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Task Force Spartan Soldiers Leverage Communication Channels to Enhance Delivery of Information

By Maj. Jean Kratzer Task Force Spartan

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Ingenious Soldiers from Task Force Spartan's intelligence section created a podcast to enhance skillsets innovatively and broadcast important information to a broader audience.

Soldiers currently deployed to Kuwait under Task Force Spartan's 42nd Infantry Division recently broke norms by creating a weekly podcast to intensify their understandings of historical topics and spread their intelligence knowledge to a broader community.

While breaking norms, the Soldiers explained there were challenges to initially starting the podcast.

"The first challenge, which frankly was more of small hurdle given the open-mindedness of the command team, was convincing leadership that creating a podcast was doable and valuable," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathon Molik, Task Force Spartan-42nd Infantry Division, Intelligence Analyst Control Element officer in charge.

"That then led to the real challenge and that was finding the right software and equipment to produce the recordings while following the appropriate guidelines," he emphasized.

Molik said to their knowledge this hasn't been done before in the intelligence community, so they had to ask lots of questions and get approval from levels above.

The intelligence team decided to use a podcast format because it is a widely popular medium in the civilian world to convey information. So, they put together a plan, purchased some equipment and began podcasting.

"We have supplemented our written products with recorded conversations to enhance our customers' understanding of our products," Molik explained.

"I lament using such a cliché but thinking outside the box can lead to great success," explained Molik. "The team has received many responses from listeners telling us that while our written products are certainly useful, having a recorded discussion as a supplement has really enhanced their understanding of topics we have covered."

With a steady rise in the popularity of podcasts, the Intel Soldiers decided to present their analysis in a way that was increasingly common to get more people outside the military to listen.

"Typically, analytic production is either written, briefed or discussed over teleconferences. We wanted to add a recorded discussion that enhanced our written products and could be consumed at the customer's leisure," Molik emphasized.

Making the transition from written products to a podcast was inspiring for the group of Soldiers who regularly listen to podcasts outside of work.

We loved the idea of doing a podcast, added Staff Sgt. William Simone, Task Force Spartan-42nd Infantry Division, Military Intelligence Fusion noncommissioned officer in charge.

"The idea originally came about while discussing how much easier it is to consume information while driving or doing other tasks. In the military world, our Intel audience is always busy, so the podcast-in theory- allows them an easier exposure to intelligence," he emphasized.

The Soldiers initially created the podcast to be listened to on a classified network but wanted to expand their listening audience. So, they began creating two separate podcasts, one on a military secured classified network, and the other on an unclassified system.

"Our podcasts are recorded; it gives the customer the freedom to listen whenever they choose, as opposed to attending a scheduled briefing, and the recordings allow the analysts to present their information and analyze exactly how they like," Molik added.

After receiving a great deal of positive feedback from the command team, he would offer that innovation, although at times uncomfortable and new, can lead to better outcomes, Molik encouraged.

With each recording, the Soldiers learn to research the topic, rehearse it and improve their unique skillsets.

Their primary focus for creating such a successful podcast is to allow Soldiers to speak about their research topics and have fun with it.

"We want our Soldiers to improve their analysis; by conversing with other analysts, I believe the Soldiers enhanced their ability to form in-depth analysis," Simone stated.

"And also answering on the spot questions forces Soldiers to know their topic completely and maintain that information, not just put it on paper," he emphasized.

If you have an idea, and it's within reason and supports the commander's mission, try it. Don't fall victim to the "we've always done it this way" mentality, Molik concluded.

To listen to the Intel podcast, please see the link below.

https://soundcloud.com/spartan-oracle