The extremist groups are able to act quickly on the information front, with relatively few people, while the U.S. government bureaucracy has yet to keep up in an age of e-mail, blogs and instant messaging, he said. "We in the government have barely even begun to compete in reaching their audiences," Rumsfeld said.
In his speech, Rumsfeld said the military needs to focus more on adapting to the changes in global media. "In some cases, military public affairs officials have had little communications training and little, if any, grounding in the importance of timing and rapid response, and the realities of digital and broadcast media," he said.
The government's public affairs system is antiquated, he said, working mostly on an eight-hour, five-days-a-week schedule that cannot keep up with the rest of the world. "This is an unacceptable, dangerous deficiency," he said.
But wait, who does the military public affairs report to? The Department of Defense, of course. And who is the top dog in that organization? The Secretary of the Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, of course. Donald, dear Donald, it was back in December 2004 that you said "As you know, you have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want," We have been fighting this war nearly 3 years, and it's been over a year since that famous quote. If we want to have the military public affairs that we *want*, then it is Rumsfeld's obligation to make that happen with training, management and intra-agency co-operation.
Rumsfeld's comments of today act as if he thinks the public affairs fairy is going to magically fix this little media problem. I suspect that most government workers would belly up to the bar and do what needs to be done, provided they have the proper training, equipment and resources. It is the job of the Secretary of Defense to insure that happens. Once again, the DOD can do better.
One more question, if we have "barely begun to compete", might I ask when we might begin? If we don't start now, we'll always have the military public afairs that we have and not the one we want and deserve. This country and our troops deserve better.