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Gates and Mullen talk Twittering, texting, the modern military and Iran

June 19, 2009 |  7:14 am

Here's a very good video that goes beyond the cliched old-guys-don't-know-anything-about-new-communication-technology-and-social-networking guff that we usually hear so much about.

The Ticket reported here on the Twitter and Iran phenomenon on Thursday.

But also Thursday, a reporter at a Pentagon news briefing asked both Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about the effect of new personal communication technology and social networking, specifically concerning Iran.

Gates recalled the role that the Internet played in penetrating the old Iron Curtain, helping the Soviet Union to crumble and liberating Eastern Europe from Communist domination. And Gates noted, with apparent pleasure, that some unnamed countries around the world (can you say Iran and China?) can try to block these evolving communications but can no longer shut them all down.

But the questioning and conversation itself evolved into how the modern military, run by older personnel but manned and womanned by young people (average age 21) must use these new methods to both get its operational messages and philosophies out but also to get valuable feedback back.

Gates admitted he hasn't "a clue." Mullen says he's on Facebook and Twitter to be connected to the younger volunteer armed forces.

Well worth watching. And, as we so often say on The Ticket, thanks to C-SPAN.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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