Military officials and blogs have not always mixed well, but lately, there have been multiple examples of officers engaging with the Army's most senior leaders through service blogs.
The topics covered range from the trivial to the profound. For example, on June 17, a commenter on the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center Blog expressed his dismay that CAC coins were being made in China instead of the United States and asked what it would take to have them made here.
None other than Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, commander of the Combined Arms Center at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, responded to the reader's question.
"We did place our order for these coins with an American supplier who was the low bid," writes Caldwell. "How that supplier then subcontracts is a decision that they make. However, absolutely understand the point you are making and appreciate the feedback."
As for more weighty matters: In a July 6 post, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli wrote a long essay on the future of Army training and, more specifically, the importance of the Mission Essential Task List.
"Today, a precise understanding of the true nature of the Mission Essential Task -- balanced against ‘full spectrum operations’ -- is more important than ever," writes Chiarelli.
The entry is prompting comments from civilians and officers alike. In response, Chiarelli writes, "Team -- great points that merit serious consideration. . . . Keep the conversation going. I'm learning from you every day."
Finally, in a real display of open debate, the Army is utilizing wiki software, the same that Wikipedia uses, to update its doctrine, allowing anyone with an Army Knowledge Online account to edit selected manuals by submitting changes through the wiki system.
-- Kate Brannen