"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Forum for Real Military Aviation Communication

More than a decade ago I created a military aviation website with an emphasis on resources for cadets wishing to be commissioned officers, and aviators.  My intent was to develop it cradle to grave, focusing on the youngsters, and I invested a great deal of money into the venture.  Not only does WantsCheck.Com ("wants check" is a military pilot mnemonic) have content, but it has great tools designed to allow the community to improve the website.  Fortunately, I designed it in such a way that those who wish to give to the community can do so directly whether it be by sharing their personal information that led them to gaining a coveted slot for military pilot training, or by sharing gouge on an interview with a particular guard unit.  This paid off.

A string of legal issues took all my time from developing the website, and I have barely visited the website over the last five years.  Still, the website continued to grow amassing nearly 17,000 registered users and a database of more than 600 individuals who shared their competitive information before attending pilot training.

I will now be using the website for an experiment on communication.  I and several others will be launching a message board, with carefully discussed rules for moderation to prevent censoring good ideas.  Many of the problems with communication found in our service, it seems to me, are mirrored on military websites.  Our attempt will be to create a forum where opinions and ideas can die or prosper on their own merit, without the insecurity of moderators or irrational worship of sacred cows trumping discussion.  In order to better study this communication, I have to refrain from joining it, and will simply study from the shadows our new creation.  For my part, the forum is not a means to empower a particular message (to include my own), but to empower real communication.

I hope to have the forum populated by a diverse group of individuals with differing opinions, free from censorship, in the hope that unfettered communication will lead to greater knowledge among those who participate.  And hopefully, to a better informed group of individuals serving in our military.

Wish us luck as we endeavor to Keep Em' Flying!

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