17th

December 2008

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Blackfive has a guest post from BG Abe Abrams, USA, soliciting input for their new field manual for training full spectrum ops.




Posted by Chap in Uncategorized


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  • USNI editorial board member

    Whyever would a BG “solicit” inputs? Does he not have a staff to provide him all he needs? This sounds like PR-speak to me…major figures in the legal and medical professions do not “solicit” inputs from the public on professional matters–and for reasons obvious to anyone whose critical faculties have not fallen into an amnesia-aggravated sleep.

  • Chap

    major figures in the legal and medical professions do not “solicit” inputs from the public on professional matters

    Actually, they do for some things at some times. (That’s also why government agencies have RFC periods for proposed policies.) This is one consequence of that new Web 2.0 buzzword all the kids are excited about. You may be correct that there’s a PR aspect to it, but on the other hand the general may be breaking out of the protective shell all high ranking officers get placed into in order to both see if new ideas are there and to ensure that concerns get addressed before the document is signed out and not afterward.

    This is somewhat similar to the process used for FM 3-24, which was rather successful in incorporating ideas, comment and griping from many different people who normally wouldn’t have cared about, or had access to, the process.

    It may well be that this is a fig leaf. I also think that one call on one blog is insufficient to get the response they want. However, it’s smarter than perhaps you’ve characterized it.

    —— BK ——
    I’m serious about this related point: this is the third time this week someone has decided to anonymously ad hominem insult someone on one of my posts or comments. This isn’t what the magazine standard is; is this the USNI’s preferred style?

  • USNI editorial board member

    My commentary was neither anonymous nor can it be characterized as “ad hominem.” I identified myself in a way that is more useful, more relevant to the subject at hand, than the name that happens to be printed on my birth certificate; I cannot be said to employ an “ad hominem” attack when I don’t mention, nor in fact have any interest in knowing, the name of the posting author. If we have generals who honestly believe that they can more effectively discharge their obligations by seeking the advice of strangers, then we need to start employing a sensible way of deciding who gets to become a general.

  • Chap

    I do not agree with your characterization.

    Let me be clear here. My intention is not to be a jerk about this issue, particularly since I don’t know which USNI editorial board member this is or even if it is such. I’m making a point that needs to be made more generally on this blog.

    For the specific comment in question, I reiterate that

    –(a) your handle sure looks like an anonymous one from over on this side of the screen, and it certainly isn’t your real name.
    –(b) you wrote “…for reasons obvious to anyone whose critical faculties have not fallen into an amnesia-aggravated sleep” and that sounded like a slam on the general to me, and not something I’d say to someone face-to-face casually.
    –(c) I argue from direct and indirect experience that seeking the advice of strangers, as you put it, can be an effective way of improving policy documents even if the particulars on this one aren’t optimal (and I’d have to see the arguments for this case; I don’t have enough information to know). The operating concepts are buzzworded and common outside the military but uncommon inside the military.
    –(d) Finally, blogs of this type have to build commenting communities, and the tone for the blog gets set early. Without regulation the tone devolves very quickly and I have seen bad examples. I cannot regulate but I can notice the effect of such a tone on my posts. One of my earliest posts here explained how people unused to blogs or insensitive to the different style of communication can be misunderstood very quickly, and offered some suggestions to avoid it.

    If you really are a USNI editorial board member, I have no way of knowing this. If you really are a USNI editorial board member, your magazine has a much different tone. I have already paid a real cost by being outed here on this blog before I was ready to do so, because publishing for the USNI is worth attaching your name to when possible. Anonymity in Proceedings has in the past been argued about considerably, and used sparingly in print. I am more than willing to stop putting my effort in here for free if my post above is so difficult to take.

  • http://www.jimdolbow.blogspot.com Jim Dolbow

    I think it is an outstanding idea that BG Abe Abrams is soliciting inputs for the field manual. I think it will make for a much better field manual. Moreover, the expertise that resides in the blogosphere is a national treasure and BG Abrams is wise to tapp into it. It is not some pr stunt – it is utilizing web 2.0

    Our enemies do it all the time so should we.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    All:

    If you are not using your real name than this blog considers it anonymuos post; i.e. anonymous post from a US Marine or and any other oganization.

    Our Board members are free to idenitfy themselves as such but they do not speak on behalf of the Naval Institute nor Proceedings.

    We do subscibe to the Military Bloggers Rules of Engagement and explicity set forth that there is to be no personal bashing.

  • FOD Detector

    Concur with USNI editorial board member. This isn’t about soliciting ideas; it’s all about PR. And it’s a bad, bad idea all the way around.

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