FlipSide: A few minutes with...Robert Carey

Robert Carey, chief information officer of the Navy Department, is the first government CIO to publish a public blog.

FCW: Why do you blog?
CAREY: I started this blog to open another line of communication with those in the
department, to capture the thoughts of the department about issues of the day and to ensure my office is focusing on what is important, especially to our warfighters.

These men and women are on the front lines and depend on us to rapidly meet their information technology needs. It is very important to me that I hear their concerns. I cannot address everything, but I will do the best I can to ensure their concerns are taken into consideration when key decisions are being made. 

FCW: How difficult was it to get it started?
CAREY: The actual timing worked out well as we were in the middle of redesigning our entire Web site. As a result, adding the blog became part of the overall redesign project. However, the capability to post comments required additional consideration as departmental policy prohibits unmoderated Web site postings. This capability was not available until two weeks ago.

Now, readers can comment on any of the blogs that I have written. There is a vetting process in place to ensure information that might be offensive or operationally sensitive does not get published, but so far, each comment we have received has been approved and posted.

FCW: What were some of the challenges?
CAREY: The only real challenge is finding the time to write the next blog. While there is no shortage of content, there are just so many hours in a day.

FCW: How difficult has it been to maintain?
CAREY: Again, the level of difficulty is minimal. Our Web site is very user-friendly and we have a good mechanism in place to review and post my blog and comments. It’s really just my finding the time to write.

FCW: Do you find that people read it?
CAREY: Yes, they do, which I am both surprised and thrilled about. Since my initial blog was posted Jan. 17, it has received more than 4,000 hits.  We were rated by the Blogged.com team and given an 8.0…very good.

FCW: What are some of the most interesting/enlightening/educational comments you have received?
CAREY: The ability to post comments to my blog has only been available to users for two weeks. During this time, we have received a handful of comments, and I appreciate each one and hope to receive more in the future. One person in particular mentioned his command’s use of a wiki to share knowledge to enable a smoother transition when there is turnover. I also see the wiki as an important tool for sharing information and for collaborating, especially with the Net Generation. In fact, we have a prototype wiki within the Navy Department CIO office. So this comment confirmed for me that we are looking at issues that others in the department are interested in, too. 

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