Archive for March, 2007

From Potomac Flacks:

William F. “Trey” Brown III has been hired as a spokesman in the public affairs office of the Director of National Intelligence. Brown was a public affairs officer with the Navy.

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Around the blogosphere

RedState is raising money to go to Iraq.

Life Off Balance is mad about amused by ubiquitous ads in the Metro for the C-27J Cargo Aircraft.

Milblogging.com has a lot of good Minnesota military blogs.

And as for me? I will be stepping out of the D-Ring for a few days as I move into my great new apartment in D.C. — an apartment that won’t have Internet access until next Thursday.

Have a good week, y’all.

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My boss likes to joke that I am a niche of one — a PR guy who writes about military communication in a new media world.

Well, not so.

If you like the D-Ring, I recommend checking out the blog of my online friend Dr. Kaye Sweetser. She is an assistant professor of public relations at University of Georgia.

And did I mention she is an officer in the Navy Reserve? Who has deployed to CENTCOM?

For starters, you might be interested in her post about the Navy and YouTube. I have written about this subject before (praising the Sun Kings for compelling and organic video and blasting the Navy’s PR firm Campbell-Ewald for missing the mark on YouTube all together), but I think you’ll enjoy hearing about the issue from someone who is still on the inside.

At any rate, check her out. She is a great thinker and a leader with authority on naval new media.

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D-Ring news wire

Officers Blamed for Tillman Case Errors


WASHINGTON (AP) – Nine officers, including up to four generals, should be held accountable for missteps in the aftermath of the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, a Pentagon investigation will recommend.

Senior defense officials said Friday the Defense Department inspector general will cite a range of errors and inappropriate conduct as the military probed the former football star’s death on the battlefront in 2004, said one defense official.

The official, who like the others requested anonymity because the Army has not publicly released the information, said it appears senior military leaders may not have had all the facts or worked hard enough to get the facts of what happened on April 22, 2004, when Tillman was killed by members of his own platoon.

Dozens of soldiers – those immediately around Tillman at the scene of the shooting, his immediate superiors and high-ranking officers at a command post nearby – knew within minutes or hours that his death was fratricide.

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Yon on PAOs

From Michael Yon:

A general emailed in the past 24 hours threatening to kick me out. The first time the Army threatened to kick me out was in late 2005, just after I published a dispatch called “Gates of Fire.” Some of the senior level public affairs people who’d been upset by “Proximity Delays” were looking ever since for a reason to kick me out and they wanted to use “Gates of Fire” as a catapult. In the events described in that dispatch, I broke some rules by, for instance, firing a weapon during combat when some of our soldiers were fighting fairly close quarters and one was wounded and still under enemy fire. That’s right. I’m not sure what message the senior level public affairs people thought that would convey had they succeeded, (which they didn’t) but it was clear to me what they valued most. They want the press on a short leash, even at the expense of the life of a soldier.

UPDATE: Confederate Yankee says that the general in question is BG Vincent Brooks, who was the Army Chief of Public Affairs while I worked there. Milbloggers are getting angry at him.

Yon continues:

Some readers might recall that LTC Barry Johnson denied my embed requests in 2006, but after I wrote “Censoring Iraq,” somehow the door opened up. Strangely, a couple days ago, LTC Barry Johnson invited me to be a panelist at a symposium in Washington D.C. on ”the role of blogs and bloggers in the news environment today. The intent is to help PAOs better understand the issues involved.” Call me suspicious, but my whiskers tingled on that one.

On a tangentially related note, I suspect that the panel that LTC Johnson invited You to is for this summer’s Army Worldwide Public Affairs Symposium, a conference and booze fest for Army PAOs from around the world. I tell you this because I love the acronym — WWPAS (Whoop-Ass).

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From Army News Service:

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 22, 2007) – The Army has started sharing videos and photos of Soldiers in action around the world at popular content-sharing Web sites.

YouTube, Flickr and Del.icio.us are now showing footage of Soldiers fighting the war on terror, helping to guard the southwestern border, assisting others during natural disasters, partnering with homeland-security first responders and providing humanitarian assistance.

The videos, many of which are produced by Army broadcasters, are on YouTube. Photos taken by Defense Department photographers are available on Flickr. And Del.icio.us, a social-bookmark site that offers links-sharing, contains links to Army sites on subjects ranging from Army sports and the Army campaign plan to installation homepages.

“Linking to these sites was another way to get our media out to people,” said Robert Schell, content director for Army.mil. “It’s another service to market what the Army does, to touch an audience the Army may not currently capture normally. What this does is give secondary places to go and find video, photographs and links about the Army outside of Army.mil.”

The content is added to the sites by the Army.mil team, which publishes the Army’s homepage. While Schell said Army.mil gets more than five million visitors per month, he estimates more than one million visitors per day to YouTube alone.

“In some cases the only way to view those unclassified videos and photographs is through the Joint Combat Camera Center Web site or through a specific Army site. Not everyone has access to those sites or knows about them.”

All three sites are considered “social” Web sites, which means visitors can interact, make comments on content, link to that content, and they can embed the Web address in their own sites.

Chris Clarke, technical director for Army.mil puts the new venture into another perspective: “Army.mil isn’t an island, you shouldn’t have to go to it to get all content related to the Army. What we have to do is go where the audience is.”

I know both Robert and Chris from when I was working at the Pentagon. These guys (and the rest of their team) are good. Real good.

To the parts of the DoD that aren’t there yet, it is time to join the social. Follow Chris’ advice: go where your audience is.

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Today at 11 a.m. EDT, Deborah Scranton, director of The War Tapes will be hosting an internet chat about her award-winning film on WashingtonPost.com.

If I weren’t working, I would so be there. If any of you drop in, let me know how it is.

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I heart Yahoo! Pipes.


To the highly paid Pentagon contractors who make six figures analyzing media for public affairs officers in each of the services, you will love this.

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It looks like the second unified command has jumped head-first into the blogosphere.

I am not the only one who received the e-mail from United States Joint Forces Command (you can read about their outreach here and here), but it is nice to see another major DoD command reaching out to bloggers to help tell their story.

Good work.

If they are really smart, they will dedicate resources to try what CENTCOM is doing on YouTube. Granted, this requires people, time and money, but it should be easily achievable with one or two more broadcasters assigned to JFCOM.

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From the organization that brought you the Internet, it is not surprising that the Pentagon is taking online video to the next level.

Through a multi-million dollar contract with DARPA, BBN Technologies has developed a solution to digitally analyze online video content from sites like YouTube and Google video and create transcripts from audio content.

You can find out more about this technology from beet.tv, but in case you don’t realize, this is huge. This video interview from BBN representative Alex Laats explains:

In the last few months video has exploded online. I predict a year from now, it will be even more ingrained into online culture because it will be fully searchable as well.

On a related note, BBN is doing some other really cool things to help the warfighter (and the everyday man in an increasingly global econom

(Thanks, pmg!)

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