. . . Wednesday March 9, 2005

One, Two, Three, What are We Blogging For?

Forget consumers, media players and businesses. Does the military have a good reason to jump on the blogging bandwagon?

While I was serving as an intelligence analyst at the US Central Command in Qatar during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in 2003, my team and I analyzed hundreds of messages and reports each day. We created briefings used by generals Tommy Franks and John Abizaid. A vast amount of information was available to us on Intelink, but there was no simple way to find and use the data efficiently. For instance, our search engine was an outdated version of AltaVista. (We’ve got Google now, a step in the right direction.) And while there were hundreds of people throughout the world reading the same materials, there was no easy way to learn what they thought. Somebody had answers to my questions, I knew, but how were we ever to connect? The scary truth is that most of the time analysts are flying half blind.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of embarking on an expensive and decades-long process of reform – the type loved by bureaucrats on Capitol Hill – the services can fix this themselves. There’s no reason our nation’s spy organizations can’t leap­frog what the Army is already doing with Web technology and, at the same time, build upon what the public is doing with the blogosphere.

Concentration is important!