Saturday, April 23, 2005

Brave new world: Email in the Guard 
Somehow, the National Guard got along fine without email for years. Now, as a unit commander, I frequently get 20 emails a day from the Guard during my civilian work day.

Of those, maybe five are actually useful. Believe me, if it has an attachment, and it's not an operations order, or something from a soldier, it frequently doesn't get read. I have no intention of getting sacked from my full-time job because I'm running a headquarters full time from my office for free.

Now, my full-time soldiers can get a hundred emails a day, or more. Sometimes they can easily spend all day just responding to emails and not doing anything else. And if they go on leave, it can take days and days just to catch up on all the email - much of which is useless to them, anyway. My full time soldiers are beginning to tell me they actuall dread the little bell their email programs give them when they recieve new messages.

Now, sometimes so much email goes out that it fills up the 50MB allowances of some of my key subordinate leaders. So when it surges, when you DO need to send something to subordinate leaders, you too often get a message saying the recipient's message box is full.

AKO needs to begin automatically deleting the junk box, and then the older messages to make room for new ones.

Email is a valuable tool. I can get important information, such as an operations order for a hurricane operation, very quickly. It saves time, when used properly.

But the way it's used now, I believe that email has too often become an operational distraction. Turns out I'm not the only one.

Splash, out


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