Sunday, October 21, 2007

USAF Blogs

The Navy's unveiling of their new Maritime Strategy has really highlighted something I've been thinking about for awhile now. The USAF seems really underrepresented in the milblogging world, especially with regard to "thinking" sort of blogs. Let me try to explain what I mean. I'm aware that there are several USAF blogs out there, but most of these are either more personal oriented blogs that just happen to be written by an Airman, or are like Greyhawk and focus more on the general war. I can only think of two blogs that do anything remotely close to USAF strategic analysis: Spook86 at In From the Cold, and John over at Opfor. And even then, while both of these blogs offer up fine material, the USAF is definitely not the defining focus of the blog. Contrast this to the Navy, where there is a relative plethora of blogs that focus on the Navy and the specific strategic problems it faces. The CDR, SJS, Lex, Eagle1, Galrahn, heck, I'll even include Skippy and Springbored. While none of these blogs focuses exclusively on the Navy and strategic issues, that sort of discussion plays a large part in all of them. The really interesting thing is the interaction between these blogs, and, at least in the CDR's case, the large group of Navy-centric commenters. I'm sure you could make a network map of the Navy blogosphere, and I'm sure that the above mentioned blogs would appear as nodes in this network. A great example of this has been the discussion surrounding the release of the Maritime Strategy.

Contrast this with the Air Force. There are no nodes. Heck, there isn't really much of any sort of network. If the Air Force was to release a new Strategy doc (as they did with AFDD 2-3), there is no place where there would be 25 knowledgeable people commenting on it, no blogs having an interactive discussion amongst themselves over the pluses and minuses of the document. Using AFDD 2-3 as an example, the only places I saw any sort of discussion/analysis on it were ground pounder blogs like The Captain's Journal, or civilian analysts posting on sites like Ares or Danger Room which can be useful, but also sometimes can have a bit of an ax to grind cough*David Axe*cough (pardon the pun). In any case, the only reason AFDD 2-3 got any attention was that it actually had something to do with the GWOT and more importantly, ground forces.

Of course, this all could be just me being an idiot and not looking hard enough. I will concede that one of the reasons I'm so knowledgeable about the Navy's network is that I started reading one or two of the blogs in that network initially, and then it fed upon itself. There is the possibility that there is a similar USAF network that just isn't connected in any way to the Navy's. I doubt this, but I would like to be proven wrong. If you have any good USAF-centric "thinking" sort of sites, please let me know.

UPDATE: Be sure to check out the comments, Galrahn left a good one regarding the details of how the Navy community was formed, which I agree is definitely the interesting part. What he said is probably in part what I really wanted to say.