21 January 2010

SWJ vs. Stand-to

Dave Dilegge and Bill Nagle are the creators and operators of Small Wars Journal. For the uninitiated, "SWJ", as its followers call it, is the the premiere website for counterinsurgency theory, and is hands-down the best defense-related journal/blog around. They even got a small blurb in Rolling Stone Magazine's "2009 Hot List", right alongside Lady Gaga.

Dave and Bill are retired Marines who spend their day hosting dozens of professional articles written by military officers, defense analysts, and experts in numerous areas of government and civil development. They also manage to put together a hefty morning update, chock-full of links from around the mainstream media, released at about 4 in the morning, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Now, the SWJ crew isn't the only group putting out daily news roundups. For years, the military has gotten a daily news roundup from the Early Bird, which rivals the amount of news the SWJ guys seem to find. Moreover, since 2005, the US Army has hosted a similar news roundup entitled "Stand-to", showcasing military-related news from around the world.

I have to give the Army credit by noting that they have proven themselves to be the most accepting of the blogging community; within the past year, Stand-to has even begun compiling a daily roundup of chatter throughout the milblogosphere.

However, even though Stand-to is hosted by the US Army and, most likely, updated by someone who's being paid money, SWJ is still able to host a larger news roundup, publish it seven days a week (including over four-day weekends and holidays), and push it out early in the morning.

Although I actually do like reading the US Army's Stand-to, I think they can improve the site by publishing a few links on the weekends. At a minimum, Stand-to can at least publish a roundup on the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Day. I know that may be a holiday on many military bases, but for those whose opinions we are trying to influence, it isn't.

It shouldn't be too difficult to make happen. SWJ is staffed by two volunteers who note, astutely, that Burger King pays more than serving as a webmaster on a military blog. Yet they still manage to publish an inordinate amount of information each day. Why can't the US Army hire a few bloggers and get similar results?

If you don't read Stand-to, maybe you should drop by daily, or add it to your RSS Reader


onparkstreet said...

SWJ kind of amazes me, too. There are very, very, very few sites that are as steady and regular in their output. Pretty impressive. Also, because I am lazy, I really like sites that round up a bunch of stuff so I can just sit and read. I actually ordered some stuff on Amazon through their site because I guess it sends a few (?) pennies their way?

I'll check out the other site, too.

- Madhu

Karaka said...

You know, I'd love to read Early Bird, but it's only available to .mil users.

SWJ is a remarkable resource. I hesitate to "mark as read" the 93 posts I have backlogged from the site because I know it'll be the best briefing on the last few weeks I could get.

Sorry for my absence, by the by. :)