Defense establishment opens arms to military bloggers

To understand how established military blogs have become in the halls of the Defense Department, just check Army Secretary Pete Geren's computer.

Geren, a Fort Worth native who assumed the top civilian post in the Army last year, browses several each morning, just as he reads coverage of the Army in the nation’s major daily newspapers.

"It's part of my effort to understand what is going on in the communications domain, particularly for the age group that is the heart and soul of our Army," Geren said during a phone interview as he returned from a recent trip to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Just a few short years ago, the military seemed unnerved by the ruminations of its creatively inspired young service members, citing concerns about operational security and the rough and uncensored reality of combat stories.

But particularly beginning last year, the military has altered course and now offers bloggers regular access for interviews with top leaders, reflecting the changing role of both bloggers and public affairs.

Geren, a believer in the power of new media and one of its leading proponents within the Pentagon, held a question-and-answer session at a recent gathering of military bloggers in Las Vegas, a stamp of approval if there ever was one.

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