Thursday, November 11, 2010

... Veteran's Day

As a veteran myself, I try to make a post every year on Veteran's Day. My daughter and I raised the flag together one year. I thought that was a good day and a good post. One year I did a salute to veterans. I thought that was pretty good post too. But I'm thinking that this year's post might not be so good.

Here's the deal: Today, I'm struggling with the word "Happy" that always seems to precede "Veteran's Day." I'm okay with thanking vets, flying the flag, and giving an extra few minutes in the day to think about vets and what they have done for this country. But I'm just not relating to the "Happy" part.

This day is an important day for me - not necessarily because I'm proud of serving (though I am) - but because every year in my mind's eye, I visit the memories of men and women that I either served with myself, or shared a moment and felt kinship with since. The feeling I get when I see their faces is a curious mixture of pride, nostalgia, remorse, commitment, friendship, gratitude, and sadness.

As vets, we all share some things in common. Maybe it's a vague "knowing" that comes from setting our own interests aside and allowing ourselves to become part of something that is bigger than individual ambition or ironically, individual freedom. Maybe it comes from having made a commitment to literally die so that others may live, and from the meaning that people in uniform took on after that commitment was made. Maybe it comes from the feeling we get when we look at our kids through eyes that disguise unique knowledge of what this world can do.

I'm not sure what it is, but I do know that "Happy" isn't the word I'd use. What we share is deep, for sure, but it's not light or easy to smile about. I'll save "Happy" for other holidays.

This year, I remember a vet named John. John was my friend. Many years ago, he wore Army green. He served, as I do, well beyond his boot polishing years; and he humped his commitment and integrity into every aspect of his life. I don't think the man understood what life without his commitment and integrity would be. He died of cancer.

John is in good company in my mind. Not only do I preserve his story and a bit of his perspective on life, but he stands beside many whom I have called "friend," who have also stood ready to give everything, and who dedicated their lives to a unique form of service.

Vets do go on with their lives after the service, but they are always aware of one another, of what they were trained to do, of the "stuff" that they share with every other veteran, and of their brothers and sisters in arms who are getting the job done today. There is something sacred about this awareness and the bond that comes with it.

On this Veteran's Day, I simply bow my head, tip my glass, and whisper a quiet "hooah."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dealing with Security and Web 2.0

If you're into social media / Web 2.0, you've surely heard a bunch of security arguments. You may, in fact, have been blocked from implementing Web 2.0 in your organization or accessing some cool Web 2.0 forums in other organizations because your local security department uses firewalls to block your access, or publishes a policy against it. If this is you, then you need help & I'm going to give you some really cool resources to help you.

First, I want to emphasize that security is a necessary piece of any social media or Web 2.0 implementation. Without it, you'll have a disaster pretty quickly. As a former Information Systems Security Manager, I encourage you to appreciate the critical (and often silent) nature of the work that these folks do to protect our privacy and secure our sensitive and classified information.

Unfortunately, when the staff in a local security department are unfamiliar with something, they can be suspicious. This is natural for this group of processionals to be suspicious of anything that might pose a threat to personnel or information they are responsible for protecting. You wouldn't want them any other way. Thank them.

The key to overcoming resistance from your security team is education and awareness. The more they understand about social media and the DoD's approach to managing it, the more likely they will take appropriate action for your organization.

I've collected a series of super cool Department of Defense links on Social Media / Web 2.0. My intent is to give you ready access to the policies, memorandums, and statements made by senior DoD officials regarding this new capability.

I encourage you to read through them and find the ones that are best suited for your organization and find a friendly way to share them with your security department.

Here's a good one to get you started:

Talk about a buffet of information! It'll take some time to get through all of this info, but it's well worth the time you spend.

Interested in Title 44, OMB and the Paperwork Reduction Act angle? Check out this link from the Executive Office of the President, the Office of information and Regulatory Affairs.

Here's a neat resource for those who prefer a step-by-step apprach to reading the DoD policy and registering sites. It's called the DoD Social Media Hub:

Google "social media in the DoD" and you will find loads of articles, comments made by senior people and maybe even a cool example or two of social media in action.

These resources make a great starting point for those who want to "see it in writing" or dig deeper into the application of social media in the Department of Defense.

Another great resource is the Army's PEO C3t milTech Solutions. These are the folks that created the milSuite solutions. They understand what goes on behind the scenes and can answer many questions. Interestingly, you can find them on Facebook at:

or on their Web site at:

If you know of other cool resources, please leave a comment and share them here.