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OSD Joins the Navy/Sole-Source Fray!

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.

I wondered, as did one of my tweeps, “just out of curiosity, what would… this person do?” I was able to answer the question with a quick read of his official DoD biography:

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:

@tericee thanks! will discuss w/navy. request feedback here or at [email protected] from all on this proposal http://bit.ly/8Xyt9N

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.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Hi Teri – I also noticed that Mr. Agarwal just joined GovLoop and you can find his profile here. I think it’s incredibly impressive that he has been so responsive to your communication. That’s exactly how social media becomes a powerful tool.

Teri Centner

Thanks for letting me know, Andy. I’m so glad the DoD hired somebody who understands that social media is all about two-way communication! Also, I’m proud that he an I share both an alma mater and AFROTC detachment. 🙂

Noel Dickover

Hi Teri, its great to see top folks in DoD engaged in the discussion. Both Price Floyd, and now apparently Sumit Agarwal are a well needed breath of fresh air.