post that could remotely be contrued as criticism of anyone in the CoC would be ruthlessly squashed and the originator persecuted.

If you think I'm being harsh, explain why the Lessons Learned forum on ArmyNet is such a wasteland ? ArmyNet is excellent, it's accessible via the Internet so why does it see so little traffic wrt Arrse ? Of course posts on ArmyNet are identifiable, posts on Arrse are not. Coincidence, I think not. I'm not suggesting making ArmyNet anonymous or starting up a NAAFI Bar there, rather an acceptance by the CoC that we need a closed forum when we can among our colleagues be honest about what works and what does not, however unpleasant that may be.

While security is one of the principles of war it should not be allowed to get in the way of the others. Our enemies use totally unsecured internet forums and such like to disseminate tactical lessons learned. This allows them to get inside our OODA loop and migrate (for instance) IED design changes from one theatre to another in the time it takes us to write a PowerPoint presentation to introduce the meeting that will discuss the issue and lead to a report next month that will never get to the poor sod on the ground as it's classified too highly. If we cannot apply what we know in a timely fashion - and we can't - then security kills our soldiers.
I personally think that ArmyNet is a great idea and should be fully supported. We've offered to help publicise ArmyNet at the request of Darth Doctrinus. I emailed them last week offering free advertising but no-one has replied yet.

Why the forums aren't used as much as here? Identity is obviously an issue, but a surprising number of ARRSE users aren't really overly bothered about their true identity being linked to their username so I don't think it's just that. I haven't seen their forums as I'm no longer serving but I'm told they are very awkward to use compared to ARRSE - big framed block down the left among other things, and perhaps seen as lacking humour. There are plenty of serious posts on ARRSE, but I guess it's good that the atmospere is, well, 'relaxed'.

There has been debate about a British version of the US Coy Comds' site and I believe it was the subject of a Staff College masters thesis last year. I don't know more than that though, although we did get involved in a couple of preliminary chats about it - mainly to give an opinion on how to set up community sites like ARRSE, and how easy and cheap it is - ie. very.
The fundamental problem with army net is that it is a bodge of all sorts of different websites and technologies (parts of which do not work with Firefox) with no unifying purpose.

For example, have a look at the TA regs in the AEL section - almost unusable - why not post it as a pdf a la MATTS or AGAI 67?

Courses - why is there not a searchable database of courses available?

No-one has looked at the user 'journey'. They know exactly who you are from your login and this should then deliver a customised homepage:

So on mine I would have links to:

TA Regs
TA Info
MK2 (because the system knows I have completed MK1)
Capbadge related courses
Rank relevant information

It has the potential be be a really useful resource, but currently is just appears as an electronic dumping ground (BAR from Summer 05 anyone?)

I would imagine that an obvious demand / increase in the use would help those responsible for gaining funding to make it better, or is that hopelessly niaive and optimistic? Regardless of the actual quality of service, it is a good thing though and us trying to encourage a few people to go that way can be no bad thing.
Armynet IS good. It does need more hits and, im sure with time, will develop into a better service. However until more people join the site will NOT improve.


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