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Archive for the ‘D-Ring’ Category

… and enjoy the insanity that is about to descend on DC, I thought I’d share the top search term for people who got to my blog this week:

“Women in flight suits”

Who knew?

Happy innauguation weekend, everyone.

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Well, it looks like my handicapping for the Pentagon top communication role came up empty (other than the fact that, as I surmised, Morrell will stay on with Sec. Gates as the spokesman).

Politico is reporting the Jennifer Palmieri, a senior Clinton administration official currently serving as senior vice president for communciations at progressive think tank American Progress, is in talks to become the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Puzzle Palace.

I don’t know much about her, other than she graduated from my alma mater. So she’s good in my book. Once an eagle…

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D-Ring, LIVE

For those of you in the Washington, DC, area who are interested in social media, I’m speaking on a panel (with some pretty impressive industry colleagues) for the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) on Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the Navy Memorial.

There will be breakfast and networking, followed by an open discussion with the audience about social media.

So come and ask anything you wanted to know — but were afraid to ask — about new media. Should be a good time.

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One Year in the D-Ring

Wow. A year went by so fast.

I’ve been blogging for longer than a year (you can see my first attempt at blogging — but be prepared to laugh at me), but as of today, The D-Ring is one year old.

Who knew I’d still be blogging here after a year. Or that I’d have as many readers as I do. For a long time, I thought only my mom would want to read this stuff. She does read The D-Ring, by the way. Hi, mom.

A lot has changed in a year. I left the Pentagon for a new job (and have since gotten a new title). I’ve left apartment living in the Virginia suburbs and moved into a condo in the heart of Washington, DC. I’ve met some really interesting people, both online and in person.

Some of the highlights:

  • Defending the misinterpreted “blog crackdown” by the AWRAC
  • Getting to see USAA donate $8,000 to Project Valour-IT at the Milblog Conference in May (disclosure: USAA is an Edelman client and I worked with them)
  • Criticizing the Pentagon for blocking MySpace, YouTube and other social media sites
  • The Beauchamp Affair
  • Learning about the exploits of Chris and Chris on their deployment adventures (both of whom I am a big fan, even if they are Zoomies)
  • And much more

So thanks to you all. Milbloggers. PR Bloggers. Friends and Family. I have you all to thank for the D-Ring. Here’s to the next 365 days in The D-Ring.

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Two-hundo!

As of today, the D-Ring has over 200 subscribers!

Thanks to all my regular readers. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe to the D-Ring.

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New D-Ring Design

In case you haven’t noticed (or get the D-Ring through RSS), the D-Ring has a new design. It’s very similar and still has one of my favorite pictures of the Pentagon, but I think the overall theme is a bit more clean.

Like the change? Let me know.

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D-Ring News Wire

Military files left unprotected online

Mike Baker, Associated Press

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Detailed schematics of a military detainee holding facility in southern Iraq. Geographical surveys and aerial photographs of two military airfields outside Baghdad. Plans for a new fuel farm at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

The military calls it “need-to-know” information that would pose a direct threat to U.S. troops if it were to fall into the hands of terrorists. It’s material so sensitive that officials refused to release the documents when asked.

But it’s already out there, posted carelessly to file servers by government agencies and contractors, accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

In a survey of servers run by agencies or companies involved with the military and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Associated Press found dozens of documents that officials refused to release when asked directly, citing troop security.

Such material goes online all the time, posted most often by mistake. It’s not in plain sight, unlike the plans for the new American embassy in Baghdad that appeared recently on the Web site of an architectural firm. But it is almost as easy to find.

And experts said foreign intelligence agencies and terrorists working with al-Qaida likely know where to look.

In one case, the Army Corps of Engineers asked the AP to promptly dispose of several documents found on a contractor’s server that detailed a project to expand the fuel infrastructure at Bagram — including a map of the entry point to be used by fuel trucks and the location of pump houses and fuel tanks. The Corps of Engineers then changed its policies for storing material online following the AP’s inquiry.

But a week later, the AP downloaded a new document directly from the agency’s own server. The 61 pages of photos, graphics and charts map out the security features at Tallil Air Base, a compound outside of Nasiriyah in southeastern Iraq, and depict proposed upgrades to the facility’s perimeter fencing.

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The D-Ring is a family-friendly blog, according to an online tool from Mingle2.com:

Online Dating

I got that rating for using the word “shoot” once (and I am pretty sure it wasn’t in the context that Mingle2 would find objectionable). Compare my rating to the rating for Blackfive:

Online Dating

Blackfive was given that rating for using the words “dick” (22x), “dangerous” (5x), death (4x), kill (3x), suck (2x) and poop (1x).

I think my blog rating just got less tame…

What’s your blog rating? (h/t Leah)

Update: As noted in the comments, only the front page of the blog is considered for these rankings. Also, the addition of the words in this post have bumped my ranking to PG.

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The Pentagon isn’t trying to destroy the connectivity that Soldiers have with their loved ones, but rather preserve the information network during a time of war, a senior military official suggested to a group of bloggers (including yours truly) on a conference call yesterday.

Rear Admiral Elizabeth Hight, a Pentagon flag officer in charge of global network operations, repeatedly referred to the blocked sites as “recreational” in nature, while only casually admitting that public affairs offices and recruiters routinely use these sites to achieve mission objectives.

The Admiral had some valid points: the ban only applied to official military computers and servicemembers are free to use these sites on personal computers (assuming they have access to them). The military also wants to ensure that the network can be maintained for operational requirements. Commanders were free to issue waivers to allow use of these sites for operational reasons (namely for use by PAOs and recruiters).

However, she admitted that the blocked sites had yet to cause a bandwidth problem on the global grid; this was merely a “proactive” measure to prevent such an event from occurring.

What the Admiral didn’t answer, in my mind, was the bigger strategic question of why the military prioritized a potential threat to the network over a guaranteed benefit to the DoD’s information battle. Beyond this connectivity providing a morale boost for troops, it also has significant benefit in helping to tell the military story.

Yes, PAOs will have access to these sites. And yes, servicemembers can use them (if they can get to a computer where they can access them.) But the value of these blocked sites — and all of Web 2.0 — is for grassroots users to come together organically and share their experience. By restricting access to YouTube and MySpace, the military is also restricting the ability of any servicemember to help engage in the “hearts and minds” war.

When I worked at OCPA, we always said that the Soldier is our best spokesman. With training to ensure that they did not reveal classified information, they could be left to their own to eloquently tell the story of sacrifice and service for our nation. Unfortunately, the new policy to block access to these video and information sharing sites also undercuts the ability of these great soldiers to speak directly to the American people about what it means to serve.

Also troubling, she admitted that other sites that could pose a threat to military bandwidth could be restricted in the future, meaning that if popular blogging platforms like blogger and WordPress take up too many resources, they also could be restricted.

In spite of my concerns, I must applaud the Admiral and OSD PA. The openness they have taken toward bloggers is an important step in embracing new media that I never could have imagined while I worked in Army Public Affairs. Admiral Hight was trying to be as helpful as possible in explaining the policy, and for that, I know that all the bloggers on the call were appreciative.

Bottom line — the military has chosen to exert control over a space that is moving more and more toward sharing and free expression. And I can’t help but wonder if, while preserving network bandwidth, the DoD does so at its own peril.

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Apparently the Chinese don’t want their people reading about the military and new media.

I’m blocked in China. Are you?

(h/t Leah)

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