I’m often asked about the history of the blog, so here is the story.
This blog began as my
The absence of a clear goal for the blog, beyond the simple need to write (AIC or “butt in chair”), the topics largely followed my studies and contemporary interests at the time. The first post of MountainRunner was entitled “Robot Grunts” and looked at robots in warfare. Other subjects included examinations into the privatization of force (
Stepping back a bit, while getting my Masters, I “came out” of the darkness and put my name on the blog in late 2006. And yet, the blog still grew. While there have always been comments on posts, posts generally garnered 3-5 offline conversations for every published comment online. Invitations to meet in DC increased in frequency — with House and Senate staff, State Department leadership and employees, and Defense Department officials and staff. Conference invites, speaker engagements, advisory, and consulting roles followed.
In 2011, I became the Executive Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. In late 2010, as the bureaucracy was doing the background checks and other preparations, the then-Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs placed a condition on my hire as Executive Director: that I stop blogging. While this was a violation of State Department policy then (and probably still is), honestly I was burned out on blogging and agreed to the condition.
In 2013, when I was confirmed by the Senate to the position of Governor on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the public affairs team at BBG expressed concern over what I might write after I expressed an interest in relaunching this site.
However, I never really returned to writing here as I had before for a variety of reasons.
As always, don’t hesitate to let me know if you have a suggestion, comment, or criticism about an item on the blog or related to a blog topic. I enjoy an informed debate, which is a key reason for restarting this blog.
Considering that the bulk of this blog’s archives date from before 2010, it is worth stating that as knowledge and experience are gained, views evolve. With that, let me share a relevant quote from John Maynard Keynes: “When facts change, I change my mind. What do you, sir?”