This was great. Like a true pajamahadeen, I participated from my living room, barefoot. The video feed and chat room set up made my participation possible. Lots of people worked hard to pull this off. In such an endeavor, where outstanding meritorious service was so abundantly displayed, comparisons are invidious, however Andi’s performance reflects great credit upon herself, her blog, and the military arc of the blogosphere.
Greyhawk and Mrs. Greyhawk ran the chat room, which added a whole ‘nother dimension to my experience of the event. Fox News needs to incorporate live chat on the TV screen while Brit Hume and the Fox All Stars are pontificating so viewers don’t have to scream at the TV. Interactive participation. The wave of the future. Many familiar names in that chat room: John the Armorer, SWWBO, Sgt Hook, Huntress, kat, Old Sarge,concretebob,EagleSpeak, Lex and a host of others my feeble memory fails to recall, to my shame.
Someone asked if negative press affects morale. Chuck says sometimes it does. Troops sometimes laugh about cable news sound bites because they know what’s really going on. I’m someone now! That was my question, submitted to Greyhawk in the chat room and asked by Andi. CPT Z got pretty animated.
I hope this becomes an annual event.
UPDATE: Andi’s AAR Roundup
Blackfive, where Grim left this intriguing comment: My sense from several previous conversations is that we’ve got the guys in the field understanding what needs doing and how — some of them are on the leading edge of developing these solutions. We’ve got the top level leadership, mostly, coming around — Abazaid, Cartwright, Rumsfeld, and according to the PAO, Bush. We still have to move the hardest bunch, though, which is the middle level officers who are just removed enough from the war to be attached to regulations instead of effect, and just powerful enough to throw up bureaucratic walls that can stop things from happening even when the combatant commander wants it (e.g., “well, sir, the lawyers say…”). Once you can get that middle on board, you’ll see things start moving fast in the right directions. Our PAO also said the funding was finally coming on line, which I can believe. That will improve his capabilities — so, if he also knows what to do with his newly funded capabilities, we can make things happen. One of the complaints I heard voiced was the degree to which MilBloggers have been “carrying the weight” of responding to charges, and it’s true. If we can work together with PA, and especially if we can use their language resources to get these counterarguments pushed into the media space in the Muslim world (e.g., Malaysia, Indonesia, the Arabic world), we’ll really be doing something to change the dynamic of the war.
1) Military Culture and Attitude Towards the Media is Bad.
2) The Military (and civilian administration) has failed to recognize the media is their customer, they are not the customer of the media.
3) This attitude, from top to bottom, is preventing the military from delivering the appropriate service to the customer/media.
4) The military has failed to recognize and maximize the media. It is the middleman. This middleman’s distribution ability reaches the greater audience/customer base that it wishes to influence (I do not simply mean Americans, either). The Military on its own cannot hope to reach this audience, not even through maximizing its “niche market” of bloggers, military magazines and “friendly” media, though it is a place to start rebuilding.
5) The military needs to develop a business strategy that includes finding, developing, selling to and maximizing this customer base. It needs to include developing a customer service plan, identifying the customers’ needs, appropriate distribution.
6) Passive distribution methods are ineffective. Military distribution of information acts as if it was a warehouse and the customer must come and pick up their own product or come to the office for service.
7) If the military does not provide the service to the media, it will get it from somewhere else. Quality may be poor, but quantity is never an issue. (list methods of identifying “customer” business and how to deliver services – most important is developing the personal touch)
8 ) The enemy has stated that half the battle is in the media. It is a major part of their strategy, not an after effect. The military has failed to elevate their information operations to the same status. It must become on par with Combat Operations and Civil Affairs.
9)The military has alternately treated the media with commraderie and contempt. Severe change in military attitude is directly related to Vietnam. All other actions and relations after only re-enforces this problem.
10) The military failed to understand the changing global information world during Vietnam and continues to fall behind in this category. The enemy then, as now, has not failed in this. (List specific lessons during this change) One reason I thought about this is the PAO at the conference kept saying that he was putting this stuff out and the media was doing anything with it.