Inside DOD

By Amber Corrin

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DOD still struggling with best approach to social media

As the Defense Department works to embrace social media, it's weighing operational security against the increasing need to share information – or else be rendered obsolete.

According to one DOD official, the right policies will help the department evolve as a reputable and up-to-date source of the information the public craves in the era of the instant news cycle.

“With policy we can budget for and facilitate expansion. We can train the troops better, and then they can train their families. That’s good for the public,” said Jack Holt, senior strategist for emerging media at the DOD’s Defense Media Activity office.

Training is key to maintaining DOD’s security mandate as well. “Operational security isn’t a technical problem, it’s a people problem,” Holt told an audience at the FOSE conference.

A clear doctrine for sharing within the network is also necessary to foster necessary collaboration. “We aren’t trained to collaborate. Since kindergarten it’s been, ‘Do you own work.’

While the idea of working together is integral in social media, it can be a hard sell in the confines of DOD culture. “Sometimes the Public Affairs Office may say, ‘This is just more work for us.’ But the chief information officer says, ‘This is our policy and this is how we’re doing it.’ We have to come to grips with this new way of [moving] information,” Holt said.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Mar 23, 2010 at 12:14 PM

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Reader comments

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 edmond hennessy united states

This recap article highlighted several key points. Training is an integral element - to behaviorial shaping and modification, although it takes persistance and a continuous effort. On the flip-side, the reference to DOD being weaned on non-collaboration (reference to kindergarten) does strike a nerve. That may be consistent in knowledge (secrets) and intellectual property protection circles, however consider the structure that DOD has built to foster collaboration with Industry (Primes/Defense Contractors/Integrators) and Technology sources. Is this counter-intuitive or just babble because Social Media Networking is baffling the establishment? Social Media will evolve, its initial role will continue developing and it is here to stay. The Government/Military Sector is just one active user community. Granted there has to be controls and system procedures to follow - and, because of the sensitive nature of DOD protected information - it must tread lightly, however get on with it - it cannot be stopped. Might be interesting to take a quick poll of how many Government Officials and Military users (all levels) are already signed-up and actively utilizing some Social Media vehicle. Would imagine that the numbers are astounding. In fact, our state Senator is an active Twitter user - and, she got my vote of confidence.

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