Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen discuss the impact of social media on democratic freedom and how military can leverage it.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:
“I think one of the more significant developments in the last 20 years or so has been the advance of communications technology in the hands of average citizens around the world. There is no question that the availability, or the easy access to the Western communications and media, played a part in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of eastern Europe. It is increasingly difficult for authoritarian governments to maintain control of all the means of communications that are available to its citizens … and, frankly, I think it’s a huge win for freedom around the world because this monopoly of information is no longer in the hands of the government.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen:
“I think the speed of communications and information … creates a flexibility and an adaptability … which we have to have in our forces … I think our force, who’s average age is 20-ish … this is how they live … For leaders … I think its really important to be connected to that and understand it … because I think communicating that way and moving information around that way, whether it’s administration information or information in warfare, is absolutely critical.”