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Top Navy officer has his own blog


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POSTED: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Outgoing Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Robert Willard uses a blog, a podcast and Facebook—all the latest modes of Internet communication.

Slated this fall to become commander of all U.S. military forces in the Pacific, Willard said Navy leaders “;have an obligation to use the communication media that work.”;

Willard became the Pacific Fleet commander in May 2007, in charge of 178 ships, 1,500 aircraft and 160,000 sailors, Marines and civilians in the Asia-Pacific area.

He launched his Facebook page last week in conjunction with his “;Rat-Pac Report”; podcast. Facebook has about 200 million active users, including the U.S. Africa Command, the U.S. Pacific Command and the U.S. Southern Command, which all have their own pages.

Last month, Willard discussed his latest attempt to reach out to civilians and educate them on what the Navy is doing.

“;In this day and age, I think the opportunity to employ a podcast or to engage in a blog are effective means of communication that are better accepted than some traditional means that we formerly believed strongly in,”; said Willard in his March 26 blog.

The Navy says the Pacific Fleet's Facebook page is “;designed to give users an opportunity to learn more about the various missions of Pacific Fleet and is aligned with the command's emphasis on the promotion of new media.”;

Willard started blogging in September.

One of the comments Willard received on March 29 was from a person who said he was a reporter of the China Youth Daily, one of China's best-selling domestic newspapers.

In response, Willard said, “;In order to promote greater understanding between the U.S. Navy and the PLA (People's Liberation Army) Navy, we are seeking increased military-to-military interactions that promote frank discussions and build trust. It is our strong desire that both our navies may contribute constructively to regional and global maritime security.”;

The reporter also asked Willard, a former F-14 Tomcat jet pilot, why he chose to be a consultant for the 1986 Tom Cruise movie “;Top Gun.”; He said he would answer that and other questions in future blogs.

A link to the Pacific Fleet's Facebook page can be accessed through Pacific Fleet's Web site, www.cpf.navy.mil.