DOD to launch Web 2.0-intensive site

The Defense Department will launch a new homepage Aug.15 that incorporates Web 2.0 technologies as part of a militarywide and governmentwide effort to use new media capabilities, a DOD official said today.

The Web new site, at www.defense.gov, will be a complete overhaul of the site that now exists, said Les Benito, public Web director at DOD’s Defense Media Activity office. The site will include new modes of user participation, and interactivity will be a driving factor in the site’s shaping, he said. Benito outlined the plans for the new site at the Open Government and Innovation Conference in Washington.

Users will be able to post questions for high-ranking military officers or the defense secretary, give their own feedback about DOD services and take advantage of other similar interactive features, he said.

“We’ll be basing a lot on things like user feedback and search results,” Benito said. “It’s like a portal to the Defense Department – how to do business with us, how to get involved. Some of it will be similar to Google monitoring,” a feature that tracks Internet traffic.

Benito hopes the new features will tap into the social media’s explosive popularity and help capture the coveted demographic of persons ages 18 to 24 years that has eluded DefenseLink, DOD’s current departmentwide homepage. Users in that age group account for only about 4 percent of DefenseLink’s visitors, while most fall into the age range of 48 to 54 years.

Benito outlined the plans for the new site at the Open Government and Innovation Conference in Washington today.

“These new technology tools change the way people look at the organization, the way people look at information and how collaboration takes place,” said Michael Piller, experiential learning manager of the Information Resources Management College at the National Defense University. “These tools are incredibly powerful,” he added.

Federal Computer Week's owner, the 1105 Government Information Group, sponsors the conference.

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Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jul 27, 2009

Yeah, all the web 2.0 bells and whistles...that'll draw those college kids to the DOD. Build it and they will come. Like many web projects, "we're doing it because everyone else is" is the project goal. Time will tell whether there was business value to the project.

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 Germany

Any Soldier who isn't checking up on what the Army is doing, the direction it's headed or their own benifits they may recieve is doing themselves a disservice. The old website recieved little action from the 18-24 YO demog., ture, but that is the group the new site is targeting. Anyhting that get's these troops to be more knowledgeable about their organization is good. Not saying the Army is perfect when it comes to budget, but I think this is a good step. Recent stories about the 10th MTN General who took troop surveys on stupid rules and uniform surveys done by the Army times demonstrate that young Soldiers have something to say when they are asked. Sounds like this trend is finally taking full shape. Glad to see it happen.

Thu, Jul 23, 2009 Michael D. Long Knoxville, TN

It is amazing that as taxpayers we are footing the bill to waste money on such an initiative. It should be obvious why the demographics include so few users in the target age group - they do not have business with the DoD, nor are people in this age group generally concerned about politics and national security. A fancy new web site isn't likely to have a significant impact on society that revolutionizes why people visit the DoD sites. If it were not for business I would have little if any reason to ever visit a DoD site.

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