The video address from LTG Bill Caldwell on CDR Salamander’s blog is interesting to watch. One element that stood out in particular for me was when LTG Caldwell touched on the fact that the military is beginning to recognize that the military can no longer control the media, more importantly the flow of new media. The new media age is bringing about a major shift in all branches of the military. Changes in thought processing, changes in communications chains and changes in marketing the services to legislative bodies and to the civilian public.
When the military openly acknowledges the level of force new media can bring to bare, and encourages its integration into the military, it opens the door on thoughts of the IC arena. Recently it was made public that the US intel community is monitoring social networking sites. It is a very small hop to think that the use social networks by spooks is purely passive. If the government IC finds new media a useful tool to monitor, would they not realize the benefits of participating in the clear and in the dark? I would hope the logic train would not derail reaching this conclusion.
What does this all mean? It means that the spooks hidden toy is not so hidden anymore. Field personnel have been using social networking and new media since their inception. Similar story for the military, the covert use of social networking has been in play for years. The new activity is the realization that new media as a whole has a lot to offer any agency, organization, or force, both in the clear and in the dark.
All of the advantages social networking and new media bring to the general public, they also bring to the IC and Mill-Intel communities. From a tactics and training stand point, it makes huge sense for intel to focus on social networking and new media domestically and abroad. If the IC understands the social networking environment and new media they are in a much better place to observe and defend in that environment.