Category Archives: Military

Voice Communications

20140518_105456You may have noticed this placard over my shack bench desk. I didn’t have this made for me, I inherited it. It was my mom’s placard, traveling with her throughout her various offices at Amdahl/Fujitsu.

Mom had a long relationship with telecommunications throughout her life. My earliest memories of my mom working were of her plugging the switchboards at an answering service. She made a second career for herself as a bookkeeper for many years but returned to switchboard communications where she stayed the rest of her life. She was a very talented communications operator and supervisor.

I didn’t spend huge amounts of time at the answering service growing up, but I was there enough to learn about tip & ring, how switchboards worked, the old cord-boards, and what the miles of wire behind them were for. I was lucky I suppose, there was a phone company technician swinging lines fairly often while I was there. In some small way I think that experience influenced my desire to go work for the phone company, which I did for a short time.

20140512_170250Looking at mom’s placard this morning I got a little nostalgic and started thinking about how I have been involved in communications, at least peripherally, as long as I can remember. In some way it seems as though I inherited more than just the placard. Communications seems to run through our veins.

As it turns out mom wasn’t the only family member in communications. My grandfather Robert was in communications while in the Navy during WWII. My great-uncle Allan was a signalman in the Navy as well during the war (WWII.) Allan also worked for a military aviation contractor working with navigation and avionics equipment after his hitch ended. These two related fields seem to be hereditary in my family. Robert had some connection to aviation as well, but the details are sketchy.

I never met my grandfather or spent any time with my great-uncle when he was alive. I found out about their experiences with communications and aviation while doing genealogy work after my mom passed in 2006. Like so many other vets, they didn’t talk about these experiences with their families.

Radio and aviation have always been comfortable places for me. I feel good doing these things. Even when I am frustrated or stumped, I can always figure things out and learn new skills. There are vast communities to get involved with for both, but they also provide space for solitary practitioners looking for some alone time. Both fields also seem to interact easily and many skill sets translate from one to the other well. Both also are very broad in scope, they have many sub-sets of interest to keep an interested party busy with a seemingly infinite variety of new things to learn and do. I am very grateful to be a part of both fields and I look forward to years of continued participation and sharing in both of these communities.

☮ ♥ ✈ & 73,
~FlyBoyJon / KK6GXG

New Media in the IC world

DigitalDelemaThe 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.