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We live in a digital age. We have more tools available to use to share information than ever before. Increasingly, our methods of preparing for our missions rely on sharing information across boundaries that we previously didn't cross. In order to succeed against an enemy that will use any and all methods available to win, we need to adapt and adopt preemptive measures not just to keep up with the enemy, but to supersede their methods of preparing for and engaging in conflict. Every Soldier on the battlefield holds information that we could use to better prepare for our struggle to prevail in the War on Terror.
There is a strong drive in the Military Intelligence (MI) community to incorporate knowledge management (KM) into our daily working environment, training, and mission activities. If we are to succeed, we need to take advantage of every tool and every opportunity that allows us to share information within the boundaries and mandates of operational security (OPSEC). We cannot continue to hold information close and stand back and watch our peers prepare for and engage in war less prepared because we did not disseminate information that could save lives.
Our young MI professionals have grown up in the digital age. They grew up with daily access to websites, email, instant messaging, chat and blogs. These current and future leaders fully expect to have available tools that allow them to communicate quickly and effortlessly. They do not comprehend an environment where information is needlessly hoarded and protected. Our young Soldiers, whether in positions of leadership or not, are driving the direction of information sharing in our Armed Forces. This shift of process in communication is forever changing the direction of information dissemination in the military. If we do not provide our Soldiers the architecture that they need and expect to meet their information needs, they will use unsecure methods to post and collect the information that they require.
In order to meet our knowledge sharing goals and still ensure that sensitive data that we are providing is not readily accessible by our enemies, we need to keep OPSEC principles foremost in our minds. We must use available tools on networks that are appropriate for the sensitivity of the information that we are disseminating or collecting. There are many forums that MI professionals are using to share information including: open Internet chats, blogs and websites; secure and unsecure email communications; and military communities such as Army Knowledge Online (AKO), Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS) and Intelligence Center Online Network (ICON). If the tools that are provided for our Soldiers are insufficient, they will migrate to communities that are less secure to get the answers that they need. It is our responsibility to ensure that our Soldiers have all of the tools they need in secure environments to allow them to fully prepare for the missions that they are facing.
The goal of ICON is to supplement and complement the information found in other communities such as AKO/DKO and BCKS. ICON was developed by the U.S. Army Intelligence Center (USAIC) to provide a single point of entry for MI Soldiers to request, share, and locate information relevant to the accomplishment of their specific informationcentric missions. While there are many communities that MI Soldiers can use to find and share information, few are solely dedicated to the MI community. One of the major struggles that MI Soldiers have today is the overabundance of information and information sources. Where do you go to find the information that you require? Is the source of the information definitive and authoritative? How many websites and forums do you have to search through to find that one piece of information that you need to solve your problem? Where is the best place for you to go to reach the appropriate target audience? Will people be able to find the information that you are providing? Information is worthless if people can't locate it. Many communities have information of interest and importance to MI Soldiers. ICON is dedicated solely to providing information to the MI Community.
ICON was first deployed in the summer of 2003. The challenge for the first couple of years was to develop a secure, reliable environment that allowed MI professionals to get vital information. Once the …