Department of Defense employees who currently use LinkedIn for career advancement opportunities now have a safer, more secure alternative. An internal military social media tool known as milBook, which is said to fuse concepts from both Facebook and LinkedIn, has been increasing in popularity throughout several Army Professional Forums.
MilBook is part of milSuite, a secure Department of Defense site which contains three additional collaboration tools; milWire, milWiki, and milTube. The program mirrors existing social media platforms, but what makes it more appealing is that it’s located behind the DoD firewall. Globally, milBook is already being used as a central hub for networking professionals with similar interests. Locally, Paul Mann, WSMR Executive Director, and Mike Garcia, WSMR Leadership and Professional Development director, hope to make milBook a useful and marketable tool for the Leadership and Professional Development program at WSMR.
“We wanted a capable medium that’s more protected. For many reasons the public forum in
LinkedIn is not a good idea. MilBook provides the safety offered by the .mil domain,” Garcia said.
An estimated 40,000 people visit milBook every day, according to Ron Pruyt, Center for Army Lessons Learned Knowledge Management officer. Pruyt says the program allows users to communicate and exchange information in ways that was not possible before. The ability to communicate with a much broader community that they can collaborate with is now available to these individuals at no cost.
“Milbook securely harnesses social media behind DoD firewalls,” Mann said. “The concept is to network beyond cubicles and organizational lines to collaborate with other individuals within your career field, peer group, specified location, or with those who share similar goals. Tools that enable team work are of great interest in support of our mission.”
The three additional collaboration tools; milWiki, a living military encyclopedia designed for DoD subject matter experts to share their knowledge; milWire, a micro blogging site to share and comment on internal news and events; and milTube, a video-sharing platform for the military workforce also provides the social media platforms employees are looking for but in a more secure setting. The programs are accessible to most DoD military, civilian, and contractor personnel through Common Access Card authentication.
MilBook also offers a number of resources that members can share, including: the latest Army personnel guidance; and a forum for human resources questions and answers. The new program also serves to increase the Army’s visibility by giving other organizations an opportunity to learn from other Army practices and the lessons they learned.
In its inception, milBook was able to save the Air Force Software Organizational Development Office an average of $10,000 and over a year’s worth of review time when the office learned of an off-the-shelf product that would allow for Web-based training and development application, through information sharing on milBook.
Garcia said participation in the program is 100 percent voluntary and will not affect an individual’s chances for a leadership opportunity. He said the program is a good opportunity for the leadership to familiarize themselves with the WSMR workforce by knowing what sort of certifications and licenses individuals have.