U.S. Military Turns to Social Networking to Encourage Sharing Official and Sensitive Info

The U.S. Military launched in October a social networking site called milBook, a sort of Facebook clone for organizational information. Now up to 18,000 members-strong, the site is more oriented towards collaboration than socialization, and of course has extensive security levels. It’s currently on a membership drive, and sent us some hokey but cute recruiting videos (see below). Though many of our readers are probably not eligible to join, the concept was intriguing, so we followed up to learn more.

[flickr video=4284414191 show_info=true secret=7537dc88a0 w=400 h=267]

The idea behind milBook (which along with wiki and blog tools is grouped into something called “milSuite”) is for the Department of Defense to get a dose of Web 2.0 flavor, said officials for the Army’s MilTech Solutions group. “milSuite’s aim is to provide those serving our Military the same experience they take for granted in the public domain, behind the security of a firewall,” explained Justin Filler, deputy MilTech Solutions, in an email interview.

Filler clearly wants milBook to be as open as possible, allowing military employees to share “official and sometimes sensitive information” in a way they hadn’t been able to do so before due to geography and rank. He said milBook members come from every level of military service, from privates to three-star generals.

“We understand there is information that needs to be more secure, so we advise and offer the ability to label appropriately,” he said. “At this point we are seeing a nice variety of both open and closed groups so that is a nice surprise in a traditionally closed environment.”