DOD 2.0

By Jason Sherman / August 17, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department today unveiled a major overhaul of its main Web portal, incorporating a number of social networking tools in a bid to begin a new form of communication with the American public, according to a senior Pentagon official.

“We need to embrace these technologies. We need to use them because that’s what the young people use these days. We need to communicate with them,” said Price Floyd, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, told American Forces Press Service, a Pentagon new service.

In addition to a new domain name -- -- the Pentagon's embrace of Twitter and Facebook is intended to encourage commanders to launch their own social networking sites, Floyd said.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, twitters regularly, as does Floyd. U.S. European Command, U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan also have Facebook sites.

The new site invites visitors to propose questions to ask the defense secretary as well as to express an interest in learning more about select policy issues.

But: Will this embrace by DOD of social networking be short-lived?

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn last month commissioned an assessment -- due in two weeks -- of security risks associated with military-sponsored social networking sites. That report -- and, possibly, the early returns on the Web site unveiled today -- is expected to influence a formal policy by the end of September.