Military public affairs is a surprisingly hard job. The past ten years is littered awkward attempts to connect with the public, flops, and even outright disasters. Social media hasn’t exactly helped either. Threatening to bomb millennials with B-52s must have seemed so far fetched for public affairs instructors, that they probably decided to leave it out of the text books, only to have an official DoD Twitter account threaten to do just that.
But despite the difficulties, the Army (mostly the Army) and a few other branches, now have reliable social media personalities that are connecting with the public, and actually doing the job of public affairs in a new, revealing, and exciting way.
Here are the top service members to follow on Twitter:
1. @PatDonahoeArmy—All soldiers are leaders and the good ones stay informed with the broader world events that could determine their future. Brig. Gen. Donahoe is one of the real OGs on twitter giving soldiers a hint on how a top military leader thinks. And if leaders learn from example, you can’t go wrong by following his.
2. @EBKania--The U.S. Army has certified her as a “Mad scientist”, and the Navy Reserve gave her a commission. Harvard, not to be left out, will soon give her a PhD. This Navy Ensign studies artificial intelligence at a think tank and keeps a watchful gaze on China’s attempts to modernize its military.
3. @drunkenpredator—This “drunken alcoholic vehicle” has good a reason to drink: it was relegated to Davis Monthan for retirement two years ago. It tweets good insights from its days of endless ISR missions; which included the occasional launch of a missile or two, sometimes three when it missed, which happened more often than you’d expect. It prefers the word drone “over the alphabet soup of UAV, RPA, or UAS”, and penned a must read essay on this instrument of war.
4. @LadyLovesTaft—It is said that PAOs are a bland and inconspicuous bunch. They are so afraid to sound awkward, that many of their attempts to connect with the public become gaffes themselves. But this cannot be said of “Lady”, an Army PAO whose irreverent jabs on military life, make her the PAO to follow. We should also warn, that you shouldn’t ‘Google’ anything Lady tweets, as countless high ranking Army officers have done to their regret.
5. @sgtjanedoe--There are too many military officers on twitter. As a response, LethalityJane is the dose of enlisted medicine that balances their pontifications. The unofficial Senior Enlisted Adviser to the unofficial Joint Chiefs of Staff is a true voice for the enlisted corps.
6. @CombatCavScout--If there was a war on unbound jingoism, CombatCavScout would undoubtedly be the commander on the front lines directing fire towards those with a warped view on the meaning of patriotism. He offers refreshing views that reaffirm our military officers are sensible people, and are not hell bent on war-fighting. Unless they must.
7. @CrispinBurke--This Army Major is a favorite target of Nigerian scammers who impersonate him on Facebook and try to swindle money from women abroad. But aside from being impersonated by crafty Nigerians, Maj. Burke juggles two jobs. In one job he shows off his literary range to write for a satirical tabloid and a serious newspaper, and the other he’s an active duty Army aviator. His tweets (rants) have a nebulous range, from terrorism, cyber security, internet scammers, to boiler plate foreign policy and national security takes.
8. @XOofXOs—Many people are complaining that the military is disconnected with the public. They are calling it the “civil-military divide”. Bridging the “civil-military divide” one tweet at a time is this unusually opinionated Army reserve officer and federal agent, who has a tweet on everything; from history, culture, and whiskey—which we suspect makes up half of his blood content.
9. @evo_kositz--This officer has a grudge on a well-known thought leader who believed that society is heading towards calamity because of their differences. Nothing wrong with being an optimist. Expect a revealing digital diary of a young military leader advising soldiers, with no filter.