TCS Daily


Defense Central's Vision: Speedy, Simple, Straight And Smart

By Ken Adelman - March 26, 2001 12:00 AM

With our official launch taking place in the U.S. Senate this Wednesday, it's an apt time to set forth our vision for Defense Central. I say "our" since this muscular website -- which fuses knowledge and outreach -- is a collective activity in response to a collective need.

Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will surely comment on the collective need during the launch. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had been planning to do likewise, until a White House meeting was scheduled for that time.

Strategic analysts Richard Perle, Bill Schneider and Bill Owens represent part of our collective activity. These three brilliant analysts are the inaugural members of our "E-Ring" contributors -- so named to reflect the Electronic Ring of true experts, and the outer ring of the Pentagon, where the big strategic and defense decisions are made.

So what's the vision?

To be speedy, simple and straighton defense issues, particularly stressing hi-tech.

First, speedy.

To be usable nowadays, news must be given and analyzed fast. Last Friday, when The Washington Post featured the first glimpse into Rumsfeld's strategic review findings, Defense Central posted Richard Perle's insights that very day. TechCentralStation readers, now numbering about 11,000 per week, learned both what to know and what to think the same day.

We followed up the next working day with some 4,000 e-mails to our subscribers, including Hill staff dealing with national security, defense reporters, and organization leaders. This type of outreach will be matched by grassroots campaigns in local communities during key national security votes and at other critical times.

Second, simple.

Note, this does not mean simplistic - just simple enough to be translated from real experts into language understood by nonspecialists. The pioneer in atomic science, Enrico Fermi, was said to be brilliant enough to teach Physics 101 in a way college freshmen could grasp; other professors were not.

Being simple enables information to be usable. Defense Central contains these user-friendly features:
  • Factoids - nuggets of information, which make a telling, point. Factoids are designed for speeches in Congress, comments in debates or interviews, and tidbits to spruce up op-ed pieces. A new factoid will appear each time you enter the website, while an archive will be easily accessible to read them all.
  • Brief the Boss - this contains the nub of major defense issues which the boss may lack time to study in depth but needs to know for a vote or appearance - or just because she asks!
  • News Summary - it is continually updated and focuses on defense issues.
  • On the Watch -- peering around the corner on what's coming over the next week, such as presidential trips, Secretary of Defense events, hearings, foreign visitors, major speeches and budget submissions.
  • Defense Links - a starting point for further research on national security.
Third, straight.

We pledge to be accurate in our information, so you can rely upon what you read here. We will be trustworthy.

We will not, however, be neutral. Defense Central has a clear voice:
  • We are conservative, in favor of a robust U.S. national security.
  • We are for fundamental change, since the geo-strategic environment has changed far more than has our defense establishment since the end of the Cold War.
  • We are for the adoption of more hi-tech in our defense programs. Hence our being the third part of TechCentralStation, along with its tech policy, investing and environmental tracks. And hence our ties to ideas summarized as "The Revolution in Military Affairs."
  • We are action-oriented, wanting to fuse knowledge and outreach. We will not be content if sound thinking on Defense Central does not become implemented in U.S. security policy.
In a nutshell, Defense Central is what we advocate for the defense community itself to be -- quick, nimble, smart, responsive to needs, and hi-tech.

While we always will give the benefit of doubt to Bush administration's views, we will seldom be in doubt. Those in both E-Rings have strong views, as you will come to know and respect over the years.

Everyone at the luncheon launch will also realize that Defense Central is inclusive. We will grow our E-Ring. We will expand our services. We welcome alliances and coalition work with those sharing our mission of promoting the smartest defense tools and policies to save the lives of the men and women willing to risk theirs to preserve our freedom and interests.
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