By JOSEPH FERRARE, RDECOMNovember 5, 2009
The Army is launching a new blog to help Soldiers and the public discover a little-known side of the Army--the research, development, engineering, testing and evaluation that goes into the technologies that make Soldiers safer and more effective.
The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command launched Army Technology Live Nov. 2 joining the growing family of Army blogs hosted by the Department of Defense's DODLive blog hosting service. The Web address is http://armytechnology.armylive.dodlive.mil/.
RDECOM and its eight subordinate elements create a wide range of technologies used by Soldiers every day and is but one of a number of Army organizations that focus on technology, according to RDECOM Public Affairs Officer Robert DiMichele.
"RDECOM has almost seventeen thousand people - the majority of them civilian scientists and engineers - who do a lot of the research and engineering that goes into new technologies, but that's not well known," DiMichele said. "Part of the reason is that the equipment that results from the research and development done here may not get into Soldiers' hands until years later. Some of our scientists are looking at the molecules of material that will become a new food item or armor formulation in ten or twenty years. Others are engineering upgrades to equipment already in the field. We want to show as much of that process as we can."
The command isn't going to limit topics on the blog to projects it takes part in, DiMichele said.
"Army technology is a wide field with a lot of players. RDECOM alone has thousands of partnerships, from single researchers to global industries. If you look at the whole Army technology enterprise we can't begin to tell that story unless we talk about as many aspects of it as we can," he said.
What gets talked about on the blog will evolve over time, DiMichele said.
"First, we have to be careful not to put Soldiers at risk. Operations security is always in the forefront of what we do. There are projects we'd love to talk about, capabilities we're spending taxpayer money on that Soldiers are waiting for in the field. But we don't want to expose any existing vulnerabilities or explain so much about an upcoming piece of equipment that people can start planning how to defeat it now," DiMichele said.
Because of those and other concerns, the content of the blog will likely evolve over time, he said. RDECOM is already talking to other organizations involved in Army technology, and hopes to see growing input from the field.
"We know the key to a successful blog is opening up the discussion to the community," DiMichele said. "We have some special considerations, of course, but our goal is still to get as many voices contributing to the conversation as we can, be they other Army units, Soldiers or readers."
The blog joins an effort already underway in the command, he said. RDECOM already has a presence on several social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, so that those who want to know about Army technology can find it where they are instead of having to go to one place and get it one way.
"We've been building our social media capability for several months now, as well as our capacity to tell the Army technology story. If any Army command knows how important it is to keep up with changes in technology, it's RDECOM. The blog and our social media sites help us bring that same philosophy to our communication."
Links to all of RDECOM's online presences can be found on the command's Web page, www.army.mil/rdecom/.