MilBlog Conference: Panel 3, Live DoD Bloggers Roundtable

September 23, 2008

This panel is being hosted by Jack Holt, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. Opening remarks were given by General Cartwright, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The live roundtable then started with Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army speaking to the bloggers and then taking questions from the audience.

Secretary Geren stated that in the Army they look at the milbloggers and other forms of new media as opportunities to get information to the public. Secretary Geren was asked how his internet media savvy was. He stated that he uses the internet frequently for research and other things. He stated that until a couple of years ago, he wasn’t very aware of the blog, until Dan Rather publically attempted to tear down President Bush and his National Guard service and how the ohas continued to adapt new media to their mission, such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook. He stated that his interest in the new media forms was spawned, not from frustration with traditional media, but more so because of the fact that the informational technology has so expanded in the past few years. He sees “new media” as a way to reach many more people, especially those that they might not reach through more traditional means. Secretary Geren stated that he feels Blogs and new media helps the Army to share their message with those they wish to reach.

John Donovan of Castle Argghhh! asked Secretary Geren how to some of the O5’s and O6’s. He stated that he feels part of this may be a generational issue and that it may just take time to get these officers to accept and by into the new media. He did share that he has encouraged the spouses of sizingome of these officers to blog and share their experiences with younger spouses and that many of them really loved the experience. Secretery Geren shared that we definately need to get away from discouraging the members of the Army to tell the Army story, but instead encourage them to tell that story. He said that the Army has no greater embassadors, than Soldiers themselves. The next speaker, was the new Chief of Public Affairs General Bergner. He thanks the bloggers for their input and shared how important the milblog community was to helping the Army move into a realm that isn’t the most comfortable with, yet is very important that the Army continues to do. CJ from A Soldier’s Perspective asked the General if, because of the Army’s stance that milblogging is now becoming an important part of the new Army atmosphere, would they Army leadership considering creating a “greatest volunteer blogger” award. General Bergner stated that one thing he’d always been said as a leader, was that you always listen to what your 1SG has to say.

Troy from asked if, now that the Army is recognizing the importance of new media, does the Army plan to point the general public towards blogs, using their media sources. Secretary Geren stated that he had honestly never thought of that, as he was under the impression that many people, especially in the younger generation, that many of them are replacing the television as their primary news source, with the internet.

This Bloggers Roundtable was very informative and we were able to hear what Senior Leaders felt about Milblogging and how they felt it was helpful to the military mission.


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