Jeffrey LewisFour Star Blogger

During his talk at the IFPA-Fletcher New Triad Conference, General James “Hoss” Cartwright mentioned his blog.

How did I miss this?

Back in March, “Timmer” at The Daily Brief noted that General Cartwright had been “talking up his Command and Control Blog (you couldn’t get to it even if I did link to it)” and posted some guidance
that Cartwright issued about not letting the chain of command get in the way of the information he needs. (Another blogger, with the handle Sgt. Mom, noted that a blogging 4-Star isn’t that odd.)

Any way, the story bumped around the blogosphere (for example) before petering out.

The Huntsville Times reported on General Cartwright’s blog in August after he mentioned it at the Annual Space and Missile Defense Conference.

Cartwright’s comments—as reported by Timmer and the Hunstville Times— suggest that he “gets” the potential for blogging.

“The first thing that came out was ‘Don’t post anything on that blog without clearance from the commander,’ ” Cartwright said. “We had to beat that down.”

The next firewall thrown up to Cartwright’s blog were responses that came from only senior staff officers like captains and majors “giving me only what their commanders wanted me to hear,” he said. “I called that the ‘tethered goat’ response and it wasn’t all that helpful.

“What I wanted was information and context to help with decision making. I can’t wait for the perfect advice,” Cartwright said. “If there is a bad decision then that’s on me. That’s my responsibility.”

Finally after “blowing the doors down and sitting on” the blog nay-sayers, Cartwright is getting what he wants from STRATCOM’s Web tools, he said.

Of course, one doesn’t become a flag officer (or anything else essentially political) without some skill at self-promotion, so grain of salt and all.

I know that Arms Control (and, where this is cross posted) get lots of STRATCOM traffic—so, folks, I’d love to hear about how the STRATCOM blogs are working. Drop one of us a line:

jeffrey-AT-armscontrolwonk-DOT-com or


Late Updates: STRATCOM posted a transcript of Genenral Cartwright’s remarks. Here is what he said about blogs:

But the real activity, and if you really want to understand what was going on at this conference, it was really in the blog sphere. That was where the dialogue was going and it seemed to be pretty much real time from yesterday. Each speaker was getting I don’t want to say hammered, but—

There was an active dialogue going on from both sides and there was no lack of emotion in the blogs.

Cartwright also mentioned his blog at DARPATech 2005, resulting in an excellent story by John Liang at Inside Defense.


  1. Denver Applehans (History)

    I don’t know if you had a chance to catch the beginning of Gen Cartwright’s speech, but you might find it interesting. The transcript of the speech is posted at