Skip to main content
In this document, the acronym 'K M' means Knowledge Management

Find what you need
Share What You Know
Connect With Those Who Know


Summer 2009


Inside This Issue

2009 Army Operational Knowledge Management (AOKM) Conference

Army KM Qualification Course Kicked Off This Week

KM Gets New Doctrine to Soldiers... Faster

KM Observations From the Field

Transition Teams Move from Fort Riley to Fort Polk

What's Hot in the BCKS Professional Forums!

HARMONIEWeb

Are You Wiki?

Knowledge Assessment of Signal Center

BCKS's "Millionaires Club"

Call for Articles

Index of Links

Publisher Info

Battle Command Knowledge Systems

Connected
Army Operational Knowledge Management
Divider: Find What You Need, Share What You Know, Connect With Those Who Know

Mr. Dale Ormond, Deputy to the Commanding General, Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, welcomes the 200+ attendees to the 2008 AOKM Conference.

2009 Army Operational Knowledge Management (AOKM) Conference:
Winning the Current Fight

The 2009 AOKM Conference at the Kansas City Airport Marriott, 19-23 October, promises to be bigger and better than ever. Whether you’re a new Knowledge Management Officer (KMO) in a unit, a seasoned practitioner or you just want to learn about KM, make plans to be there.

As in past conferences, Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS) will host the 2009 AOKM Conference. Conference planners are hard at work, developing specific tracks, training sessions, workshops and a slate of exciting speakers. Spread over four days, the conference is expected to include plenty of breaks for networking, an informal social the first night of the conference and a dinner later in the week. ~ AOKM Conference Continued on page 11

Back to Top

Army KM Qualification Course Kicked Off This Week

Linda McGurn, BCKS (contractor) rehearses for the AKMQ Course (13 Jul-14 Aug)

As this issue of Connected was being uploaded (printed), the first of several pilots of the AKMQ Course began at Fort Leavenworth. The five-week course produces a Knowledge Management Professional Additional Skill Identifier (ASI)/Skill Identifier (SI) which will allow the Army to track the trained personnel.

The course includes a CAPSTONE exercise designed to raise the level of training effectiveness with a KM-focused simulated exercise. The curriculum currently consists of a common core and individual instruction tailored to meet the special requirements of each duty position.

Contact the Proponent Office at BCKS (913-684-6351) for more information about this course and other training offered by BCKS.

Back to Top

Screenshot of FM 3-28 CoverKM Gets New Doctrine to Soldiers... Faster

Accelerates the transfer of knowledge from Soldiers to doctrine.
Saves Time
Improves a Process

Action: A doctrine author at the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate used threaded discussion on the Domestic Ops Net to solicit input for updating FM 3-28, Civil Support Operations.

Result:


Back to Top

KM Observations From the Field

Where your unit is in the Army Forces Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle will drive how it approaches knowledge management (KM) activities and focus at any given time. For example, when you begin a "Life" cycle, usually at the conclusion of an operation or deployment, knowledge workers gather observations and best practices, archive and catalog good ideas and best practices, and finally improve processes that did not work so well.

As equipment and people are "Reset," new soldiers come while old soldiers go, and new and overhauled equipment is issued.

During the "Ready" phase, knowledge workers sharpen their axe and help the unit prepare. Units integrate new equipment, evaluate processes, train staffs/operators, develop standard procedures and establish drills. Units also begin contacting their deployed counterparts for possible changes and adjustments to their SOPs, while new and emerging doctrine is reviewed and incorporated into routine activities.

But it is during the training events leading up to a unit's deployment when KM really begins to flex its muscle. As Operations Centers and TOCs are established and digital systems begin to get wide spread use again, some of the KM bills come due from the Reset and Ready phases. If you missed steps along the way, it will quickly be apparent when processes begin to falter. The right people and adequate resources must have been committed before major training activities, or there will be hiccups and false starts. Obviously, the larger the unit, the more resources are required to ensure a smooth transition between cycles.

The biggest proof of a successful KM program can best be seen during operations, particularly in how knowledge workers feed inputs to the commander (and staff) so they can acquire better situational understanding. Whether gathered face-to-face during trips around the battlefield or digitally through sensors, information management feeds or collaborative team efforts, the various inputs help form the Common Operational Picture. Some anticipate the need and make the appropriate allocations in advance; for others it may be an eventual shift from how they were initially organized. It doesn't matter what you call it or who you designate to do it, it still has to be done. We operate in a mostly digital, wired environment and new functions are performed in many places.

Here are some ways to hedge against some of the KM challenges that face a unit before deployment:

These are a few techniques and others may very well apply, so seek out further ideas from your knowledge management specialists.

Back to Top

KM Supports Move of Transition Teams from Fort Riley to Fort Polk

On March 8, 2008, Department of the Army selected Fort Polk as the future home for joint Army, Navy and Air Force Transition Team Training.

Since the transition team mission was established at Fort Riley in October 2004, BCKS has hosted the Transition Teams (TT) Professional Forum to capitalize on the tacit knowledge gathered from previous deployments and transfer it to those who were currently in theater and those tasked to deploy. At that time, 1st Bde, 1st Infantry Division was tasked to provide Security Force Assistance training for advisors who were deploying to assist host nation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On May 1, 2009, the mission formally shifted to Fort Polk when Col. Mark Bertolini took command of the (re-instated) 162nd Infantry Training Brigade (ITB). The mission remains the same: train Foreign Security Force Transition Teams (FSF-TT) that will embed with forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as combat advisors.

The realignment of FSF-TT training to Fort Polk is necessary to meet long-term mission requirements as well as relieve the stress on operational units at Fort Riley. The move also establishes a relationship between the Transition Team Training Brigade and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). This effort trains U.S. Forces to prepare foreign civilian and military security forces within Afghanistan and Iraq for the transfer of security responsibilities back to the host nations.

How do KM and BCKS support FSF-TT as they make the transition from Fort Riley to Fort Polk? The curriculum hasn't changed, nor is it expected to. BCKS continues to maintain and grow the TT Professional Forum (membership now exceeds 3,500). Through its online discussions, the Forum promotes the exchange of information and knowledge between those who have Security Force Assistance experience with those who can benefit from that knowledge.

Transition Teams Forum screenshotJRTC and Fort Polk commander Brig. Gen. James C. Yarbrough explained that the 162nd ITB is in its third year of FSF-TT training and is scheduled to resume training operations at Fort Polk, LA on September 1, 2009.

The effort to prepare Fort Polk for its new mission began several years ago, and due to the fast paced preparation time-line, the North Fort cantonment looks as busy as an anthill. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the Fort Polk Directorate of Public Works and other installation agencies, has overseen the construction of nearly 100 buildings in less than a year.

In addition to the added office and training space, Fort Polk post housing is increasing the amount of family housing units available. Soldiers and family members can visit the 162nd Inf Bde Web site for further information and frequently asked questions.

Back to Top

HarmonieWeb

An Environment for Military and Non-Traditional Information Sharing

By U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), creators of the HARMONIEWeb virtual collaborative environment.

The United States military faces many challenges today. Among these, irregular warfare (IW) is a significant emerging mission with complex military communication challenges.

Other significant challenges include Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Recovery (HADR) missions. Both missions entail increased coordination between Department of Defense (DOD) and other U.S. government organizations as well as with a variety of non-governmental groups.

While the combat and security roles of the military in Iraq and Afghanistan still require traditional command and control, there are many organizations participating in these efforts that are non-military and with whom collaboration is best conducted in more benign environments.

HarmonieWeb screenshotIn HADR operations, U.S. military and coalition forces often need to communicate with "non-traditional partners," entities such as U.S. and other government agencies, non-government organizations, and U.S. and foreign civilian groups and individuals. Examples include U.S. Agency for International Development, Afghanistan tribal leaders, and the International Red Cross.

Often many of these non-traditional partners are diametrically opposed to the more combat oriented approach that is common in DOD. This difference in world view manifests itself in an unwillingness to work together that is detrimental to the common goals of all participants.

General James N. Mattis, Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), put it bluntly to his staff: these challenges "will not be going away" and it becomes the task of this staff to find "... the best ideas on how to address [them]..."

One such "idea" for bridging this gap is found in a capability called HARMONIEWeb. This capability takes the view that it is necessary for all participants in IW and HADR missions to have a common environment in which to meet and exchange ideas and information. It cannot reside on DOD networks because of the unwillingness by some non-traditional partners to operate behind DOD firewalls. It also cannot be on a non-traditional partner's network because of the lack of trust by DOD. These problems led to the creation of the HARMONIEWeb virtual collaborative environment.

HARMONIEWeb was initiated in June 2006 as a joint venture between the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Networks and Information Integration (ASD/NII) and USJFCOM. ASD/NII directed USJFCOM to develop HARMONIEWeb for the exchange of unclassified information across the civil-military boundary associated with Stability, Security, Transition and Reconstruction (SSTR) or HADR operations. In its short life-time, this initiative has improved the military's ability to exchange timely, relevant information with non-traditional partners, particularly in the critical early stages of an operation, in order to synchronize efforts, and to accelerate successful mission completion.

Located at www.harmonieweb.org, the site is enabled by a commercial provider and is accessible by anyone with internet connectivity. HARMONIEWeb provides a host of tools including a full MOSS 2007 portal; real-time meeting software with voice, video and file sharing; virtual mapping with satellite overlays and custom icons; and text chat that can be translated into 15 languages. These tools allow all participants in an IW, SSTR, or HADR effort to communicate and coordinate activities regardless of nationality or organizational affiliation.

Back to Top

What's Hot in the BCKS Professional Forums!

Collage of Forum LogosOn NCONet: "Shooting to hit what you're aiming at" is a blog that addresses firing techniques and methods that may seem unorthodox to a lot of soldiers because they are not taught in accordance with FM 3-22.9 (Rifle Marksmanship). Members shared several different perspectives about these techniques, but overwhelmingly support the use of unorthodox methods.


On Mounted ManeuverNET: "What are some things scouts wish intel (S2) knew about the nature of their missions that would help the S2 provide better information?" The Army Reconnaissance Course has begun leveraging the forum as a teaching tool to share information amongst their former, current, and future students. This is one of many topics raised in this portion of the forum.


On KMNet: "Has anyone heard of any SharePoint applications that units have developed to assist them in maintaining situational awareness?" This discussion is an attempt to gather applications that units are developing and using to help spread them throughout the rest of the Army. Many techniques and practices are identified. This could prove to be a major leap in situational awareness and information sharing.


All BCKS Professional Forums require AKO access. Most BCKS forums require membership to view or participate in the forums. To join a forum, it's a simple 3-step process:

  1. Access the BCKS Professional Forum page at: https://forums.bcks.army.mil.
  2. Select the link to forum you want to join.
  3. Then select "Become a Member," fill out the profile and submit.

Back to Top

Are You Wiki?

"Wiki" (/wi:ki:/), a Hawaiian word for "fast," are Web pages that can be quickly edited by any visitor. It is a Web based program used to create collaborative workspaces. Users freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has simple text syntax for creating new pages and cross links between internal pages on the fly.

One of the most popular wiki sites within the public domain is Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org), an encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers from around the world. Anyone with Internet access can make changes to Wikipedia articles. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has attracted 684 million visitors yearly. There are more than 75,000 active contributors working on more than 10,000,000 articles in more than 260 languages. That is a collaboration project to envy!

screenshot of Wiki pagesBut did you know that the same wiki capability exists in the .mil domain today? There are a number of wiki software programs for your own collaboration activities on both NIPR and SIPR and you only need be an authorized user of government networks to gain access to these free resources. Some sites are targeted to specific activities, such as Intelink (https://www.intelink.gov), which has a goal to promote intelligence dissemination and business workflow. Intelink is actually multiple sites, Intelink-U, Intelink-S and Intelink-TS which are all on various networks.

Other sites, like milWiki (https://wiki.kc.us.army.mil), are more in the open community format of Wikipedia and less topical than Intellipedia. And like Intelink, milWiki actually runs on the same software platform as Wikipedia, so transferring skills acquired in the public domain is easy. For example, here is a screen shot of the BCKS Knowledge Management portal on milWiki where knowledge managers collaborate on KM articles:screenshot of Knowledge Management wiki

URLs to official Unclassified/FOUO wiki sites:

There are also portal-based wikis, such as those seen on tactical portals. As designed and right out of the box, the wiki in Microsoft Sharepoint 2007 has considerably less capability for the user than any of the previously mentioned wiki platforms.

Why would you want to wiki, anyway? In addition to the obvious goal of collaborative online publishing, wikis work well for team projects, like preparing documents (SOP, briefing, policy, battle drill). We all understand that expertise resides in our greatest resource, people. Wikis allow us to bring them together to work on one or more projects remotely or at different times. Wikis are tools to help us codify requirements, build products, or use the power of the greater community to accomplish goals.

Like any tool in the knowledge management professional's tool kit, the wiki is not a be-all, end-all solution, but it clearly is another useful option in your KM kitbag. It makes sense to replicate some of the best wiki practices in the commercial domains, because we all do want to be wiki. Aloha

Back to Top

Knowledge Assessment of an Army Center of Excellence

Signal Center of Excellence logoThe Signal Center of Excellence, in partnership with Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS), conducted the first knowledge assessment of a Center of Excellence.

While developing the Warfighters' Forum (WfF) for the Signal Regiment, the Signal Center (SIGCEN) KM Team and the CIO/G6 recognized the need for a knowledge assessment to identify Knowledge Management (KM) requirements and any existing knowledge gaps. The assessment would apply internally to the SIGCEN and externally to the Warfighter in the field.

The results of the knowledge assessment would assist in the development of KM strategies to improve the knowledge structure and flow, and to close knowledge gaps. The assessment’s recommendations would also serve as a KM road map for the way ahead to help achieve Full Operational Capability (FOC) for WfF and SIGCEN KM.

"The Knowledge Assessment report lays the foundation by identifying areas for improvement where the SIGCEN can begin to streamline business processes to make operations more cost efficient. This includes consolidating services and merging similar initiatives to realize economies of scale," said Mr. Alex Morales, SIGCEN Deputy CIO/G6.

"With the shortage of personnel and funding, we have to learn how to become more efficient with fewer resources," he added. "Had I known BCKS provided this service, I would have brought them into my organization in Europe to conduct a knowledge assessment that would have resulted in new efficiencies across the Command."

Describing the experience of the knowledge assessment, Lt. Col. Donald Edwards, SIGCEN Chief Knowledge Officer, said, "I think the Knowledge Assessment was a good idea and it assisted in verifying and confirming some of the KM (People, Processes, and Technology) challenges we are dealing with as an overall organization. This assessment was a necessary event as it helped us identify and document common gaps that several individual organizations/units are facing. This is important because this lets us know where to possibly focus our efforts, especially with a minimally staffed KM Section."

During the assessment process, organizations and personnel provided insight into their SOPs for daily tasks. The interview process was useful and prompted people to speak about information sharing and business process shortcomings they routinely face. The assessment team also noted things that they were doing well.

In hindsight, the assessment could have used more time for unit interviews. Due to time constraints, some of the Command Group Organizations were not included in the assessment process. Those interviews would have been helpful, especially since some of the staffing and tasking challenges are directly linked to the Command Group for coordination.

Comments following the on-site initial outbrief of the assessment suggested that the Assessment Team provide an example of how the gaps will be displayed and noted in the final report. For example, one such comment suggested the outbrief include the recommended prioritization process in the gap write-up so that the leadership will have a better idea of how the final product will look.

The final report and outbrief addressed the identified gaps and provided a way ahead for the SIGCEN as they move forward using KM as an enabler in conducting daily operations.

Some of the recommended solutions included:

  1. Establish a Knowledge Management Section.
  2. Develop a codified knowledge base.
  3. Develop knowledge governance.

For more information on or how to request a Knowledge Assessment, see the MS Word document at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/doc/12505065 (AKO/DKO Account Required).

Back to Top

BCKS' "Millionaires Club"

How would you like to be a member of a very exclusive "millionaire club?"

This is not just any "millionaires club" but one that can offer you something more valuable than money. This "millionaires club" offers you knowledge, professional growth, and an opportunity to give back to your profession.

Over the years, "millionaires clubs" included U.S. Senators, Supreme Court Justices, professional wrestlers, even lottery "millionaires clubs." By the end of the 19th century, so many rich men had been elected to the U.S. Senate that it was dubbed a "millionaires club." Reportedly, in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court was dominated by millionaires, with only two Justices listing their assets with a value under a million dollars. In early 2000, the World Championship Wrestling had its own "millionaires club" led by none other than Mr. Ric Flair himself. Many people around the U.S. have even created lottery "millionaires clubs" in order to pool their money and efforts to win the "big one."

Dollar SignsThe BCKS "millionaires club" will not get you elected to the U.S. Senate, nominated for the Supreme Court, help you gain the World Championship Wrestlers Belt, or win the lottery, but it will help you win the battle on terrorism, while saving money, time and lives.

The BCKS "millionaires club" consists of three very different Army knowledge management Professional Forums supporting the creation, organization, application and transfer of knowledge to facilitate situational understanding and decision making. These very exclusive "millionaires clubs" foster collaboration among Soldiers, units and leaders in order to share expertise and experience, support the development of organizations and teams, organizational learning, innovation and performance. BCKS "millionaires clubs" provide knowledge products and services that are relevant, accurate, timely, and useable to commanders and decision makers.

LOGNet, our newest member of the "millionaires club," has received more than 1 million visits in its approximately four year lifespan. Part of the Sustainment Center of Excellence's Sustainment Knowledge Management (SKM) program, LOGNet is one of the Army's primary tools for facilitating the exchange of knowledge between Logisticians across The Army.

NCO Net is an exclusive "millionaires club," developed, facilitated and supported by Noncommissioned Officers. Launched in 1997, NCO Net is a virtual community where Noncommissioned Officers are engaged in professional conversations and the sharing of knowledge which becomes embedded in their professional life. NCO Net has received more than 1.1 million visits during the last four years.

S1NET, the most successful "millionaires club," has received more than 2.4 million visits in the last four years. S1NET enables HR (Human Resources) professionals across the Army and in the Joint community, as well as those temporarily assigned to perform HR functions, to share knowledge pertinent to the emerging and ever-changing environment of the Army HR profession. S1NET also welcomes interested non-HR Soldiers and civilians to join and participate in the forum.

Operating in an environment of growing complexity and uncertainty, today's Soldiers need the ability to rapidly access information, transfer knowledge and win the learning competition with 21st century adversaries. BCKS Professional Forums are a structured approach to transfer Soldier experiential knowledge in order to give commanders and Soldiers a major tactical advantage on the battlefield. BCKS Professional Forums help to reduce the fog of war and enhance rapid adaptation in dynamic operations.

"... the side that learns and adapts the fastest gains important advantages," said Gen. David Petraeus (Sept-Oct 2008, Military Review). Check out LOGNet, S1NET, NCONet or any of the more than 60 BCKS Professional Forums that have accumulated more than 5 million visits and more than 1 million downloads over the past 12 months alone!

Back to Top

Continued from page 1:

AOKM Conference

LTG (Retired) John Miller talks about "Harnessing the Army's Experience with the After Action Review Process" during the 2008 Conference Kickoff

"The conference is driven by a sense of urgency, the imperative to support the current fight, and, above all, to support learning organizations," said BCKS Director Col. Charles Burnett. "In fact, the conference theme --- "Winning the Current Fight" --- highlights the importance of KM in helping Soldier and unit performance in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"Comments and feedback from attendees at the 2008 AOKM Conference are driving the format and focus of this year's conference," said Lead Conference Planner Eileen Pember, BCKS contractor.

"We received the message loud and clear from last year's participants. This year, the majority of the conference content and speakers will focus on KM that helps the Soldier TODAY.

"We are requiring each moderator or presenter for the afternoon sessions to develop handouts," added Pember. "The intent is for everyone to walk away from each workshop or training session with a checklist or a list of Dos and Don'ts they can start immediately applying upon their return home."

The three core days of the conference (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) are divided into morning plenum sessions, afternoon tracks, workshops and training sessions. During the first hour Friday morning, track leads will brief out the results of their track sessions. Here’s a list of the five tracks under development:

Track Track Topics
1 Echelons Above Corpsdeals with KM and business intelligence for team building, decisionmaking and learning in adaptive Geographic Combatant Commands and Army Service Component Commands operating in an interagency and multinational environment.
2 Corp/Div/Bde, including Warfighters' Forumsfocuses on learning while fighting in echelons corps and below and the critical role of Warfighter Forums, which support unit learning organizations as they build and employ combat and soft power.
3 Codification Value Streamrevolves around one aspect of the value stream, the Doctrine Reengineering effort launched by the TRADOC Commanding General that transitions Army Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (ATTPs) as living, breathing documents on milWiki from a pilot to full implementation.
4 University Without Wallsexplores the transformation of Army Schools and Centers into "universities without walls." This model, exemplified by the Joint Fires University concept for transforming leader development, would apply the disciplines of the learning organization, deepen training with education (know-how with how to think), and support instruction with social learning, KM and performance support.
5 Integrated Knowledge Servicesfocuses on building an Integrated Knowledge Environment (IKE) of dynamic, interoperable information technology to support seamless knowledge flow within unit learning organizations, and between them and their global resources for knowledge, learning, decision and performance support.

Speakers expected to be invited include: Lieut. Gen. (Ret) Dubik, Brig. Gen. Cardon, Brig. Gen. Batschelet, Dr. Nancy Dixon and Dr. Holly Baxter.

Visit the 2009 AOKM Conference Web site at http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/BCKS/aokm2009/ to register for the conference or to reserve a room at the Kansas City Airport Marriott.

Back to Top


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

Back to Top


Index of Links

Links Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks in this newsletter does not constitute endorsement by the Defense Department, U.S. Army or U.S. Army Command Arms Center of those websites or the information, products or services contained therein. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD website.

Some DOIMs may have some sites linked from this publication restricted.

Back to Top


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, suggestions or questions 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, Phone: (913) 684-6383, Fax: (913) 684-6352.

Back to Top