DOD Blogger Outreach update

Briefly: It took 23 minutes for Noah to connect Jason and myself with the PAO in charge of the “exclusive” Blogger Roundtable. We’re in and already information is flowing. This morning, the PAO sent details on the Center for Combating Terrorism report referenced in today’s NYT article by William Glaberson.

In hindsight, it seems Silverstein and Grim were both talking beyond each other. Perhaps over generalized, but tell me how many of the “Left” actually care to listen to DOD information? How many of the “Right” actually hear the concerns of the Left? From my experience, this is typical of American polarization. It is also contrary to my experience while attending a Welsh university just a few years ago where I enjoyed long conversations with friends from the (far) Left to the Right at the same time about American foreign policy and global security. Try that in the US and you’ll quickly devolve from a factual discussion to an emotional screamfest.

12 Replies to “DOD Blogger Outreach update”

  1. Lurch – it is not their perceptions that is the interesting point, it is the unfiltered information. PA is about not having any filtering by other people’s perceptions affecting the information.MR – I trust you will make sure you get the answer to where each PA Roundtable session becomes fully accessible to the wider public and the media – not just the surrogate community. It is after all PA and not PD or Psyop or IO – right?
    Voize

  2. You know, I’m beginning to see that, too. How many left-winger bloggers (beside us) would know what questions to ask or be interested in following up these stories? One thing to hit the OSD or White House policy on military affairs, another to engage the military operations types.Maybe this is an outreach effort, and it’s certainly not easy to tell from the milblog directory who’s interested in talking to the OPA. Well, now we’re in it – let’s see what happens next.

  3. Good to meet you, MR. I look forward to talking with you in the future.I think the problem with Silverstein’s reporting is that he (a) doesn’t appear to have talked to anyone actually involved, either in the Pentagon or within the blog community involved in it, and therefore (b) he seems to have conflated two entirely separate programs.
    I don’t know anything about the “surrogates” stuff he claims is being done with journalists like Deroy Murdock (sp?). If it’s happening, and it may be, it’s beyond my ken. He says it’s going on, and that it’s not public. His description of it suggests that it’s happening at the political-appointee level, though, which means that it’s not a politicization-of-the-uniformed-military issue. If it’s proper or improper, it’s about the civilians in the administration, not about the military itself.
    On the other hand, the Blogger Roundtables he lumped in together with this other business are completely aboveboard as far as I can tell. I’ve talked enough about it (including today) that you know what my position on it is, so I won’t rehash it here.
    The point is that his original report suggested a shadowy conspiracy extending into the uniformed ranks. If in fact there are two separate things going on, one that is wholly civilian and secret, and one that is mostly uniformed, public and open, then we’ve got a very different issue on hand.
    I think Mr. Silverstein is standing down off his original position as the facts become clear, and I’m prepared to stand down and meet him halfway. Welcome aboard; I look foward to interacting with you in the future.

  4. I envy you. I’d give my left whatchamacallit to be on that list. I’m intensely curious about information disseminated by the military these days.I’m going to diary myself to ask you and J in two weeks of so to see what your perceptions are of the information disseminated.

  5. Everybody’s happy… It warms my heart.Now, don’t for a second think that they will just hand you whatever you want to know. There is an agenda here. It is now required of you to follow a single topic line through multiple round tables and multiple interviews to get a proper, focused “big picture.” That may take some push and you will have to “shape” your questions to the subject.
    Additionally, if bloggers demand more on a topic you can begin to shape DoD’s agenda to respond to yours, but that takes a coordinated effort with other bloggers. DoD PA will want to take care of the customer — you to get its (DoD’s) message out to others. From their point of view you, and the other bloggers, are now just a greater conduit to the information flow. How does that figure in your new understanding of Strategic Communication?

  6. Catharsis, as soon as the NY Times or WaPo hires me, I’ll get right on that. Seriously, of course the OPA has an agenda. As you say, it’s being aware that they are only giving out info that they want to give out. Not sure that we’re going to have the time and energy to run down all the items.What I think will be happening is this – the OPA tells us that there’s an SME or topic coming available, do we want in to ask questions. We acknowledge, study and prepare (important) relevant questions. Listen to the pitch, go back and think about it, blog using our analysis and their data. Key issue on our side is to avoid being parrots, which I think would be very wrong given the first-person access to official sources.
    So my understanding is this: strategic communications is a two-way street – the military wants to be trusted as providing good info (albeit controlled and from their point of view), and it’s our responsibility to critically evaluate it and ask the smart questions. Let’s see if this partnership works.

  7. Grim, good to hear you on this morning’s call. When you started to ask your question on tracking popular commitment, I thought my Q might be redundant pending the Colonel’s answer.I did read you post on the Holmes call. Very good. I also recently posted about IEDs as weapons of strategic influence.
    On my Q today re proactive IO, I’ve asked that of others in various communities (mil, contractor, think tank). The response was either “we’re still learning” (in 2007?!), or the more frequent “nope, can’t think of a one”, or even no response. While I was hoping for a specific example and those who I asked previously were attempting to give me specific answers, the Colonel’s response was very good and I am sure a primary reason why attacks are down in his massive province.
    I would move IO above “critical” and make it central to this kind of warfare.
    I’ll post on the roundtable later, no time now.

  8. You asked a good question this morning about proactive IO. I asked a similar question to Gen. Holmes in this one:http://defendamerica.mil/specials/2007/docs/Holmes_Transcript071907.pdf
    You might be interested in his answer. I know that PA in Iraq is taking up the issue of trying to turn people against IEDs — why that’s a PA and not an IO program is not clear to me, but it is — and it’s the sort of thing you were asking about. I think IO of that sort is critical to this kind of warfare.

  9. HiNice to see that the discussions are free and ongoing here…I have – for those interested – located one source regarding the memo Silverstein ties the Roundtable effort to:
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/10/30/212316/45
    That’s all…oh, and can someone who is approved to be present ask where they will make the full transcripts or uptakes available, not the “centerpiece” transcripts on defendamerica.gov?
    It would help fight allegations of PR

  10. The transcrips provided here:http://defendamerica.mil/specials/2007/
    …are the full transcripts, from the time Jack Hold introduces the guy we’re talking to until the end of the call. I’ve been on many of these, and I’ve never seen one that was excerpted. Sometimes the audio files aren’t clear to the guy doing the transcript, and so he’ll guess at a word or put something like “crosstalk” into the transcript instead of what was spoken. However, the audio is also available at the same site, so if you want to listen in to the call, you can do that from start to finish also.

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