Skipped out on doing these for a couple weeks as I head my head down in the trenches producing pages for a brand new writing project I’m cooking up. Sometimes, you have to quit consuming to create. This week, we’re back!
I’ve specifically tried to not link to or quote anything from the big social media men on campus like Brogan or Godin. It’s simple linkbait for one thing, and more importantly, a lot of their content lately has been less than interesting. This post from Chris Brogan, however, is a spot-on bit of writing. Others have been writing about how we’re changing the definition of “work” in the 21st century, but Brogan has a good summary of the high points in this conversation here. I think more of us should be sticking this post in front of our bosses and every worker over the age of 25 in this country.
Developing this week is a Rolling Stone story about LTG William Caldwell‘s orders to an Afghanistan IO/PSYOP cell to influence the perceptions of visiting U.S. legislators. There is a HUGE kerfluffle happening in DC over this, and it’s the latest ding against military psychological (or information support) operations. On the front lines, Joint forces – and particularly the Army, historical home of the PSYOP regiment – have been trying to make sense of convoluted legislation and backwards policy governing the employment of information warfare in combat. There are clear lanes between strategic communicators, and one is that IO/PSYOP pros are only allowed to deploy their craft against foreign populations. To do so against Americans would be an illegal propagandizing effect, which seems to have been committed by LTG Caldwell.
That said, the modern information environment is such that easy distinctions between what’s propaganda and what’s neutral information are fast becoming irrelevant. Worse, America’s national security apparatus has essentially thrown in the towel on addressing this issue, afraid to engage the White House and Congress on the very real need to reform our en toto strategic influence and communication capability. Until such a thing happens, mistakes like Caldwell’s will continue to provide justifications to know-nothings in the Pentagon and on the Hill to further eviscerate our badly-needed interagency strategic communications and influence budget.
For those not familiar with the U.S. Army‘s non-warfighting components, this should be an interesting read. The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, should be designing the doctrine of the future and developing or modifying training programs across the force to support soldiers’ learning needs against future threats. Instead, TRADOC is INFESTED with old, ineffectual men trapped in the Cold War who are convinced the U.S. will be going to conventional war again any day now. I think Ackerman is way too lenient in this Danger Room post. Having worked at Fort Leavenworth myself for a TRADOC element, I can say with authority that the Army’s future leaders are FUCKED if we keep guys like Dempsey in charge of things. Buddies of mine who have recently graduated Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth have told me that things are getting somewhat better: counterinsurgency training is finally attaining primacy. But if I were Secretary Gates, I wouldn’t have nominated Dempsey for Chief of Staff of the Army with such a horrid track record for backsliding behind him at TRADOC.
I used to have a modicum of respect for James Clapper, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and recently appointed Director of National Intelligence. However, he has made a number of embarrassing gaffes answering questions in public lately, so many so that I’m beginning to think the guy really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I echo Congress’ WTF on this one. If ANYONE should know ALL the nuances of the Muslim Brotherhood – to include its doctrinal promise to subvert America using its own legal system – it’s the top intel guy in the country. FAIL.
Here’s some good news: the only uniformed officer of the American military for whom I would lay down in traffic is taking over Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the military command that coordinates the activities of Delta Force, Navy SEALS, and other elite American special ops teams. Major General Joseph Votel was nominated by Secretary Gates for his third star last week and command of JSOC. I worked for Votel on the IED Task Force back when he was a wee colonel and I was a wet-behind-the-ears contractor. He’s the type of leader we need more of in our government: fearless, risk tolerant, intensely dedicated to his people, and a true patriot. I’m really proud that he’s achieved such success.
Count on my new favorite pop culture blog, BADASS DIGEST, to find the OCD Star Trek fan’s guide to every bridge design in the history of the series.
To round off this week’s batch of catch-up links, here’s Comic Alliance‘s tribute to Bruce Timm, one of the AWESOMEst animators and comic artists EVAR. Timm was one of the design brains behind the landmark Batman: The Animated Series from the 1990s, which went on to spawn a host of AWESOME television featuring DC characters (Superman, Justice League Unlimited, etc). Aside from his inimitable artistic style that defined said generation of DC characters, Timm’s an amazing storyteller and producer. He has since left television behind but not the DCU: Timm continues to adapt popular DC storylines and characters into direct-to-DVD features. Comic Alliance has a full gallery of their favorite Bruce Timm art at the link.
- Bruce Timm Talks ‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ And ‘Emerald Knights’ Movie (splashpage.mtv.com)
- General FAIL: The Military’s Worst Tweeters (wired.com)
- Obama taps new Army chief of staff (thehill.com)
- Happy 50th Birthday, Bruce Timm! [Art] – ComicsAlliance | Comics culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews (mmcelhaney-media.blogspot.com)
- Claptrap: Is Clappers’ Persona Clouding Real Cyberwar Issues? (infosecurity.us)
- Gates wants Dempsey as new army chief of staff (seattletimes.nwsource.com)