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In this document, the acronym 'K M' means Knowledge Management



Winter 2009


Inside This Issue

Structure of KM Sections at Divisions, Corps

KM Tip

KM Success Stories

The Future of Online Training And Knowledge Management is 3D

What’s Hot in the BCKS Professional Forums

Guide Helps Facilitators

Enterprise 2.0 –Not another 2.0!

AMEDD conducts Knowledge Assessment of Warrior Transition Units

Developing High Performing Teams

Finding and Managing Information

Call for Articles

Index of Links

Publisher Info

Battle Command Knowledge Systems

Connected
Army Operational Knowledge Management


Structure of KM Sections at Divisions, Corps

For several years, those trying to make knowledge management (KM) work in units had neither doctrine, training, nor an organizational structure to assist them. Friends, help is on the way.

In August 2008, FM 6-01.1, KM Section, was published. While designed primarily for brigades and divisions, it has applicability for other echelons as well. Current KM training is focused on the application of the FM with specialized classes for knowledge access administration and content management. The organizational structure for KM sections at division and corps level were approved in November 2008 at the Department of the Army (DA). Effective dates for the establishment of division and corps KM sections will occur beginning early in 2009. A qualification training course for KM sections is being developed in anticipation of demand.

This article is devoted to the organizational structure of KM sections from brigade to Army Service Component Command (ASCC) level. A little background is included, but the focus is on the personnel structure for each level.

In August 2006, a Program Directive (PD) was issued to develop a KM field manual that would “…provide the Army with a single authoritative source for the KM cells in the modular force framework from Army Service Component Command (ASCC) down to brigade level.” At the time, units were resourcing KM sections “out of hide” and without an authorized Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E).

Brigade. Guidance provided at the kickoff meeting for the KM manual called for a 2-man brigade KM section. There also was acknowledgement that this was just a starting point, until analytic rigor, experience and feedback from the field became available. Unfortunately, little of that was available at a “How To Fight” seminar in November 2006, and the brigade KM section was reduced to one Knowledge Management Officer (KMO).

KM Section - 1/0/0/1
O4 57A Battle CMD Sys Off 1

It should be noted that many FA57 (Sim Ops) majors passing through Battle Command Officer (BCO) training say the job requirements for BCO and the KMO are such that they can do one job or the other, but not both. Until there is demand from the field for change, this will remain a one-man section.

Division. Guidance at the same kickoff meeting called for a 6-man division KM section. The same “How To Fight” seminar in November 2006 failed to justify the size and it too was reduced, to a 2-man KM section.

KM Section - 2/0/0/2
O5 02A Chief KM/Battle Command Off 1
O4 57A Battle CMD Sys Off 1

The Division Redesign workshop in May 2008 confirmed a 2-man section. However, recent feedback from the field and a Battle Command experiment in September 2008 suggests that a 2-man section is insufficient to meet operational demands. The CG TRADOC asked for a “relook,” but that effort was still underway when DA approved the 2-man section in November 2008.

Corps. From the beginning, this KM section relied heavily on corps SME input. Corps representation at the Corps Redesign workshop in May 2008 proved decisive, with strong backing by COL Brian Stephenson, XVIII Airborne Corps. The final redesign included a 6-man KM section, subsequently approved by DA in November 2008.

KM Section - 3/0/3/6
O5 02A Chief KM/Battle Command Off 1
O4 57A Battle CMD Sys Off 1
O4 53A Battle CMD Sys Off 1
E8 25B50 Sr Battle CMD NCO 1
E7 11B40 Content Mgme Spec 1
E6 13B30 Content Mgme Spec 1

It should be noted that the enlisted military occupational specialty (MOS) for Content Management Specialist is not “locked in concrete.” The KM section concept calls for these positions to be coded, requiring additional training, much like Battle Staff NCOs. Therefore, the specific MOS is irrelevant. However, there is currently no personnel code for a branch immaterial MOS.

ASCC. ASCC input also figured heavily in the development of the ASCC KM section. SMEs from USARPAC, especially COL Patrick Manners, as well as USARCENT and USAREUR contributed. During the ASCC Redesign workshop held in August 2008, requirements dictated a split-based headquarters consisting of a Main Command Post (MCP) and an Operational Command Post (OCP). Each would require its own KM section.

MCP KM Section - 3/0/1/4
O6 01A ASCC KM Officer 1
O4 57A Battle CMD Sys Off 1
O4 53A Battle CMD Sys Off 1
E7 11B40 Content Mgme Spec 1

The “strikethroughs” in the figure above represent casualties from the 20% reduction rule imposed during the ASCC Redesign workshop. If the reduction holds the O-6 position will be reduced to an O-5 and the E-7 Content Management Specialist will disappear. The capability will remain but with some risk.

OCP KM Section - 3/1/2/6
O5 02A Chief KM Officer 1
O4 57A Battle CMD Sys Off 1
O4 53A Battle CMD Sys Off 1
E8 25B50 Sr Battle CMD NCO 1
E7 11B40 Content Mgme Spec 1
E6 11B40 Content Mgme Spec 1

At press time, the organization for the ASCC HQ is under reevaluation. The OCP may be replaced with a Contingency Command Post and will likely go through another redesign process beginning in Jan 2009

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KM Tip

As most of us know, many online video sharing sites, such as the immensely popular YouTube and MySpace, are not accessible using computers on the Department of Defense NIPRNET. In recognition of the fact that soldiers used these sites extensively, Military OneSource has launched TroopTube, a new “online video site designed to help military families connect and keep in touch while miles apart.”

The site features an easy to use interface and search features. Military OneSource does reserve the right to review all material posted and delete content that does not conform to its terms of service. As part of the terms of service, members agree to not post or upload material that is “inappropriate, profane, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, political in nature, or unlawful” or contains “undisclosed military information” or locations.

Military OneSource is a Department of Defense program designed to support military members of the Active Duty, Guard and Reserve components as well as their families.

Go to TroopTube at http://www.trooptube.tv (some local DOIMs may have this site restricted).

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KM Success Stories

Soldiers running in gunfire.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

Action: Emphasis at the Combat Training Centers is placed on training brigades and battalions. A question posted across 6 different Forums (NCO Net, Mounted Maneuver Net, S3-XO Net, Warrant Officer Net, Company Command and Platoon Leader) asked if this type of training experience should apply to companies and platoons.
  Result: Within 24 hours, 69 responses were received from around the world, from LTCs to PVTs.


Soldiers marching on patrol.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

Action: A student at the Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss posted a question on NCO Net: "Does the role of the senior NCO in combat need defining?"
Saves Time   Result: During the next 8 days, 59 NCOs from around the world, including 36 CSM/SGM, participated in an online threaded discussion about that question.

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The Future of online training AND Knowledge Management is 3D

The Internet is changing. Instead of the traditional 2 dimensional (2D) websites, virtual worlds create real world scenarios with a more natural humanistic navigation. These 3 dimensional (3D) environments capitalize on visual technology providing unparalleled training, synchronous collaboration, social learning, and social networking capabilities.

The popular Second Life (http://secondlife.com, some DOIM policies may restrict downloading the required software this site requires) demonstrates highly visual technology through experiences with avatars. I will demonstrate these technology capabilities through a tour of my avatar at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) islands (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Meteora/177/161/27) in Second Life.

Once logged into Second Life, I went to the NOAA island map which gave me many options.

Screenshot of Weather map.

I decided to go first to view the real time weather map which is contained in a hangar style building. Upon entering the building this is what I saw:
Screenshot of Avatar viewing weather map.

The picture doesn’t do it justice but all the weather is actually moving and changing as I view it. Notice the thunderstorm and rain taking place in Florida on the right of the photo.

Other exhibits include:

Advantages of these highly experiential technologies are:

  1. Self paced individual learning
  2. Easy Internet access from any location
  3. Opportunistic training unavailable in real life; i.e. too difficult, dangerous, costly, or impossible
  4. Instant role playing scenarios
  5. Immediate avatar interaction providing synchronous social networking and unparalleled collaboration

For more information on 3D technology visit the joint BCKS/DAU Virtual Worlds for Advanced Learning Community of Practice at: https://acc.dau.mil/virtualworld. For a Second Life account, go to http://secondlife.com.

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What's Hot in the BCKS Professional Forums

Collage of Forum LogosOn Leader Net: What’s the Best Leadership Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Following up from a recent article from the Military Times website, many members of the Leader Net shared some excellent leadership advice they’ve received over the years. There are some truly great pearls of wisdom contained in the words of some of the NCOs and officers cited.
If you are not a member of Leader Net go to https://leadernet.bcks.army.mil then select “Become a member.”


On Mounted Maneuver Net: Are Officers and NCOs prepared to fight a conventional battle after five years of COIN? Initially started to help a cadet at West Point with a research paper, this discussion has generated some fantastic replies from officers and NCOs on both sides of the issue.
If you are not a member of Mounted Maneuver Net go to https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=69839 then select “Become a member.”


On Transition Teams: The Emergence of the Super MiTT
“Super MiTTs,” consisting of MiTTs merged together to cover multiple echelons of headquarters have come about recently in response to various mission requirements. Several former transition team members share their experiences on the effectiveness of the concept.
If you are not a member of Transition Teams go to: https://transitionteams.bcks.army.mil/ then select “Become a member.”

BCKS Professional Forums require AKO Access. Find them at https://forums.bcks.army.mil.

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Guide Helps Facilitators

In November 2008, BCKS published version 1.0 of the Army Professional Forum Facilitator Guide on KMNet (see link below). The Guide is a hands-on guide for professional forum facilitators. No single publication could possibly capture the collective knowledge of the numerous knowledge management professionals who have worked on and in BCKS’ forums the past several years.

Over the course of its history, BCKS has started, managed and closed hundreds of professional forums. Some forums have been fantastically successful while others have struggled, but each of these successes and failures has brought with it new knowledge that has shaped the procedures and practices implemented by BCKS. The Guide attempts to codify those best practices and lessons learned that have stood the test of time. The intent is to lead the reader through the step-by-step procedures for starting up a professional forum and the techniques required to maintain and cultivate the forum into a viable community.

This Guide establishes the expectations for the facilitators of professional forums hosted by BCKS and is designed to be a practical application tool, a desktop reference for use by both novice and experienced facilitators. However, in order to establish a common framework of understanding, a general explanation of the various types of virtual communities is included. More than being simply prescriptive in nature, the Guide also addresses how to perform routine tasks and confront problems, as well as provides the rationale behind those practices.

While the Guide is built upon the experiences of BCKS, it draws heavily upon the research and experience of knowledge management professionals, working both in the military and civilian sectors. As a result, the underlying principles, best practices, and lessons learned described within should be applicable to any Community of Practice.

Find the Army Professional Forum Facilitator Guide at: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=689255&lang=en-US (AKO account required)

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Enterprise 2.0 –Not another 2.0!

This is the 2nd article in a continuing series on Enterprise 2.0

Man Working on laptop.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

In the spring of 2006, Andrew McAfee first used the term Enterprise 2.0 in an article in the MIT Sloan Management Review Enterprise 2.0 called “Enterprise2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration.” When referring to Enterprise 2.0, most rely on McAfee’s definition as “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.”

Since its inception, the term Enterprise 2.0 has been hotly debated without any real consensus of the definition given the ever-changing and evolving world of Web 2.0. However, as Dion Hinchcliffe puts it, “the essential, core meaning has largely stayed the same: Social applications that are optional to use, free of unnecessary structure, highly egalitarian, and support many forms of data.”

Basically, Enterprise 2.0 is a subset of Web 2.0 technologies that are being used in the small to large enterprise to generate greater free-form user contribution and participation in the enterprise. This subset of collaborative technologies is believed to be an answer to the shortcomings of the present communications and collaborative technologies found in the enterprise; i.e. e-mail, instant messaging, software for document sharing and knowledge management. One of the major shortcomings of present technologies is the inability to capture the knowledge within an enterprise and make it readily accessible to everyone in a timely manner.

Enterprise 2.0 elements are demonstrated by McAfee’s mnemonic SLATES: S-Search, L-Links, A-Authorship, T-Tags, E-Extensions, and S-Signals, which are found in his article “Enterprise2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration.” SLATES highlights the elements of Enterprise 2.0 technologies that help overcome the shortcomings found in the present technologies in the enterprise --- increase free-form participation, allow ownership of the knowledge, able to categorize the knowledge and keep users informed of knowledge relevant to them. It must be noted, more often than not, Enterprise 2.0 technologies are not a replacement to the existing technologies but more of an enhancement and a bridge to Web 2.0 capabilities. Dion Hinchcliffe has refined the SLATES mnemonic with his own called FLATNESSES in his blog “The State of Enterprise 2.0” which adds a network-oriented aspect to the original concept.

However, that is not to say that Enterprise 2.0 doesn’t have its problems within the enterprise. Being born of the Web 2.0 movement where a lot of trust is placed in the individual and the communities that individuals make up is almost antithetical to the centralized control found and promoted in the majority of enterprises. This leads to a tension and possible failure of Enterprise 2.0 technologies in the enterprise. However, many enterprises are attempting to integrate Enterprise 2.0 into their environments because they see the many benefits it brings. Only time will tell if these integrations go well.

Dion Hinchcliffe summarized Enterprise 2.0 very well: “In the end, Enterprise 2.0 takes most of the potent ideas of Web 2.0, user generated content, peer production, and moves them into the workplace.”

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AMEDD conducts Knowledge Assessment of Warrior Transition Units

Walter Reed Warrior Transition Brigade

To help Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) improve knowledge sharing across all the Army’s different WTUs, the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) began its first knowledge assessment at Walter Reed’s Warrior Transition Brigade, commanded by COL Terrance McKenrick

In reviewing the internal processes, knowledge flow and best practices across the 36 WTU and 19 Community Based Warrior Transition Unit (CBWTU) organizations, the intent of the assessment was to “build corporate knowledge management capabilities that enable the workforce to positively impact the AMEDD mission through innovation, performance improvement, and powerful decision-making,” said Dr. Barbara Erickson, Chief of the Knowledge Services Branch, Knowledge Management Division (KMD).

AMEDD-KMD “is working to improve how we create and share knowledge and develop life-long learning skills in a way that positively impacts decision making and the corporate AMEDD mission,” added Erickson.

The knowledge assessment with Walter Reed is the first of eight such visits the KMD team plans to conduct. The team will visit WTUs at Army hospitals and CBWTUs within communities in an effort to improve internal processes, collaboration, sharing, and warrior transition from WTU to active duty, civilian employment, or to a CBWTU.

Two soldiers aiming rifles.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

The assessment methodology used by AMEDD and developed by BCKS coaches helps assess performance gaps between what a unit can do and what it must do to succeed. The knowledge assessment helps an organization understand itself and what it does so that it can focus on the right gaps.

The WTU assessments accomplish three main tasks:

  1. evaluate the current WTU infrastructure capabilities for creating, organizing, integrating, transferring, managing, assessing, and exploiting knowledge and expertise,
  2. identify knowledge, learning, and innovation gaps, and
  3. recommend a knowledge strategy to close those gaps and align people, processes and technology in a knowledge sharing and learning culture.

The team of five AMEDD KMD personnel were supported by two senior knowledge coaches from the Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS) at Fort Leavenworth, who have been working with AMEDD KMD for the past six months to help develop their knowledge management capabilities. “The support we have received from BCKS and their knowledge coaches, Dr. Holly Baxter and Dr. Mike Prevou, has been invaluable to AMEDD,” said Rose Paarmann, Knowledge Management Consultant, from the AMEDD-KMD.

According to Paarmann, “In addition to the assessment protocol, BCKS has provided exceptional coaching and support in helping us learn how to conduct effective interviews and really understand the needs of the organizations we are supporting.” These interviews help the team develop recommended knowledge strategies, then apply knowledge management approaches to help organizations be more productive and effective.

Regarding the WTU assessments, Baxter said, “It’s about improving effectiveness—actual measurable results that we see by helping an organization lean out its processes by enabling collaboration and capturing the expertise and lived lessons of the highly experienced cadre at each WTU assessed and then helping to transfer it across the others. ”

For more information on the Knowledge assessment provided by BCKS visit KMNet Assessment: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=712349&lang=en-US (AKO account required)

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Developing High Performing Teams

Until recently, teams were relatively simple. Each team had a single leader and collaboration focusing on mission accomplishment and took place face-to-face. In a few short decades, new communication and collaboration capabilities—combined with a sharp up-tick in the complexity of global relationships changed all that. Teams cross boundaries of all kinds and, instead of a single person being in charge, members of teams often find themselves leading part of the team mission, often where their expertise is greatest.

These new virtual teams work across boundaries of organization, space and time, are enabled by technology, and supported by new team development exercises that produce higher performance.

New methods were needed to help teams develop shared understanding, purpose, trust, competence and confidence in each other and their ability as a team. As a result, a number of Combined Arms Center (CAC) organizations at Ft. Leavenworth came together to develop a “Teams of Leaders” methodology that outlines new capabilities which can enable a system-wide improvement in teams at every level, in every function, and in every organization.

“Talented leaders are already doing this type of virtual team development” says Major Brad Hilton, EUCOM. As a special assistant to the EUCOM Chief of Staff, Hilton is responsible for innovations in collaboration and team development.

“Just because we do this well individually doesn’t mean we do it well organizationally. In homogeneous organizations we tend to work well together as a team but in cross boundary teams and in rapidly developed ‘pick-up teams’ we have more problems. We don’t always understand the culture, motivation, larger objectives, and bias brought to the table by these cross boundary teams. We need a deliberate methodology to help develop high performing teams, manage the knowledge processes and apply the collaborative technologies that exist today,” said Hilton.

The Teams of Leaders (ToL) concept comes from the work of LTG (Ret) Rick Brown, Ph.D., who recognized early that the new technologies of communication, collaboration and KM would facilitate higher levels of team performance. He developed a three-part model for teams of leaders:

  1. Enhanced communication
  2. Greater collaboration
  3. High-performing leader teams enabled by anywhere, any-time communication and collaboration.

The compound effect of newly-enabled, high-performing virtual leader teams is a force multiplier.

This concept was then combined with an ongoing virtual teaming project at CAC, resulting in a draft Teams of Leaders Handbook and a framework for team development exercises. The Teams of Leaders concept addresses the gaps that working virtually introduces and helps propel teams to extraordinary performance through advanced learning methodologies. This project will help team members:

BCKS is working with USEUCOM to pilot the ToL capability using team development exercises which put the team “in the moment” to help them develop the shared qualities mentioned above. For more information on the Teams of Leaders and virtual teaming initiative contact BCKS.

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Finding and Managing Information

Computer users often experience frustration finding files. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Simple steps taken can increase the discoverability and usability of a document regardless of its location. If creators and managers of documents want their “stuff” to be discovered, the organization or unit must follow some basic content management principles and processes.

We spend a lot of time creating Microsoft OfficeTM documents and converting them to Adobe PDFTM format to reduce their size and make them more usable, but take little time to add the file properties that will make them more discoverable and more secure.

Here are four tips to improve the discoverability of your documents:

Tip 1: Enter file properties information into the Microsoft OfficeTM file before it is saved. Microsoft Office™ allows the user to save metadata, information about the file, as part of the file properties. Entering this information makes it much easier to discover files using the Microsoft XPTM internal search engine.

This is an example of file properties entered for a document. It takes about 10 seconds to fill in the properties of a file. The file owner will find it faster when it is on their PC and others will find it faster if it is stored on a shared drive or repository.

Many content management systems will extract some or all of this metadata and populate it into a metadata graphical user interface (GUI) so a content manager does not have to re-enter it. The properties then become part of the XML file, an extensible version of the Microsoft WordTM or Adobe PDF file. Then it can be queried using advanced search features, such as:  “Find all documents authored by Mark Uhart about content management since 4 Jan 2008.”

With Microsoft XP’s Indexing Service turned on, the file properties information, as well as the content, are much easier to discover, particularly in Microsoft SharePointTM 2007.

Advanced properties information can be added to allow better discovery and file management. Shown here are custom properties that can be added to a Microsoft WordTM file to enhance both document discovery and management.

These advanced properties can be text, date, number or Yes/No property types. To be of real value, the custom file property names and values should be developed by the organization and entered per SOP, some being mandatory and others optional.

These procedures are part of the organization’s content management process as part of an overall content management strategy.

Tip 2: Establish a standard file naming convention within your organization. Develop a file naming standard that makes sense for your organization or unit. Do not put spaces or special characters in the file name. This adds “garbage” characters to the filename, thus making it difficult to find. Best practices for naming conventions include:

Tip 3: Make sure the content in PDF files is text-readable. Files created in MS Office 2007TM can be saved as Adobe PDF files. No security restrictions are applied and any metadata can be changed by the author or any user with a copy of Adobe Acrobat ProfessionalTM.

File properties of an MS Word 2007TM document are saved to the PDF file, as shown here. Microsoft Word does not have a security tab. The security tab is added when the file is saved to PDF and displayed as part of the Adobe ReaderTM file properties.

There are no document security restrictions. Content use and sharing features are all “Allowed.” This means the content is text-readable, thus making the content in the file more discoverable on the Internet or in a repository. Text-readable files can also be easily saved in XML, allowing semantic discovery.

A user working with a text-readable file can copy and paste the text or imbedded images into another document. Best practices for documents include:

Record copy document saved with password-protected security restrictions…

  • does not allow content to be copied or extracted.
  • restricts the repurposing and reuse of content within the document.
  • Does not allow the file to be converted to XML.

Only use SOP-defined passwords to protect record copies – otherwise the file is locked forever when the author moves on.

Tip 4: Publish documents in a centralized library as much as possible. File location is not important when you store files on your PC since you know where you put your stuff. But shared documents require a shared location. Draft copies and working papers can be uploaded in discussion or topic areas, which can be hard to discover by users outside the discussion group membership. Final record and non-record copies should be placed in a managed content library. Best practices for content libraries include:

A little time spent on the front end will save more time when searching for or managing content. Each of these steps should be included in an overall content management process. For more information contact Content Management at BCKS.

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Call for Articles

Front Cover of NewsletterAre you a KM professional or someone who’s just getting involved with KM…. Would you like to share a KM experience, Best Practice or TTP with the other Soldiers? Submit an article for publication in Connected. KM is about sharing and exchanging knowledge, and Connected can serve as your platform for doing that.

This is an opportunity for you to discuss your experience with KM and how it helped you or your unit save lives, time or money; prevent injuries; or improve training, a process or a procedure. Many people would have the opportunity to read your article in Connected and it would also be preserved in archived copies of Connected that are available online. Whether you’d like to contribute an article or suggest a topic for Connected to cover, we hope to hear from you soon at leav-bcks-webmaster@conus.army.mil

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Index of Links

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Publisher Information

Connected is published quarterly by the Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS), the lead agent for the Army Operational Knowledge Management (AOKM) proponent, headquartered at the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, KS. Connected disseminates AOKM news, TTPs and best practices, and is a forum for expressing original, creative and innovative thought about knowledge management.

Information provided is intended to help the Army improve Soldier and unit readiness, training and performance. Contents of this publication are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by the U.S. Government, the Department of the Army or the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth. Links throughout Connected will work if you have an active Internet connection. Otherwise, you will need to copy and paste the URLs provided into your browser. Some links require AKO (Army Knowledge Online) access.

Send submissions and suggestions for this publication to Connected, BCKS, 627 McClellan Ave., Bldg. 43, Ft. Leavenworth, KS 66027; or via e-mail to leav-bcks-webmaster@conus.army.mil. We’re on AKO/DKO. See us at https://bcks.army.mil
Staff: Bill Ackerly, Sherry Happel. Phone: (913) 684-6383 Fax: (913) 684-6352

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