In the days since my last post, William J. Lynne, Deputy Secretary of Defense, signed a policy memorandum covering the use of internet-based capabilities — including social media. Because of this memo, I listened to a blogtalkradio broadcast of an interview with Price Floyd, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. During his interview, I learned that as of January, there is a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) for Outreach and Social Media.
Sumit Agarwal was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) for Outreach and Social Media on Jan 19, 2010. He serves as staff advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs (ASD(PA)) on how best to create two-way dialogues with American citizens and the global community utilizing traditional outreach methods, as well as new/social media tools (e.g., blogs, social networks, instant messaging, photo sharing, Web 2.0 technologies). He is responsible for formulating and recommending policies that enable servicemembers and their families to better communicate, and that enable the Military Services to use new/social media platforms for outreach and citizen interaction.
I also learned from his bio that he’s on Twitter! So I sent him a tweet. It said:
@SumitAgarwalUSA Maybe you can convince @NavyLiberty that developing a new SNS isn’t they way to reach young sailors… http://digs.by/1RNr
I didn’t really expect to hear (see?) anything back, but he replied within an hour:
To be honest, it may be a non-issue at this point. I haven’t heard whether the Navy MWR RFP is still on the street. If it is, I hope Mr. Agarwal can talk them out of spending non-appropriated funds on something that’s already been built — multiple times, and in many varieties — with both public- and private-sector funding. If the RFP has already been pulled back, I think Navy MWR can still have a great discussion with Mr. Agarwal about the best way(s) to use social media to conduct outreach amongst active duty 20-somethings.