In an era of asymmetric threats and workforce demographic pressures, finding ways to share experiences and shorten the learning curve for military personnel has become crucial. Not all information has to be shared through formal channels. Nor should it, when speed is of the essence, or when it’s specialized knowledge for a specific group of people.
But the military is hierarchical by nature, which can make it difficult to cut through the structure to deliver information quickly to a target audience.
To address this, the Air Force is establishing Internet “communities of practice,” where sites will bring together widely dispersed groups to share information and solve problems.
The informal network of sharing lessons learned has always existed, but we’ve finally reached a point where a) we’ve got the technology to spread those lessons beyond an immediate physical location and b) we seem to have institutional recognition and acceptance of the practice. It will be interesting to see how well this develops, if the other services will take note (ground forces, I’m looking in your direction) and if this sort of thinking will energize current nascent efforts along these lines in the IC.