Axe Helps Name Army’s “Virtual Front Porch”; Army Wants Your Input


Categorie: Cyberspace, Training |

Back in May in the virtual pages of World Politics Review, The Washington Independent and Danger Room, I described how a small group of U.S. Army officers, led by Lt. Col. Tony Burgess, was creating a bunch of “Web 2.0″ tools to help connect soldiers all over the world for purposes of swapping ideas. The heart of the system is a multi-function forum that Burgess called a “virtual front porch.” I termed it “MilSpace” — an homage to MySpace.

Now Burgess, who is on his way to Iraq, writes in to say that his team has adopted that name. Here’s the colonel:


I am on my way to Iraq to interview company commanders and platoon leaders. Over the last three weeks, we rolled out the new version of the professional forums and, as a direct impact of your articles, we are indeed calling the overall learning system “MilSpace.” We will be incorporating new features and capabilities at a rate of about one per month over the next year – in a process of continuous improvement. I just wanted to say thanks and to invite you to feed us additional ideas.

One question I would love to have you thinking about on our behalf is, “What is emerging at the cutting edge that we need to know about and/or consider integrating into the forums?” 

Take care, 

LTC Tony Burgess

at Ft Benning — on the way to Iraq

My opinion is far less valuable than the opinions of hundreds of my readers, so I’m passing Burgess’ request on to you. What Web 2.0 tools should the Army be considering as it expands its “social networking” footprint?

Write me at or post your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll make sure Burgess and his people get it.

This is it, folks: a real opportunity for average joes like you and me to shape the way the U.S. Army evolves.

(Photo: me)

Army’s “virtual front porch”
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Army’s “first-person thinker” game


11 Responses to “Axe Helps Name Army’s “Virtual Front Porch”; Army Wants Your Input”

  1. The full suite of tools as provided in Intelink-U; if they feel compelled to wall them off, take the State Department view.

  2. Anonymous forums. A place where Petty Officer Russiannavyblog can tell Commander Jackass that that idea he has is stupid and why.

    Of course things like IP addresses could be logged so that egregious violations of military courtesy can be addressed later, but there should be a forum where a Specialist who is on his fourth Iraq deployment can straighten out the Major on his first. Or a place where a Colonel can get a REAL sensing session without the birds getting in the way.

  3. David Axe says:

    Good one, Russiannavyblog. Will pass along.

  4. On second thought, perhaps Im being too hostile. Maybe an anonymous forum so that people can discuss topics that are nominally outside their lane and be taken seriously because no one knows what rank or uniform they wear. For instance, a petty officer/mid-level NCO who has ideas on policy or doctrine but wouldn’t normally be taken seriously because they don’t wear shoulder boards.

    A perfect example of that is Galrahn, who, if Im not mistaken, isn’t qualified to be a naval officer by virtue of his lack of formal education, yet people take him seriously because good ideas and good writing eventually come to the top.

    Were he to come out and say explicitly, “this is Seaman Galrahn and I have this to say about naval doctrine and procurement”, noone would give a shit because he’s “Seaman” or “Petty Officer” or even “Lieutenant” Galrahn and not a guy who knows his shit and has good ideas and can express them well.

  5. Joe Turner says:

    Tell, LTC Burgess to have his people demand JCS to demand from DNI the unclassified A-Space package in partnership with their enterprise services shop. It’s built. Development is paid for. Costs come down to deployment, maintenance, and scalability. And you’ll really have an “Army of One.”

  6. Adrian says:

    my dreamlist of web-based professional forum features:

    (1) all the above-mentioned ideas. (2) easily accessible temporary useage access to paid/subscription defense sites/articles and archives relevant to current topics. (3) in browser means of uploading and displaying presentation slides, either powerpoint or other, with hyperlink and html encoding capable, in the forum or comments section of whichever relevant topic. (4) a suggested reading section, pertinent to current issues, selected based on the users most frequent content discussion choices, and including both open-source and private (within limits of course) data, be it books, articles, reports, interviews or congressional testimonies. the same could apply to recommended video viewing. (5) the occasional user/fan generated video mashup of chicks and troops blowing stuff up.

  7. 111 says:

    Open source intelligence can be provided by the civilian sector also. I read the DR post of the 1 a month add in’s for the digital two way communications tools described here. I am working so many hours that time is limited for now. I would like to discuss the fedeyian in Northern Iraq, who now seem to be an active cell again as well as the support elements of Al-Ansarai who also seem to be the support elements. The recent bombing in Pakistan earmarks that this element may have come from northern Iraq. The recent patrol of Sunni Awakening fighters and Iraqi troops were also ambushed in that Northern region of Iraq and murded. 30 total. It seems also from several research analysis the Hizbullah suicide brigades are also actively communicating tot he muhajadeen eleements in Ubekistan also which may have been where the fighters came from north of georgia to khasakstan, then ubekista, then to afghansitan and then meeting up with the Tehkrit-italiban or pak taliban in Paksitan , just before blowing up the marriot. I have compiled tons of reports and most people I discuss this with are like,”duh fedecinni who” or are just so blown away they don’t even know how to hold a conversation about the topics I am covering.

  8. [...] I won’t lie: I’m a little hurt. Emotions aside, I agree with Josh that blocking blogs such as War Is Boring only hurts the military’s efforts to reach the public with important messages and impedes the free exchange of ideas that is vital to our war efforts. Consider my recent contributions to the national-security process, all anchored in this blog: * War Is Boring was an important player in the evolution of the Army’s “MilSpace” forums, where soldiers can freely exchange tips and tactics outside the normal, glacial bricks-and-mortar processes [...]

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