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Press Releases
June 02, 2010
Army Brings Discussion Groups Behind the Firewall

Through a new professional networking tool, the Army’s technology community can now share ideas in discussion groups set behind its firewalled network.

Known as milBook, it’s opening up safer avenues of communications among personnel.

"The milSuite application allows the professional ‘DOD’ community to share information amongst themselves that is only intended for the internal community," said Justin Filler, deputy director of the MilTech Solutions Office, an Army organization.

MilBook is part of a suite of tools known as milSuite that also includes a blog and wiki.

Previously, the department lacked a medium for employees to share official and sometimes sensitive information.

"These technologies help those working on similar projects across ‘DoD’ to connect, share information, incubate new ideas, and help build the ‘DoD's’ body of knowledge and expertise, while generating organizational learning," said Todd Miller, an Army contractor.

MilBook provides several options for users who wish to share information with specific individuals. By creating discussion threads, they can exchange ideas among specific, self-created groups on topics such as Army policies. The information can either be restricted to that user or shared with the entire milBook community, Filler said. Regardless, it will always remain behind the firewall.

"People across the DoD can find professional working groups on various programs and efforts and join within seconds," Miller said. "MilBook not only connects people, it

connects those people to military topics so that ideas and information are shared across the Armed Services."

Presently, many of these discussions are held in e-mails, chats, wikis and blogs. However, milBook is the only tool in the department which can group these together.

"Milbook fills that void that the ‘DOD-at-large’ doesn’t have," Filler said.

MilBook is also an effective tool for locating Soldiers who might have switched headquarters due to reassignment or for personnel who wish to obtain the knowledge of a subject matter expert.

Since its inception more than a year ago, the Army’s wiki or milWiki has surpassed more than 40,000 users, 10,000 pages, and 4,900 individual articles and is on target as a pilot effort to become a centralized point for updating Army field manual doctrine.

In June, the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC), at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., launched a test that allowed Soldiers and leaders to make real-time updates to the Army’s tactics, techniques and procedures (ATTP) via milWiki.

"The purpose of the portal is to incorporate insights and lessons-learned from Soldiers and officers, based upon recent experiences in theater; but the goal is to ensure tactics, techniques and procedures remain relevant," said Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, during his final remarks at the LandWarNet Conference held in August in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "A Soldier redeployed from Afghanistan, for example, could access the ATTP for site exploitation operations, make changes and add new material based on firsthand experiences in the country."

With the CAC effort, wikis could virtually turn the three-to-five-year process for staffing and updating field manuals into real time, where knowledge can be shared as soon as it is entered, according to CAC officials. By using these wikis, any individual with access to the manual can immediately update each of its sections.

Seven field manuals were updated during the inception. Eventually, as many as 250 manuals will be available for comment, according to CAC officials.

The third portion of milSuite, known as milBlog, allows users to share news, photos, ideas and insight in real-time, with the capability to comment on one another’s feedback.

MilSuite is assigned to the MilTech Solutions Office, a government organization of the Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) working in partnership with Product Manager, Acquisition Business.

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January 27, 2010
Symbolic’s Innovative Employees Generate Buzz with Innovative Solutions for the DoD

Word of milBook, a professional Department of Defense (DoD) networking site launched by the government’s MilTech Solutions office, is generating buzz both inside and outside the DoD community, thanks to direct efforts by a core team of Symbolic Systems Inc. employees who support MilTech Solutions.

When milBook was released it generated 5,000 users within the month without any marketing. Recently the MilTech Solutions Office conducted a media blitz where press releases were provided to major media outlets, explained Harris Siegel, Symbolic’s director of Information Management supporting MilTech Solutions.

Within minutes of the press release’s circulation, a journalist from AdWeek published a milBook screen capture to his 9,888 followers via the social chat site Twitter.  Shortly thereafter, it was viewed 90 times on Twitter, and re-published four times on the site. By close of business that day, the story appeared on dozens of sites including MSNBC, Yahoo news; Los Angeles Times; Federal Computer Weekly; Defense Systems; and a technology site in the Dominican Republic that translated information about milBook into Spanish for its followers.


MilBook is a professional DoD networking site inspired by the public social networking site Facebook™. Due to its implementation of a secure digital barrier referred to as a "firewall," milBook allows its users to discuss, collaborate, and share sensitive information within a secure centralized location. With the popularity of Web 2.0 applications in the public domain, soldiers and Military personnel could potentially be sharing via unsecure methods such as e-mails, instant messaging, wikis, and blogs.

"People across the DoD can find professional working groups on various programs and efforts, and join within seconds," said Todd Miller, Symbolic's contractor project lead on MilTech's Information Division and Web 2.0 team. "MilBook not only connects people, it connects those people to military topics so that ideas and information are shared across the Armed Services."

MilBook is part of a larger secure networking application known as milSuite – an application that also features a secure news forum known as milBlog, and a secure military Wikipedia™-like site known as milWiki. MilWiki was recently featured in multiple New York Times articles and was featured as a government innovation on White House.gov for its role in an effort to "wikitize" Army field manuals. As a result, in 2009 it received the top Army award for knowledge management – a Category III: Technology Dimension Army Knowledge Management Award, from Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army’s Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6.

Senior leaders such as Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army have commented on milWiki's value stating, "A Soldier redeployed from Afghanistan, for example, could access [milWiki] for site exploitation operations, make changes and add new material based on firsthand experiences in the country."

To date milSuite has over 57,000 registered users across the DoD. MilSuite and the broadcast initiatives were developed through the efforts of Symbolic's team members that partly comprise MilTech’s Information Division and Web2.0 Divisions. In addition to Siegel and Miller, the team is supported by Jason Bock, a Web 2.0 Architect; Richard Johnston, Community Manager; Josh Davidson, Information Management Division deputy; Tracey Schreiner, Information Technology trainer; journalists Amy Walker, Sandy Sanders, and intern Emily Gee.
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November 28, 2000
Providing Information Technology Services for the Army

Symbolic Systems, Inc. is part of the team that received the Government Technology Leadership Award on Tuesday, November 28th, 2000 in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications Systems (PEO C3S) Acquisition Knowledge Center team based at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, was selected as one of the Ninth Annual Government Technology Leadership Award winners.

More than 60 nominations were submitted for the prestigious honor. The Government Technology Leadership Awards salute large and small-scale projects that have, through “pioneer” uses of technology, directly improved the missions of their government agencies/organizations through increased efficiency and effectiveness, while lowering costs and improving service. The awards ceremony was held at the Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The monthly business magazine, Government Executive, which serves which serves senior federal government executives and managers, sponsors the award and features an article on all winners in the December 2000 issue.

The Knowledge Center is a web-based centralized source of data sharing, collaboration tools, project management applications, and business process automation. The Knowledge Center provides the PEO with a highly effective and efficient means of managing and sharing those tasks among its worldwide community of over 6,000 users.

Symbolic Systems, Inc. of New Providence, New Jersey has been involved with the PEO’s Knowledge Center since its inception in the Spring of 1998. As a joint effort with the Army, Symbolic was involved in the vision, business plan, design and development, project management, and the rollout of the application. As a member of the Knowledge Center development and support team, Symbolic provides project management and help desk support.

Symbolic Systems, Inc. provides a full spectrum of Information Technology services. Being in business for 34 years, Symbolic Systems, Inc. plans, develops, implements, supports, and maintains a wide range of software systems – from legacy to web-based. For additional information on Symbolic Systems, Inc. please visit www.symbolic.com.

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Did You Know?
  • 071910_symbolic_timeline_thumbs_0014_1991_01.jpg1991 - Linux operating systemThe Linux operating system is created by Linus Torvalds and distributed via Usenet newsgroups. Enthusiasts quickly begin developing and improving Linux, adding support for peripherals and improving its stability. Linux would become one of several open source Unix-like operating systems.

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