From the Director of Army Safety - Changing with the times
January 3, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. - Around the time I joined the Army in 1981, IBM released its first personal desktop computer. Those little boxes, along with their counterparts from Apple, completely changed the way the world does business. Now, more than 30 years later, technology keeps getting better, faster and smaller. As an Army, we have to keep up or get left behind - a fact that touches everything we do, including the way we give you information.
Beginning this July, Knowledge content will be housed exclusively online. This decision was driven by both fiscal constraints and the changing media environment. Producing a full-color magazine with a subscription base in the tens of thousands has become prohibitively expensive, especially in this era of funding shortfalls. We're not the only organization in the Army or the Department of Defense to take this route; in fact, it's becoming the norm in DoD media.
Money isn't the only reason for this change, though. Most of our Soldiers were raised on computers and video game consoles. They know their way around technology and, according to numerous studies, people in their age group prefer to get their news via the Internet. Printed publications still serve a purpose, but we've had to ask ourselves if a hard-copy magazine is really the best way to reach the Soldiers most at risk for an accident.
It's my job as director of Army Safety to make tough decisions, and this was one of the more difficult I've had to make. I truly believe Knowledge as it exists today adds tremendous value to safety programs across our Army. But I feel just as strongly that we can make it a more desirable and accessible product by switching to a digital format. We'll be able to showcase products and tools many of you might not be aware of, and generate more discussion from the field - with better immediacy - on issues our Soldiers are facing right now. Those are things you can't do with a printed publication, and I'm excited to see where the next few months will take us.
So, as we start this new year, I ask that you resolve to give the new Knowledge a chance. It will be a learning curve for everyone involved: for my team to develop the online solution, and for you to think of creative ways to pass the content along to your Soldiers. I talk often about culture change, and this switch is just one manifestation of it. Soldiers are constantly changing and adapting to their environment, and we must evolve right along with them.
Our Army has been through a lot these past few years, and its history is still being written. You are all part of that story. Please consider sharing your safety experiences with us and asking your Soldiers to do so too. Knowledge has always been a venue for Soldiers to voice, in their own words, the role safety plays in their daily lives. It will continue to be that sounding board, but we can't do it without you. Help us keep the Army safety story alive!
I hope each of you find this new format even more useful than the printed version of Knowledge. We have a wonderful opportunity to create something exciting and interactive that will serve our Soldiers well into the future. More information on this change will be released in the coming months, but in the meantime, please feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or suggestions. This is your magazine, so let's make it what you want it to be. Have a happy, safe and healthy New Year!