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Archive for Friday, July 3, 2009

Wiki site helps Army update field manuals

July 3, 2009

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— Authors of Army doctrine and field manuals are launching a pilot project to collect reaction from soldiers and officers on a Wiki site.

The goal is to make the manuals living, breathing documents and not let them become stale. It’s also a chance for soldiers and officers who have suggestions for improving the Army’s tactics, techniques and procedures.

Clint Anker, director of the Army’s Combined Arms Directorate at Fort Leavenworth, says the 90-day pilot program will take comments regarding seven manuals. Eventually, there could be as many as 250 manuals online available for comment.

Commanders have been saying that the Army isn’t staying up to speed with what’s happening in the field, Anker said, something Gen. Martin Dempsey, head of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, recognized and led to authorizing the pilot program earlier this spring.

Anker said it will be interesting to see how many soldiers participate.

“We’ve started with manuals that have a broad general interest,” he said. “The Army is very busy right now. The question is how many will take the time” to share their thoughts.

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, commander of Fort Leavenworth and the Combined Arms Center, said in his blog that it will improve traditional military hierarchy that many think stymies innovation and reforms.

“By participating and supporting (Army Tactics, Techniques and Procedures), you are helping drive institutional change within our Army,” Caldwell wrote Wednesday.

Wiki is a computer program that allows users to add, delete or edit information on an Internet site. Comments can be posted on the site by anyone with an Army identification card, but no anonymous postings are permitted.

“The assumption is we’re dealing with professionals. Occasionally we’re going to get something we don’t want, but it will be self-policing,” Anker said.

Anker said the hope is that as units are coming out of the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and before they begin training for another tour, that they share their experiences. The Army already does this through its Center for Army Lessons Learned, also at Fort Leavenworth, but this process would make those suggestions more immediate.

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