Online Professional Forums Save Lives, Time and Money

What is it'

The Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, hosts more than 60 online professional forums with nearly 153,000 members. Sponsored by a variety of organizations throughout the Army, BCKS forums focus on functional areas (e.g. personnel and logistics), leaders (e.g. NCO, warrant officer, commander, S-3 and XO) and operations (e.g. counterinsurgency, transition teams). Through the forums, Soldiers and units connect to share knowledge, solve problems, share best practices and develop professional skills.

What has the Army done'

A BCKS survey of forum participants reported that the professional forums helped save more than 1,400 lives from June 2008 to June 2009. Nearly 2,500 of the more than 100,000 members of 12 forums responded to the survey conducted last year. The respondents also said the forums had conservatively saved them or their unit 6,749 labor hours from June 2008 -June 2009. Likewise, they estimated that the things they had seen, read or downloaded from the Forums saved the Army nearly $1.6 million.

What efforts does BCKS have planned for the future'

Some say knowledge is the Soldier's last competitive advantage. To sharpen that advantage, BCKS is designing the architecture and processes to integrate the Centers of Excellence (COEs) with deployed and deploying forces into a coherent knowledge network. BCKS also continues to provide knowledge management advisors (KMAs) to operational units. KMAs provide knowledge management training and advice, assistance in Common Operating Picture management, content management advice and help developing standards of procedures (SOPs). BCKS KMAs support the following units: I Corps, III Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps, 1st Infantry Division, 1st Cavalry Division and 101st Airborne Division (AASLT). BCKS will soon provide a KMA to the 82nd Airborne Division.

Why is this important to the Army'

The professional forums provide 24x7 access to online discussions, best practices and TTPs (tactics, techniques, procedures) that facilitate knowledge sharing, promote learning and accelerate decision making, all of which helps Soldier and unit readiness in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "The professional forums hosted by BCKS promote a culture of learning in the Army and play a vital role in forming agile and adaptive leaders," said Mr. Dale Ormond, deputy to the commanding general, Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth. "The survey clearly shows the value Soldiers place on the knowledge they glean from the online discussions and documents in the Forums."


List of BCKS Professional Forums

AKO sign-in required: BCKS Page on AKO