Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to hold virtual town hall

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen took to Twitter to publicize a new online initiative called "Ask the Chairman" designed to solicit questions from the public on a wide range of military issues, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to project's YouTube site, Mullen will select questions submitted on the video site before August 31 then respond to them in a "podcast" at a later date.

Mullen tweeted:
Trying something new called Ask the Chairman and looking 4 YOUR video questions on YouTube @ http://tinyurl.com/kw59xy

"Got a question about the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, military families, warrior care, the new GI Bill, or anything else about the U.S. military? Just click video response and upload your question," asks the page. "This is your chance to get the straight scoop from the man at the top of the U.S. military...record your question and send it in today."

At the urging of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the Pentagon this year has expanded its presence in online social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Mullen and Price Floyd, a top Pentagon public relations official, are both on Twitter. The Defense Department also launched its redesigned website on Monday.

While the Pentagon is using the web to engage with more Americans and reach a younger audience, some concerns have arisen that the efforts could pose security issues.

The U.S. Strategic Command issued a "warning order" in July that suggested the military should ban social networking sites due to security concerns. A day later, the Marine Corps enacted a unilateral social media ban in response to the report.

In the wake of these actions, Mullen reassured his Twitter followers that he would continue to use the service.

Here is the "Ask the Chairman" video:



Cross-posted to the Twitter Room