Jul 012012

Knowledge Management in the Military Knowledge Management (KM) in the United States (US) Military has been implemented using a top down approach that is resonated through each branch, command, directorate, division, group, battalion, etc.

The US Military has established a culture of KM that leverages its personnel, processes, and systems to facilitate a consistent flow of knowledge and the mechanisms to execute and make decisions from this knowledge.

The current Military KM strategy

It is widely acknowledged that knowledge management (KM) strategy is a desired precursor to developing specific KM initiatives. KM Strategies are established from the top down in every branch of the US Military. As this strategy is propagated and aligned through the organization, it is often a difficult process due a variety of influences and constraints. These KM influences and constraints include understanding, conflicts with IT organizations, funding, technology usage and configuration, and outsourcing.

Each branch of the US Military works to overcome barriers to KM adoption. To this effort an establishment of processes and tools, which involves providing approaches and solutions for knowledge sharing has influenced a change in people’s habits. This change will drive values to move US Military organization culture father to overall KM adoption. In support of the US Military in its knowledge sharing efforts, Communities of Practice (CoP) have become an integral method of sharing and distributing knowledge across all branches of the military. In addition enterprise web search capabilities have been implemented to increase “findability” of key content, which is leverage for decision making at all levels of command.

Continuing KM Challenge of BRAC

The Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) specifically represents the challenge of capturing knowledge both tacit and explicit before it leaves a command from personnel shifts and loss due to a BRAC move. The US Military has already experienced this knowledge loss and unless steps are taken at least a year in advance of a BRAC move, this loss will continue.

The loss of knowledge has the potential to compromise mission activities and the soldier in theater. Leveraging the US Military’s ability to share knowledge through its established process and tools will help lessen the adverse impact of this knowledge loss. However, without process and tools to capture, catalog, and reuse knowledge, the US Military will be challenged to keep the various commands fully operational and effective long term for the solider in theater.

I am interested to hear from our men and women across the military, this includes active, inactive, reservists, as well as civilian personnel who have worked or are currently working with KM. I would like you to share your thoughts about how you are utilizing KM and/or if you feel KM is/will be a benefit for you!

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  3 Responses to “The US Military and Knowledge Management”

  1. Anthony…I’m the Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) for the U.S Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM), responsible for KM implementation within the Army Sustainment Community.

    I might be interested in contributing, however I would like to know a little bit more about how KM will be “nested” within your upcoming publication. In other words, do you intend to lean more towards codification or personalization (or both); is it your desire to address the relationship between KM, innovation and business process improvements; are you planning to drawing out correlations between KM and Social Networking; etc.

    Not my intent to influence it one way or the other, but simply need to ascertain what value my input may or may not have on your efforts so I can assess whether it will be worth the time I’d have to invest.

    If you’d like to respond directly, I’m at patrick.e.conway.civ@mail.mil. Thanks

  2. I found your article interesting. Have you done any research about how KM might benefit the military environment attrition rate? I’ll be doing my own research project for school soon and is related to KM.

    Dan (dan@opstek.com)

  3. Daniel, thanks for your comment. Yes, I have spoken to the Air Force Material Command and the Army Logistics Command regarding capturing knowledge before it leaves (or transfers). This will help address the knowledge drain that will occur through attrition and possible slow down the attrition rate by providing knowledge to current workers. I would be interested in the results of your research when it is available.

    Tony Rhem (tonyr@ajrhem.com)

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