I come back to find my computer littered with advertisements like I would find on my car windshield after a day at the mall. Good grief!

Still no dice on getting the BWE site or Twitter. Grr.

We're currently waiting on the live feed for the Bloggers' Roundtable panel. This panel is hosted by Jack Holt from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and features the Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren. Additional panelists include Ward Carroll and John Donovan.

Secretary Geren is on the line.

Ward: How would you rate your own internet savvy?

SG: Uses the internet a great deal. Blogging isn't something that he was really familiar with until just a few years ago. References Dan Rather's undoing by bloggers. "I don't know what a blog is but I know that Dan Rather does." He encourages the senior leadership to embrace "new media".

Ward: What are your personal frustrations with how your top concerns have been handled by traditional mechanisms?

SG: Interest in "new media" wasn't really fueled by any frustrations per se but more just a realization of the rise of "new media" and it's value. He sees it as an addition to what we're doing and a mechanism to reach families.

John Donovan: How do we change the culture at the O-5/O-6 level or do we just wait some of those guys out?

SG: General Caldwell is making inroads in that area. There are generational challenges. He now sees blogs as an important part of his information-gathering. Yes, his generation has had difficulty in embracing the "new media". But there are now senior leadership and THEIR WIVES that blog!

JD: Do you think you've satisfactorily set the stage so that, no matter what the new administration embodies, that the ball will continue to roll?

SG: I think so. General Caldwell has really made inroads. But he's not the only one talking about it. Significant inroads have been made but we're not where we need to be.

QUESTION: Has the Army given any thought to publicizing blogs outside of the military (i.e. the general public)?

SG: Hadn't really thought about this before. The sense is that, particularly for the 30 and below set, MSM is much like the Model T Ford in terms of where people get their news.

QUESTION: Has there been any talk about trying to come up with a common set of rules with regard to blogging amongst the services?

SG: No. Each branch is going to have different criteria. Each service is going to customize the guidelines based on how they see the mission requirements and how they relate.

QUESTION: What kind of follow up do you have in place to pursue ideas brought forth in roundtables to make sure that the concept presented is fully understood and isn't misconstrued or misinterpreted?

SG: In a previous roundtable, the issue of reaching out to parents was brought up. Getting back to the person who raised the issue and let them know what is being done and look for clarification is necessary but not yet really done.

QUESTION: There is no methodology to train the soldier on how to blog. How do we make this happen? The Army doesn't train people on the ONE TOOL we use every day.

SG: You're right - there is no mechanism in place for that. Our senior enlisted and officers think that they will never get in trouble if they keep their mouth shut but then the Army story isn't told. We have to get away from the "zero defect" mindset. The best people to tell the stories are the ones that are out there, every day. They are the best ambassadors for the Army. How we get a culture that is willing to take risks in that respect is a big challenge.

I have to say, this is the 4th or 5th time I've been involved with Secretary Geren and I am never disappointed with him.

Chief of Public Affairs, US Army General Bergner

QUESTION: (John Donovan) What's up with the "mall guard" suit that the Army seems to be moving to in terms of uniform?

GB: Feedback has been strong but there is logic behind it. But that's the direction the Army is going.

QUESTION: Would the Army be willing to issue and "Outstanding Blogging Medal"?

GB: One of the challenges we have in this institution is getting a new idea into the Army and also getting an old idea out. Our ability to move forward is really the nature of the challenge. We will find a way to recognize those that are telling the Army story. All of us want to tell the story.

QUESTION: What about the interagency aspect of all of this? Are there any efforts in that regard?

(sorry, I missed the answer...got distracted.)

Time to browse the exhibit hall.


- hfs

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