Twitter has found its way to the front-lines in Afghanistan. Check out AP reporter Jason Straziuso's piece today about how U.S. forces are using Twitter to inform audiences about battlefield results. Straziuso's article ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer and was carried in the Early Bird.
Straziuso reports that U.S. forces are using Twitter to give instant battlefield updates, usually hours before official news releases are sent to the media. He quotes Col. Greg Julian, the top military spokesperson in Afghanistan as saying, "There's an entire audience segment that seeks its news from alternative means outside traditional news sources, and we want to make sure we're engaging them as well."
Military forces in Afghanistan are also using other social networking sources to get information out quickly. As Straziuso's report says, the Taliban have primarily conducted an information war while U.S. forces have lagged behind. The use of social media is a direct tactic to counter Taliban misinformation about the status of the war.
We entrust our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines with great responsibility and authority over the lives of their people and with the best weapons to conduct battlefield missions. They do so under clear Rules of Engagement (ROE). As the ramp-up of forces continues in Afghanistan, we need to consider arming them with the ability to quickly communicate and with ROI (Rules of Information) to win the information battles as well.