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Rob Thornton
01-13-2007, 07:47 AM
I looked around for a moment and saw several places that this could be inserted into an existing thread, but then thought since there were so many places - better to start one where it would be a seperate conversation.

I was looking at a DVD narrarated by Tom Hanks about the combat cameramen during WWII and the role they played within the Signal Corps. In many ways not much has changed. Thecombat reporters that occassionally come out on patrols or make it out this way are smart young men and women. They seem more focused on collecting IAW much higher echelon themes. Its a shame - they shoot some really good footage that could be used in local IO efforts - even if they did not come with their own interpreter (which mostly they don't), a sharp IO team at BN level could edit the footage on commercial software with a Local interpreter an produce somthing worthwhile. They could even assist the ISF (or whatever Host Nation we are currently working in) with managing their own site.This is something we could do right now.

Now, take it a step further. There was one WWII Marine who landed with a BN CDR on and atoll who was told by the BN CDR, "I don't like having any Hollywood Marines along!". The reporter replied to the BN CDR, "Sir, I shot expert, I can handle my rifle." How important is the information war? How important is it to "be firstest with the mostest" when it comes to getting your message out in a form that is not just seen, but understood? Is it worth trading out other capabilities at different levels? When I was working FCS there were contractors telling us that robotics operator for the big 10 tons where going to be an "additional duty" - Having done the field tests, I told them they were barking up the tree of one thing well, or many things badly.

You can't just add something I've found. Even small decisions impact all kinds of other things. Everything is a trade unless somebody is willing to start changing platforms for tactical through strategic mobility (it gets cummulative real fast). So how important would it be for example to have tactical bloggers who were trained and equipped (think of them as kind of a platoon FO in terms of low density MOS) and could tie in with the other higher echelons like functions/capabilities? They would not just be passive in the manner of "hey check this out", but active as in they'd be placed with the right element to collect on the event that fit the best with what the overall task and purpose was, and actively engage the enemy's IO, or create our desired IO effects. Its possible, but not a given by any stretch due to wireless bandwith constraints and competition, that they could even be given a window to upload immediately - where they or someone else (could even be at an HSOC) could manipulate it, thread it, hyperlink it, spam it, etc.

This is in effect what the bad guys are doing, but could we do it better an faster then them by recognizing the importance and making adjustments & trades? Thoughts? Thoughts on trades? Thoughts on where our resources are best spent? Work arounds?

Since the squad in my book is the most fundamental of organizations (the fire team is important, but does not have two elements to support maneuver - there is no battle drill - 'team attack', although there is a 'single team-single room'), this and questions like it should cause us to consider the nature of how we fight. Is information worth considering as a forms of contact, in a combined arms line of thought that merits changes at basic levels?

Rob Thornton
01-13-2007, 10:20 AM
Marc,
I had missed your post on the rifle squad - here may a good place to expand - I think we're headed in the same cardinal direction.
Regards, Rob

jcustis
01-13-2007, 03:38 PM
It's all about resources (laptops) and data pipes. We already have too little of both to fully enable basic combat missions, so I think something like this would be a really tough sell (even to a guy like me) to higher.

slapout9
01-13-2007, 04:05 PM
Wouldn't the Land Warrior system essentially do what is being talked about here, since it will have a camera on every soldier so to speak. Couldn't you take the raw input and edit it and use for I/O purposes on the spot more or less?

Rob Thornton
01-13-2007, 04:47 PM
JC is right about the bandwidth piece being an obstacle, but it depends on what your talking about doing. Competing with say a WMW waveform where we're sending targeting video from a CL I/II UAV back to a shooter, or doing something between commanders is competing for bandwidth on a military network - encrypted. I've purge allot of the headaches from working Future Combat Systems with its zillion Unmanned Systems, but what if you were not competing for military bandwidth?

You're not competing for military bandwidth because you target audience is not your own military - they don't need to be convinced of anything.

The enemy's target audience is not competing for your military either - but they are competing for the support of both your own population, the ones abroad and the one your operating in.

Your target audience is on the WWW. Your target audience has satellite TV.

A triband cell phone that does video and stills. A lap top with Commercial ISP. How many countries have the ability to access the WWW right now? How many cities and villages in those countries? How many in 5 years? A broadcast. A pod cast.

I think it is doable. I think it is relatively cheap in terms of those resources. The question is how important is it to us to be able to do something like it, and what is worth trading - because you can't have it all - if you try to do that, you do it all poorly.

jcustis
01-13-2007, 05:12 PM
I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that too often we confuse IO with psyop. More on that after I bang out this thought...

Those of your who have been on the ground know all too well how difficult it can be to get an IO message approved and produced. I think for that reason, the only thing a tactical blogger could do is the "hey, look at this stuff." Even then, the question is what media do we use? What language do we use? Anyone able to come up with an educated guess on who long it would take to generate an accurate Arabic translation of a 500-1,000 word English story? I don't know the answer, but unless it can be accomplished within a very finite and short period of time, we've lost the bubble.

The most effective IO product is a simple one, in my mind. It contributes a little bit to our psyop campaign because it presents a professional image of us, and can show that we care, but if it has any psyop value at all, that value is very subtle. Take for example the IO products that are handed out to articulate current curfews, restrictions on vehicle movements, or voting center information. Those products are pretty succint and to the point, and they pass information effectively.

Right now, approval levels on psyop efforts are pretty high. Is that because psyop operations are doctrinally structured that way? I don't know. We've learned from our mistakes made in Iraq, but those mistakes highlights how complex the problem is when we decide to try to manipulate minds. While I think your ideas have merit Rob, we've got to overcome some of the tribal effect. An Iraqi might see an incredibly powerful message that show IAF kicking ass against true die-hard AQ elements, but simple shrug his shoulders because it's happening in Rawah, and it (in his mind) has very little to do with his problems in Hillah.

Want to really take a huge risk, but do something with great potential? Allow Gen Petraeus to appear on an Al-Jeezerah or Iraqi talk show. I think that we fail to make aggressive enough shifts in this fight, and resort to packaging IO is familiar ways. Maybe it's time to step out of the paradigm we live with here in the US (military members staying out of public and possibly embarrassing situations) and let it all hang out. I think the man on the street, or the barber shop, or tea shop, would embrace a message from Petraeus if it came out in that venue. Everything else coming from us, I fear, simply sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher.

If I'm sounding like the teacher on this reply, feel free to slap me around.

EDITED TO ADD:

Rob, I was still typing out my post above when you replied. I think your statement below would be very difficult to implement, simply because we would be such a cumbersome sloth if we had to determine if you proposed activity needs to happen over a covered net. The old hands are probably going to say, keep it all covered, until it gets to the higher echelons that do the manipulation, reproduction, spamming, etc.


You're not competing for military bandwidth because you target audience is not your own military - they don't need to be convinced of anything.

The enemy's target audience is not competing for your military either - but they are competing for the support of both your own population, the ones abroad and the one your operating in.

Rob Thornton
01-13-2007, 05:25 PM
Slapout,
The landwarrior could sort of do it. Its more of a question of getting what you get, or getting what your after. Imagine you have all these sensors out there (includes the Soldier), and they are moving around, potentially sending images, or other types of feeds back to a HQs. Are they active or passive? When I say that I mean in terms of are they providing context to the content? If they are doing another task, then probably not. Lets say you pipe those feeds (or some of them) into the IO Cell. Back to JCs observation about bandwidth, there is not enough of it. So how does someone no when push priotiy of bandwidth to the IO guy? This also comes back to the KO vs. NKO cultural thing - if its a question of watching a NLOS (Non-LOS) or BLOS (Beyond LOS) round impact some HVT - or looking for some IO materials who gets the bandwidth by default?
When the UAV feed on the RV at the BDE TOC thinks they see a hot spot - why does everybody cease work and watch UAV TV?

I still think its a question of how important is it that we win the IO and the supporting questions of at which levels and what are we willing to trade?

slapout9
01-13-2007, 05:37 PM
Rob, I don't know that much about the Land Warrior have read some articles, but I compare it to LE Patrol Car Cameras. These are used for evidence collection,training, and public information messages. I am sure you have some "COPS" on TV. That was where I was coming from. None of this is real time or real fast which can be a benefit because you edit it for content, before releasing it. Also has an effect on Officer behavior (be nice your on candid camera). Down side is if you are wrong, you are busted!

I don't know if they still do but NYPD (New York PD) used to teach a course on something very similar to this thread. In fact they started carrying hand held video cameras to film the news crews to make sure they presented the true picture of things on TV. If they didn't NYPD had the video evidence to counter with. Instead of bullets they shot video back and forth at each other. What a concept?

Rob Thornton
01-13-2007, 06:13 PM
JC,
That's just it. I am trying to say is it worth changing the way we see and do things to get out in front? Is it worth it to risk getting an unapproved message out? I don't care about if it gets approved - the discussion we're having now is not approved. However, I am within a Left and Right limit - I'm not being critical of my leadership by name or position, or trahing policy - what I'm saying is what if we offered tactical gus the same type of Left and Rights in order to gain a tactical advantage in IO. Can IO have PsyOp effects - sure.
Perfect is the enemy of good enough. So you give "IO guidance" and turn them loose. You don't gain much if you are not willing to risk much. If the stakes are too high, then the CDR narrows the L & R limits.
Its an extension of decentralization and the bad guys are whipping us at it. I asked the BCT to come up with IO stuff for the IA and they said "there is allot of restrictions on that, how about you go with what we have?" I told them thanks. I sat down with my IA coutnerpart, explained the concept and told him there was no way an American IO message can come close to resonating like one from a no kidding Iraqi. A few minutes on Adobe Photo Shop and .PPT and we had one in Arabic, sounding like it was written by an Arab (because of course it was), with the images picked by an Arab. I sent it up to the BCT and suggested they provide it to the IPs since I don't hve the resources to print for both the IA and IPs - they were shocked! Who approved this they said? The IA approved it - its their message - you CF don't get a vote. My boss supported me, and others did as well.
By teaching them that, when they score a victory and want to get it out, they can now turn a good paper product that beats the pants off the AIFs in about 12 hours and start distributing. If I could get them an Internet connection they could start blogging.
Our enemies understand this. They are infront of us I think because of our current evaluation of risk vs. gains. There are folks out there schooling their militaries in how to conduct Information Warfare - and it is a multi faceted operation.
I'm still asking myself the question - do we need to change? How? What is it worth to us? At this time I'm not including the effect of how many folks might say we can't do this because... I'm more concerned about why we might, what it would cost and how we might do it. If the need to do so is there, then the discussion about getting people to accept it will progres.
Regards Rob


Want to really take a huge risk, but do something with great potential? Allow Gen Petraeus to appear on an Al-Jeezerah or Iraqi talk show. I think that we fail to make aggressive enough shifts in this fight, and resort to packaging IO is familiar ways. Maybe it's time to step out of the paradigm we live with here in the US (military members staying out of public and possibly embarrassing situations) and let it all hang out. I think the man on the street, or the barber shop, or tea shop, would embrace a message from Petraeus if it came out in that venue. Everything else coming from us, I fear, simply sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher.

I like that allot, its another form of getting it into a package they can receive. Everybody has a TV. I think a guy like GEN Petreus can carry it off. But I want to carry it beyond Iraq. Part of our Insular IO philosophy is that we live in an Insular society. We project the Bay Watch image to the rest of the world - why is that? We do have access to everything, but mostly we choose KFC and Mickey Ds. Its culture by choice. We build our FOBs to be insular. In another post you or maybe it was RTK had said something about wrapping soldiers in pillows - we do the same thing in almost every aspect of warfare. Marc could probably shed some light on this one. :)

jcustis
01-13-2007, 06:32 PM
There's definitely a need to do so, it it all revolves around your last post. Good efforts and I'm glad to hear that it had results. Sound like good material for a SWJ article...

EDITED to ADD: At this point, I'm beginning to think that there are few ideas out there that are untenable. It already seems (from a whole view) that the US may be grasping at straws in Iraq. Our MSM doesn't help...hell, maybe the SWC doesn't even help.

Rob Thornton
01-13-2007, 06:33 PM
Slapout

I don't know if they still do but NYPD (New York PD) used to teach a course on something very similar to this thread. In fact they started carrying hand held video cameras to film the news crews to make sure they presented the true picture of things on TV. If they didn't NYPD had the video evidence to counter with. Instead of bullets they shot video back and forth at each other. What a concept?
Our guys do do some of this now. most every patrol (hell almost everybody) has a digital camera. They take pictures of evidence, and almost all things that matter. Its a good thing. Many units make story boards using those photos to tell a story for different purposes - mostly they stay in house.
Somewhere in the Kilcullen thread he mentioned something about an almost Kinetic sounding IO line of operation he was fleshing out. That has really stuck in my head in ref. to trades and gains vs. risks.

Gents I'm not making an argument for this thing or that so much as I am the case for relooking the reasons why are willing to do somethings and are unwilling to do others. Why we are both reluctant and lethargic to changing organizational culture and other aspects that could benefit us. We have the biggest problem recognizing things, then acting in manner that quickly changes things in our balance. I think its especially important in an age where information has an edge and travels much faster through a myriad of mediums.

jcustis
01-13-2007, 06:52 PM
Why we are both reluctant and lethargic to changing organizational culture and other aspects that could benefit us. We have the biggest problem recognizing things, then acting in manner that quickly changes things in our balance.

I'd humbly submit that it isn't so much lethargy or difficulty in recognizing opportunites for change. The corporate knowledge also holds the burned-in images of those moments when we failed terribly; risk-aversion then comes into play.

I remember something I learned about IO years ago. A Marine unit thought it had developed a pretty good flyer and pushed a lot of products out. The problem was that the message, while directed at the muj, was easily misinterpreted by the innocents as meant for them as well. It portrayed us as some omnipotent entity that would come after "you" at any time of the day. Screwed up thing was that who "you" actually was, did not get defined properly.

We're afraid to fail in these areas. It does require a cultural shift from the top, perhaps all the way up to SecDef. I don't think there are too many battalion commanders (where the rubber really hits the road) who are willing to hang their hat on an unapproved message or technique. the top needs to define the left and right lateral limits, as you say, as allow more latitude. One question that I submit to you is this: Does the top know what the message is? When I use the term message, I mean the overall framework or theme of IO for a certain. You remember when the push was elections, or joining the IA, etc. What's the current theme? I don't think the top knows what the theme is, and thus we have stasis, outside of the run-of-the-mill products that say "hey, look at what we are doing for you."

The issue of the surge or escalation is going to draw significant mental energy along with it, and other warfighting functions suffer.

slapout9
01-13-2007, 07:12 PM
Remember that saying in school sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me. It ain't true! But Americans outside of some professions (Law,Marketing) are not taught this, we think if there is no shooting or bombing there is no war. In contrast most other society's understand this very well, and they are quite a match for us in this realm.

Images,audio,messages can be greater than the sword (updated version of the quote,don't remember who said it). This is why in many societies outside the US lying is perfectly moral if you are using it to protect you or your families interest, the concept of objective truth for all doesn't play that well. And Americans are naive alot of times in dealing with this because we think everybody wants to get along and play well in the sandbox together. It often doesn't work that way and the US needs to learn how to play the game better and understand war takes place across many mediums.

Shek
01-14-2007, 01:23 AM
Hey guys, I don't think this blog is getting at your vision Rob, but I think it illustrates the potential of some of the media that could be used. For example, less on the Marine sniper and mortar teams, more paintings like the Red Cross/Red Crescent with an accompanying message.

http://mdfay.blogspot.com/

Rob Thornton
01-14-2007, 10:19 AM
Does the top know what the message is? When I use the term message, I mean the overall framework or theme of IO for a certain. You remember when the push was elections, or joining the IA, etc. What's the current theme? I don't think the top knows what the theme is, and thus we have stasis, outside of the run-of-the-mill products that say "hey, look at what we are doing for you."

That is an immportant question? Also - Do we understand when the message needs to change? Did we forsee it changing -like having an IO Decision Point? Did we put ourselve in a position to take advantage of the change? Did we have the criteria out there to recognize the change was coming (think CCIR). What should we do about it?



The issue of the surge or escalation is going to draw significant mental energy along with it, and other warfighting functions suffer

You are absoutley right. Nothing is free. The question is is it worth it? And if it is, what suffers the most? Doing things on the cheap will ammount to not really doing it. As for value, Slapout's remarks are a good start:


Images,audio,messages can be greater than the sword (updated version of the quote,don't remember who said it). This is why in many societies outside the US lying is perfectly moral if you are using it to protect you or your families interest, the concept of objective truth for all doesn't play that well. And Americans are naive alot of times in dealing with this because we think everybody wants to get along and play well in the sandbox together. It often doesn't work that way and the US needs to learn how to play the game better and understand war takes place across many mediums.

Shek,


Hey guys, I don't think this blog is getting at your vision Rob, but I think it illustrates the potential of some of the media that could be used. For example, less on the Marine sniper and mortar teams, more paintings like the Red Cross/Red Crescent with an accompanying message.

Good link - Marct must be hanging out watching Canadian football this weekend (does that mean Hockey:D ?), but his symbology line of thought is important:cool:

I think we're getting there. I like Slapout's line about the sword. Words and symbols (words can be symbols or invoke them). So its a question of if you ha the right guy doing the right job with the right tools is he: worth 1 rifleman, worth a FO, worth a crewman? What do you get in return? What on today's and tmorrow's battlefield am I likely to need more? What skill set (if any) could be mitigated by technology - example - will Networked Fires with NLOS-LS (rockets in a box) - mean I may not need platoon FOs? What is to be gained and why??

jcustis
01-14-2007, 09:33 PM
That is an immportant question? Also - Do we understand when the message needs to change? Did we forsee it changing -like having an IO Decision Point? Did we put ourselve in a position to take advantage of the change? Did we have the criteria out there to recognize the change was coming (think CCIR). What should we do about it?

I think we understand that messages may need to change, but we do not have, as you say, a definitive decision point that allows lower level IO managers to come to that conclusion.

The other have to it is that IO is a collateral duty. For my old Bn's last go around, the FSC held that responsibility. Guess what he was doing when recognizing that decision point was probably most critical? He was monitoring the Regt Fires net and prosecuting fire support with the assistance of one Fires NCO. This was on the FJ peninsula, and I think the high-end COIN ops simply crushed his brain to the point that IO had to play second fiddle. Perhaps at times like these we do need to give up a personnel asset and install them as a general support IO asset, with a focus on nothing but IO and the variety of non-kinetic operations it can entail.

That all goes back to manpower that we already sorely lack. Maybe the proposed force structure increases will be met with initiatives in the direction of establishing an IO/CAG element on the lines of ANGLICO.

slapout9
01-15-2007, 12:08 AM
Good article from July/August 05 issue of Military Review about this subject.
Here is the link.

https://calldbp.leavenworth.army.mil/eng_mr/2006080808030243/2005/Jul_Aug/13trent.pdf#xml=/scripts/cqcgi.exe/@ss_prod.env?CQ_SESSION_KEY=XNRRVPZQKEVP&CQ_QH=124133&CQDC=9&CQ_PDF_HIGHLIGHT=YES&CQ_CUR_DOCUMENT=1

marct
01-15-2007, 12:36 AM
Good link - Marct must be hanging out watching Canadian football this weekend (does that mean Hockey:D ?), but his symbology line of thought is important:cool:

Nope, just sleeping a lot after a trip to Toronto on business :D .

Good thread, Rob! I think we are "confusing" (was that the word you used JC?) 1/O and psyops - for the good reason that they are inextricably linked. I remember reading a proposal posted somewhere on the board (can't remember the thread or article) that argued for combining the two and why it would be a good idea.

Certainly, the periphery of the MB, i.e. AQ, etc., are practicing a form of adaptive I/O-psyops, and I think we should be too. I really like the idea of tactical bloggers using commercial equipment, Rob. Part of the reason I like it is because our (i.e. the Wests') strength has always been in diverse thought rather than in following an approved party line. No centrally organized, monolithic organization can really stand against solid "random" attacks (think of a pack of wolves pulling down a moose). So, why do we restrict ourselves to the tactics approved of by the moose?

In WWII, we won not by having better equipment than the Germans, but by having more of it, produced faster. Honestly, some of Rumsfelt's comments over the past years have reminded me of the Germans during WWII - "the superweapon is coming". Oh, yes, and how soon before the Land Warrior system is actually in the field? Tactical blogging, using commercial ISPs, pdas, cell phones, etc. uses our strengths.

Would some get it "wrong" and produce something that makes some people mad? Sure, that's going to happen. Will any individual effort be as good as if it had been constructed by the best psyops people around? Maybe, but probably not. The point, however, is that that isn't a fair question or comparison; it's not a one tactical blog compared with one psyops campaign. The real ratio would probably be closer to 1000 tactical blogs to a psyops campaign.

Marc

Rob Thornton
01-15-2007, 03:46 AM
Would some get it "wrong" and produce something that makes some people mad? Sure, that's going to happen. Will any individual effort be as good as if it had been constructed by the best psyops people around? Maybe, but probably not. The point, however, is that that isn't a fair question or comparison; it's not a one tactical blog compared with one psyops campaign. The real ratio would probably be closer to 1000 tactical blogs to a psyops campaign.

Marc,
What if it was as good ass the PsyOps people could produce (at least in terms of how fast a trained PsyOps guy could do it in say an hour from the time he got the film or photo?). Why because the guys we might be talking about would be PsyIOSig (the combo - not the pretzel bit w/cheeses filling, but the one you spoke of higher in your post:D ) as a primary and a rifleman (or FO or what have you) as a second.

Would the trade be worth it given what we expect out of today's an tomorrow's enemy. Yes, there would be a huge investment. :D Yes, they'd be low density guys, with high GT scores who'd get offered allot of money on the outside so we'd have to give high enlistment and retention bonses. Would their contribution to the GWOT over the next decade or two be worth it?

JC, I like the ANGLICO analogy (My first three years in the Marines I was a NGF spotter), but there might be more value in having them organic to lower tactical echelons - they could get their low density concurrent training online, and attend semi-annual seminars (yep more $$)

Regards, Rob

jcustis
01-15-2007, 03:59 AM
Good thread, Rob! I think we are "confusing" (was that the word you used JC?) 1/O and psyops - for the good reason that they are inextricably linked. I remember reading a proposal posted somewhere on the board (can't remember the thread or article) that argued for combining the two and why it would be a good idea.

Although the two may be inextricably linked, we (at least the Marine Corps) have not been playing that way. IO and PSYOP are two different realms. For the Al Fajr fight, we received an Army PSYOP attachment. We do not have organic capabilities within the Regiment or Division, and IO is sometimes treated as that undesirable uncle you like to keep at arms reach.

marct
01-15-2007, 04:01 AM
Hi Rob,


What if it was as good ass the PsyOps people could produce (at least in terms of how fast a trained PsyOps guy could do it in say an hour from the time he got the film or photo?). Why because the guys we might be talking about would be PsyIOSig (the combo - not the pretzel bit w/cheeses filling, but the one you spoke of higher in your post:D ) as a primary and a rifleman (or FO or what have you) as a second.

Hey, works for me:D . Honestly, I think that tactical level blogging is a fantastic idea, and not just at the "my squad in Mosul" level. Part of the reason I think that is because this war isn't only being fought in Iraq - it's taking place globally.

You know, we always talk about the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi's. What about the Hearts and Minds of Canadians, Americans, Brits, Germans, etc.? Why should we relly on the press to get our information and make our decisions, especially when they will be hopelessly uninformed <wry grin>? I have a feeling that the Coalition militaries could do a lot worse that buying up some server space and donating it to troops in the field to put up whatever they want.


Would the trade be worth it given what we expect out of today's an tomorrow's enemy. Yes, there would be a huge investment. :D Yes, they'd be low density guys, with high GT scores who'd get offered allot of money on the outside so we'd have to give high enlistment and retention bonses. Would their contribution to the GWOT over the next decade or two be worth it?

Honestly, I don't know how huge an investment it would be - a lot of poeple already have the skilss, knowledge and equipment. Would they have to be paid more? You know, I doubt they would, at least at the basic level. Give people the freedom to talk / post about what they see, hear and believe and some of them will.

At the more specialist level, yeah, you probably would have to pay them more. Then again, maybe not <evil grin>. Have the Army or the Corps swing a deal with some of the colleges and universities for accreditation, and you could have someone come out of a 4-5 year term with abn Associates degree in computer journalism, pr at least a major part of one.

Marc

Rob Thornton
01-15-2007, 04:58 AM
-I can't remember who sent me the link to Kent's Imperative (http://kentsimperative.blogspot.com/2006/12/your-lying-eyes.html), but its a good blog. This post gets to a least an aorta.


You know, we always talk about the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi's. What about the Hearts and Minds of Canadians, Americans, Brits, Germans, etc.? Why should we relly on the press to get our information and make our decisions, especially when they will be hopelessly uninformed <wry grin>? I have a feeling that the Coalition militaries could do a lot worse that buying up some server space and donating it to troops in the field to put up whatever they want.

These spheres might be called "bonus points" or I should say might have been. Consider even the audience of this post on SWC - JC is in Quantico, Slapout is in Alabama, Marc is in Canada and I'm in Mosul. Consider our professions and who we represent. Now consider who we influence and the migration of ideas:cool: What about the related ideas that are sprung, completed or massaged into being? What about the guys who just look and don't respond? The audience is global. Every audience has the potential to be global. Before when long distant rates and air travel were the only options, ideas migrated more slowly, and the source idea was often unknown-now their are links and records - their are personal relationships that evolve from communities - their is trust (varying degrees) in people who have never met face to face. I have not even covered the very tip o the berg. To para phrase from Slapout - this is a sharp sword indeed - and if you consider the mass of the berg underwater, it can be a hefty sword as well - or it might be better to think of it as a Syracusan lever.


At the more specialist level, yeah, you probably would have to pay them more. Then again, maybe not <evil grin>. Have the Army or the Corps swing a deal with some of the colleges and universities for accreditation, and you could have someone come out of a 4-5 year term with abn Associates degree in computer journalism, pr at least a major part of one.

So it doesn't have to be so pricey after all? The Amazing Kreskin senses lightbulbs going of at the various HRCs. "Oh and where did you learn your trade Johhny"? I've been getting paid for working in the field since I was 18 ( I was blogging since I was 9). Taken from an interview with for the position of podcast journalist somewhere in the next decade. What would be the implications of that??:D

Marc, BTW- have you seen the magical realism post yet?

marct
01-15-2007, 01:44 PM
Hi Rob,


These spheres might be called "bonus points" or I should say might have been. Consider even the audience of this post on SWC - JC is in Quantico, Slapout is in Alabama, Marc is in Canada and I'm in Mosul. Consider our professions and who we represent. Now consider who we influence and the migration of ideas:cool: What about the related ideas that are sprung, completed or massaged into being? What about the guys who just look and don't respond? The audience is global.

Yup, and that was exactly my point <evil grin>. Tactical blogging, at the most basic level (e.g. Private Smith's Blog), gets a story out there. It may not be what the psyops crowd would want, it may not be ideal, but if we are dealing with a 1000:1 ratio, and it's probably greater than that, then it is a lot better than what is happening now.

You know, we've talked a lot about the lack of ground level info flowing back to units that are going to be rotated into an area. BTW, I'm not talking about specifics, just general "street smarts". So, if you knew that your unit was going to be deployed to Mosul or Al Anbar and there were 500 tactical bloggers in each area, you could get a really good feel for what's happening there without breaking opsec. It would also give you names of counterparts, etc. Invaluable in this war!


So it doesn't have to be so pricey after all? The Amazing Kreskin senses lightbulbs going of at the various HRCs. "Oh and where did you learn your trade Johhny"? I've been getting paid for working in the field since I was 18 ( I was blogging since I was 9). Taken from an interview with for the position of podcast journalist somewhere in the next decade. What would be the implications of that??:D

Marc, BTW- have you seen the magical realism post yet?

Hehehehe :D Toss in some "merit scholarship awards", e.g. "Best Blog post of Sept, 2007", and you've got some material awards. Add in the fact that we know the bureacrats in the forces will be watching (they'd have to to check for opsec leaks), and you would have a really neat tool for identifying potential NCO and officer material.

Magic realism post? Nope, I'll go look for it now.

Marc

Stan
01-22-2007, 08:33 PM
Hey Rob,
We not only video tape all or our EOD response calls, but look at them over and over again. Somebody is watching US and learning fast, as they are doing in Iraq.

Our WWW connection is broad band just like the police use. Nothing special, but it works. Once in the sticks, plug in the cell phone and wait for the mega 100 bits per second to display an image, but better than nothing.

Regards, Stan

Stan
01-22-2007, 10:01 PM
Hey Rob and Marc !


you would have a really neat tool for identifying potential NCO and officer material.

We recruit about 5 people a year to begin the process of becoming "Deminers". EOD technician training is arduous, and we still have the task of cleaning up ordnance from WWI and WWII when there are no response calls.

You are so close, you may not even know it. Our initial interviews were designed to identify those so-called potential NCOs and Officers. Actually they will later become State-employed civilians subordinate to the Rescue Board.

MBTI and yes Mr. Jung have many good ideas (I hate saying that BTW). As one of the senior specialist for training and development, I am expected to weed out those with a lack potential. That's pretty far fetched.

A trip to the morgue normally completes the day. If that's going OK, we get technical and see if there's any natural ability or aptitude that plays a role.

I snap the erasers off new pencils, give them a pad of paper and we do trigonometry. You'd be surprised how fun calculating acute angles can be without the aid of a calculator (cosine is my favorite ball-buster: θ = 1 - θ2/2! + θ4/4!). Why Trigonometry ? A bomb tech's most basic function - Hook and Line -aka- HAL. When the Honeywell X-ray battery is dead or the film is spent in the sunlight and the robot is out of radio range, you still have simple rigging at your disposal.

Yea, I went way off into left field again :rolleyes:

Regards, Stan

marct
01-22-2007, 10:08 PM
Hi Stan,


We recruit about 5 people a year to begin the process of becoming "Deminers". EOD technician training is arduous, and we still have the task of cleaning up ordnance from WWI and WWII when there are no response calls.

You are so close, you may not even know it. Our initial interviews were designed to identify those so-called potential NCOs and Officers. Actually they will later become State-employed civilians subordinate to the Rescue Board.

:D Cool! I always knew that reading Jung's' Collected works would pay off <lolol>.


Yea, I went way off into left field again :rolleyes:

Not Really :). We've had a fair number of threads talking about recruitment and HR stuff. Personally, I think it would be interesting, and useful, for those interview techniques to get passed on to anyone recruiting PRTs for Africa (lots of mines in many of those countries).

Marc

Stan
01-22-2007, 10:24 PM
Hey Marc !
Yep, I would never admit, but Jung got me dead on and I have the Sierra (ty) attitude to prove it :D

The recruiting process works well here, but I have no clue what would happen per se in Zšire (sorry Congo). They would steal the tools before the first day of class (like they did to me in 84). Trig, you must be kidding Marc !!!!!

Is trig in African lingo "wangling"? You may have a point and I may need that book of yours with stuffed animals later :eek:

Regards, Stan

marct
01-22-2007, 10:54 PM
The recruiting process works well here, but I have no clue what would happen per se in Zšire (sorry Congo). They would steal the tools before the first day of class (like they did to me in 84). Trig, you must be kidding Marc !!!!!

Not if they had the right curses on the :D.


Is trig in African lingo "wangling"? You may have a point and I may need that book of yours with stuffed animals later :eek:

LOLOL. I'll have to write it first. Hmmm, What wold be a good title? "Teddy the Terrible", "The Wizards of Toys R Us".... nah, I'll work it out later. :D

On a related note, The Coke bottling plant in Namibia in the 1970's had a problem with bottle breakage. They hired a really expensive consulting firm (NY I think), to solve the problem. $250k later, their consultant gave them the solution - "Your workers are illiterate, so put up a picture sign with a Coke bottle = $$$$". They did, and the breakage stayed exactly the same.

A couple of weeks later, and Anthropologist stopped in to pick up a couple of cases for his field site. The plant manager gave him a tour and, when he saw the sign, he broke out in uproarious laughter. "What is it?" said the plant manager. "I take it that sign hasn't helped with the breakage?" the anthropologist replied. "Not at all" was the response.

Still snickering, the Anthropologist said "Replace the $$$$ with the picture of a cow and see if that helps". Figuring he had nothing to loose, the NY consultant already had all of his money, the plant manager changed the sign. Strangely enough, the breakage rate dropped to a normal, North American level.

The moral of the story? Sometimes you just have to motivate people with the things they understand :D.

TTFN

Marc

Stan
01-22-2007, 11:16 PM
Marc,
There's a very similar story about the GM plant (well not any more) in Zšire.

They weren't so much breaking things, but stealing them. I have no idea if the savior was an Anthropologist :confused: , but whomever he or she was, saved the plant. This is where you're gonna love the ending :(

The owner had just returned from Turkey and brought back one of those "eyes" that hang all over in Turkey guarding against (hell whatever) and put it up on the front door to the factory.

The very next day the boss' floor manager inquired, "what's that" he asked. The Belgian told him, "in Turkey, it keeps theives away." The Zširois quickly began to spread the gospell and by the end of the day, the "eye" was stolen :eek:

It gets even better. Turns out, the one that had removed it had a fatal car accident, and thereafter, the eye was put back and theft dwindled for over two years.

Don't rush on sending me that stuffed animal book yet :D I'm gong to Turkey !
Regards, Stan

Rob Thornton
01-23-2007, 04:11 AM
Stan, That is a great story. I don't know about going to Turkey though. Our big Perkins genny went down the other day which put us in a bind as the grid is undpredictable and we still have to run radios and life support type functions - so we used the IA's Kraz 7.5t with Inman crane and got her into KBR where an Englishman runs some Turkish tech and cran oeprators. When we got word it was fixed we went to go pick her up and the damn batteries were gone. "There were no batteries" they said. "OK" I said, just happy to have it fixed (although I had pictures of the evac - one of which showed the batteries still attached). So we get her home and all looks good, but our electrician says "you know, this s not our 600 amp breaker, someone has replaced it with a 400 amp." Not being to saavy on prices, I asked how much for a good 600 amp breaker here on this economy? "Probably about $800" for a good one." So they got us twice, and I new why stealing a 600 amp breaker was worth it. If they would not fess up to the batteries, then no way they'd fess up to the breaker

Well it turned out to be as good as a soccer game for unity because for the rest of the day all BN; Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs, Kurds - all - came up to us and said we're sorry about that stuff beign stole off your generator, but if you'd have just asked us we'd have told you not to trust a Turk:D . I laughed my tail off - it became the big joke of the week. It makes you wonder if in the case for national unity we should pick somebody they all dislike and start a fight:eek: ?

Stan
01-23-2007, 09:10 AM
Hello Rob,
I enjoyed your story. It reminds me of daily situations here in Tallinn shortly following EU and NATO membership status.

The Estonian's that I socialize and work with were constantly telling me about the need to join NATO before the Russians decide to once again come calling. Most Estonians, even to this day, don't care much for the EU. Too many rules and things only got more expensive.

I told them about opening Pandora's Box and to be careful what you wish for. The Turks are here and in the hundreds. They are somewhat laid back and get by with Russian in the event one needs to communicate. There are no marginal or extremist views, it's just business.

They occupy almost all the unskilled labor areas, such as trash, sanitation and for some strange reason, all the car washes :confused: . These labor positions however have some obvious fringe benifits with access to (your) car parts, your personal belongings, and even stranger, electrical wiring (your $800 breaker) and water pipes :eek: .

Scrap metal is big business in Estonia - One of my neighbors returned home to find all of his ground wires gone (the thick ones on the sides of the building normally attached to lightning rods on the roof :rolleyes: )

Regards, Stan

Rob Thornton
01-23-2007, 02:43 PM
We're talking big $$$ here too. The last team had brought in wire to do the perimeter lights I guess, when we went out to fix them, we found out most of it had been stolen from the adjacent neighborhood side some time ago (this time we wired it a little differently.). When we were passing through Kuwait, the vast scrapyards of destroyed Iraqi equipment (destroyed during the Persia Gulf War) which had been gathered up was being sold by the lot to the Chinese - a steady stream of trucks was coing and going - very efficient. When we took the IA to the CF FOB (some people go hiking - we go to the CF dump allot) they would go crazy with the stuff CF just through out. Go to a range aywhere (no matter if you set it up or what) in the Middle East, and folks are there in 5 minutes waiting to pick up the brass. Poverty is a fact, but its still pretty sad.

marct
01-23-2007, 03:44 PM
I just got this press release and I think it has some interesting implications


The ODF Toolkit Project, OpenOffice.org

The future of OpenOffice.org extends beyond the office suite. With the creation of our new ODF Toolkit Project (http://odftoolkit.openoffice.org/ (http://odftoolkit.openoffice.org)), which we are announcing today, we are inviting developers everywhere to take the source of the world's leading Free and Open office productivity suite in bold new directions. These may include technologies that engage tools for collaboration, communication and content creation of every kind; tools that will complement and even transcend the already powerful productivity suite. The anchor of this new project is the OpenDocument Format (ODF), the ISO and OASIS standard format for office applications and the most flexible and adaptable format for the future.

Any application can be engineered to express its files in the ODF and any application can open and edit ODF files created by another compliant application. Vendor lock-in, in which the user must continue to use expensive and proprietary software only because the files created using it are unreadable by other applications, has been the bane of governments, businesses, and individuals for at least the last twenty-five years. With the ODF users reclaim their works and vendor lock-in is eliminated. It is for this reason that governments and businesses are looking to the ODF and OpenOffice.org. The stakes are too high.

The ODF Toolkit Project takes that freedom even further. Developers are not bound by the legacy constraints of the office suite; they will be able to more easily include ODF in their applications or create new applications that use ODF. It does not matter whether it extracts, manages, creates, or integrates information. The ODF Toolkit Project lowers the barriers to working with and implementing the ODF for all.

Users will obviously benefit, and almost immediately. To give just an example: The future of collaboration and communication, not to mention much of commerce, depends on applications that can exchange files without the hassle of incompatibility; the future depends on truly open and flexible standards and formats. But much of what is created today and almost all that is exchanged uses proprietary formats, effectively limiting collaboration.

With the ODF Toolkit Project, any suitable application, large or small, will find it easier to implement the ODF, allowing users to create and exchange, collaborate on or simply save their files as they please, without the fear of vendor lock-in or file obsolescence.

Developers and others interested in contributing are invited to join us now and make something new!

To learn more go to http://odftoolkit.openoffice.org.


Marc

Stan
01-23-2007, 03:52 PM
Hey Rob,
You're so correct. Even here where the economy grew so quickly, USAID pulled out 2 years earlier than previously planned.

Who shovels the snow in the winter? 60-plus-year old homeless people. They also show up in some of the most expensive shopping malls on the top floor where most of us sit, eat, smoke and drink.

When you take your tray to the racks at the entrance of the dishwashing area, they will casually meander over and begin the collection process, to include dirty forks and knives. Plop down and commence eating.

Most here have a hard time with that, but I had already served in far worse places, and hardly took notice.

Yes it's sad, but it is as you so well stated, a fact of life anywhere today.

I'm glad my father insisted I go to school :cool:

Regards, Stan