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Who says the U.S. armed forces are out of touch on the web?

Reddit is not always a kind place for the U.S. Armed Forces, being a favorite stomping ground for many members of Anonymous and 4Chan.  But apparently some military officers have been taking note of the site's success and are planning to incorporate a look alike into NIPRNet -- a low-clearance network commonly available to U.S. Armed Forces personnel.

NIPRNet already offers milWiki, milBook, milTube, and milBlog -- analogues of Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, and LiveJournal (the latter of which uses the popular WordPress platform).  These web apps -- organized in a portal called milSuite -- are firewalled and focused on military topics/discussions.  Now the milSuite will be adding Eureka, a Reddit clone.

As with Reddit, users will be able to comment on posts and either vote them up or down.  Popular posts are more likely to catch the eyes of commanding officers and get implemented.

The milSuite has been a high-tech success story for the armed forces, and today has 200,000 users.  Over 200 generals and admirals use the platform -- even several four-stars.

The new Reddit clone will be designed for the solicitation of suggestions on how to improve all aspects of U.S. from the cyber-security all the way down to the low-tech necessities like mess halls.  

Eureka
Eureka, a Reddit clone, is the latest milSuite addition. [Image Source: DOD via Defense News]

Jim Benn, deputy director of the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate -- a military organization tasked with developing organizational solutions for the entire armed forces -- describes, "There are many things that the formal system misses, because not only are we working the problem, we’re working the budget and policy issues that surround the problem.  Sometimes we need that infusion of great ideas coming in from an external source. The notion of having your idea voted up will strike a harmonious chord that’s in many of us."

The idea for Eureka was first lofted by Lt. Col. Lawrence Grega who envisioned a "corral of ideas".  He describes, "When I'm long gone, what I was out to do is going to be there for people to look at."

As military colleges and training centers begin to mandate milSuite use, Mr. Benn expects use to grow.  He comments, "By December 2015, we expect the force to have come full circle, and that using milSuite will be a rule and not an exception."

Access to Eureka will only require a common access card, opening the door to many civilians, such as those working at U.S. Department of Defense contractors.  Within the ranks, the team expects to use a mixture of financial rewards and competitive commendations to incentivize posting well-received suggestions.

Comments Director Benn, "[A single] soldier has the ability to influence the Army."

Source: Defense News





"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis






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