Greetings from New England. Yes, I too am at the beach. But I’m still working, and the purpose of this brief is to tell you about a new project that the Lexington Institute has launched while you were away. It is a defense blog. Yes, yes, I know — there are already hundreds of defense blogs, and many of them are pretty awful. But that’s why we launched our own blog on the Lexington homepage, called Early Warning. It isn’t awful. In fact, I’m betting that if you read a few entries, at some point you’ll say — “Gee, I didn’t know that.”
We all recognize what the main problem is with blogs. The barriers to entry are so low that almost anyone with a laptop can start one, and it’s hard to sort out the good ones from tendentious nonsense. For every interesting, competent effort like DoD Buzz, there are dozens of ill-mannered rants masquerading as insight. To say that blogs have lowered the standards of public discourse on policy matters is an under-statement — there are no standards. Anybody can say anything, with extra points for verbosity.
We are trying a different approach. First, we intend to keep our postings brief. It will be a rare day indeed that a posting on Early Warning runs as long as this brief, and the typical posting will run to two or three paragraphs. Second, we plan to be long on facts — especially little known, useful facts — and short on opinions. I mean really, why should you care what I think about the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle or V-22 tiltrotor unless I have inside information to impart? And third, we intend to write about national security in a somewhat more expansive manner than most military analysts. We will frequently look beyond the realm of strategy and tactics, to dissect economic trends, political developments and technology breakthroughs that have a material bearing on national security.
Obviously, we do not expect this vision of a world-class web-log to spring spontaneously from the collective consciousness of the Lexington braintrust onto the Internet. It will take some time to get the blog right, including all the material that surrounds it at www.lexingtoninstitute.org. The blog has actually been up and running for over two weeks, and we are still tweaking features such as how the postings display and are written. But we think we’re off to a good start, and are already getting indications that people in the defense community have noticed.
We want Early Warning to be an island of sanity in the chaos of the Worldwide Web. With so many traditional news outlets declining and no new hierarchy of credible sources yet emerged, we’d like to offer a site that is both sensible and engaging. We will never match the resources of the New York Times or the reach of the Associated Press. But we hope that when you read something on the Lexington blog and say, “Gee, I didn’t know that,” it will be because the information is new and not because it is wrong.
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