Communicating for Effect

The United States Military makes no secret that there is considerable public interest in their training materials, and makes a number (though far from all) of them available online. This probably isn’t done purely in a spirit of civic-mindedness, but at least in part to eliminate the burden and expense of processing and responding to FOIA requests for them. While the decision to withhold certain field manuals, graphic training aids, and other documents from public release often seems to have been made with little if any rhyme or reason, what is available is remarkable indeed.

As far as educational and training materials, though, what’s out there – and what most people know is out there – is probably just the tip of the iceberg. There are some huge untapped resources of educational and instructional material available, on a wide variety of current and up-to-date subjects, all subject to request under the FOIA. Better yet, if you know where to look, you can find complete lists of these records, which greatly simplifies getting them.

I’m speaking, of course, of the military’s schools, universities, colleges, and academies – where the best and brightest men and women in uniform study a bewildering array of topics. All the course materials – presentations and handouts, some tests, and sometimes even textbooks – are government “records”, requestable under the Freedom of Information Act. While the subject matter is more appropriate to people looking for an easy way to expand their horizons than investigative journalists looking for a “scoop”, you can occasionally find some very interesting stuff of widespread interest, as we’ll see on Friday.

One good example is the USAF Air University, located at Maxwell-Gunter AFB in Alabama. They make their current and past course catalogs available online, and it’s a relatively simple matter to browse through them looking for subjects of interest. While your odds of getting Classified course materials are pretty slim, most of the courses are unclassified.

For the rest of the week, I’m going to be releasing presentations from one Air University course – 6236, Communicating for Effect. Released under the FOIA last month to an friend of mine, they’re an interesting look at tactical communication and modern warfare on the “information battlefront”. Today, it’s the introduction, Communicating for Effect: Winning in the Information Battlespace (654KB PDF file), which covers a lot of the basics, including the class reading list. The next two days will include additional presentations on the media, “trusted sources”, and “framing”, and then Friday will bring an interesting little surprise. 🙂

While you’re awaiting that, I leave you with the DOD‘s noble-sounding “Principles of Information” – principles I strongly agree with, but somewhat cynically suspect the military occasionally pays only the merest lip service to, especially the third bullet point:

DOD Principles of Information

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on September 18th, 2007| Comments Off on Communicating for Effect

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.