US military revisits blogging

March 6, 2009

The US military remains at the forefront of social media and military policy but recently new questions about the value of blogging have been raised.

There has been plenty of debate in particular on the US Army Combined Arms Center site about the role of blogs as a means of strategic communication.

Apparently, ‘the US Army Command and General Staff College requires students to blog, and conduct other media and public engagements’.

Chris Paparone (DLRO Associate Professor, Fort Lee) is concerned that forcing military commanders to blog might ‘backfire’.

In another post, Major Brou, a Command General Staff College student, argues that the requirement for Intermediate-Level Education (ILE) students to publish blog posts is against the Department of Defense’s own blogging policies.

In the comments, LTC Shawn Stroud (Director of Strategic Communication at the Combined Arms Center) defends the importance of telling the ‘Army story’. He believes a change of attitude towards communication is necessary:

"…we should stop considering this as a requirement and instead embrace it as our duty as members of this time honored profession… a duty to continue to share the stories of our Soldiers and their families."

And he highlighted his frustration with media coverage of the Iraq war as a reason why blogging might have an important role to play:

"What I found most concerning during my deployment to Iraq was the lack of information on the accomplishments of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines.  This was problematic with mainstream media as well as with average American citizens, who often stated how frustrated that they felt they were not getting any information from the front."

The debate has spilled over to other places on the Web.