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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some more social media for you...from military brass

Like I said, this social media thing is snowballing faster than the military can make rules for it.

Here's an article that just came out from Armed Forces Press Service, by Donna Miles.

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Got questions you'd like to pose directly to the defense secretary or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Now is your chance!

Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen have launched interactive, virtual town hall sessions through the Internet.

The initiatives are part of a broad administration effort to connect more closely with the military, the American public and people overseas. The goal, officials explained, is to provide a forum for people to ask questions or offer suggestions or insights and get direct feedback.

The new Defense Department home page that went live this week features a prominently placed "Ask the Secretary" section. Anyone visiting http://www.defense.gov -- military members, American citizens, people overseas -- can submit a question to Gates.

Questions will be accepted for two weeks, then participants in the town hall will have another two weeks to vote on the questions submitted. The secretary will answer the five to 10 questions that top the list.

Meanwhile, Mullen launched an "Ask the Chairman" venue yesterday that enables anyone to pose a question to him via YouTube. The virtual town hall is open to everyone, whether they're in the military or a military family or simply care about military issues, officials said.

Viewers can ask questions about whatever is on their minds -- the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, what the military is doing for wounded warriors and families, the new Post-9/11 GI Bill or another topic of interest -- by visiting http://www.youtube.com/dodvclips.

"The chairman really wants to have a conversation with the troops akin to the way he does all-hands calls at bases all over the world," Navy Capt. John Kirby, Mullen's public affairs officer, told American Forces Press Service. "He wanted that conversation to be as interactive as possible and reflective of what is on their minds."

Aug. 31 is the deadline to submit video questions. After the deadline, Mullen will watch questions submitted by YouTube viewers, then respond in a podcast, officials said.

Price Floyd, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said taking advantage of new media tools will enable Pentagon leaders to engage in an important two-way conversation with the public.

"We do live in a democracy, and that feedback from people is important to know what they're thinking, what they believe is important," he said. "It's their national security policy, it's not ours. It's theirs. The president was elected, and he appointed people here at the Defense Department to lead, but it starts with the American people."

The White House is planning a similar interactive venue for President Barack Obama to take questions directly from U.S. troops deployed in the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

Here's a link to the story and more information http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=55540

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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