The new tool, called milWire, aggregates news and information on 15 topics, ranging from science and technology to education and training. The topics were created from a list of every military role in the DOD, according to the MilTech Solutions Office, an organization that's part of the Army's Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), which oversees milSuite.
Using milWire, employees can receive targeted information when they choose people and topics to follow on milSuite. It's especially useful for sharing ideas, MilTech said. The information, however, is located behind a firewall and available only to DOD employees, who access milSuite using Common Access Cards (CAC).
MilSuite is a collection of online workforce collaboration tools that function like existing social media platforms. The tools allow members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and National Guard to share information regardless of their location.
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MilSuite also includes milWiki, a military encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia, which is edited by subject experts. There is also MilBook, a professional networking tool; milBlog, used for internal news and events; and milTube, a video-sharing platform for military employees.
When users create content in milBook, milTube or milWiki, they now have the option to post to milWire, allowing the information to be shared across all the applications and increasing its prominence.
MilWire boasts "related content" widgets that make it easier for users to find information on milSuite sites. The milSuite team is also considering linking to external content that users might be interested in, including DOD news sources. If the DOD implements that feature, multiple external news sources would show up in a milWire feed, serving content to users in one place.
"We're trying to find the best way to integrate external information into the site, since we want the community's contributions to still be front and center. And, with milWire, everyone in milSuite can contribute, which is great," milSuite product director Tom Curran, said in a written statement.
Keeping social media behind the firewall is part of the DOD's ongoing efforts to secure information sharing. "The two most important things at this point are information sharing and information security, and they have to be managed together. In the past we tended to look at them as two separate disciplines," former DOD deputy CIO David Wennergren told InformationWeek in December 2009, around the time the DOD rolled out its Web 2.0 services.