Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that the Army began encouraging its personnel — from the privates to the generals — to go online and collaboratively rewrite seven of the field manuals that give instructions on all aspects of Army life, using the same software behind Wikipedia. The goal, say the officers behind the effort, is to tap more experience and advice from battle-tested soldiers rather than relying on the specialists within the Army's array of colleges and research centers, who have traditionally written the manuals. 'For a couple hundred years, the Army has been writing doctrine in a particular way, and for a couple months, we have been doing it online in this wiki,' said Col. Charles J. Burnett, the director of the Army's Battle Command Knowledge System. 'The only ones who could write doctrine were the select few. Now, imagine the challenge in accepting that anybody can go on the wiki and make a change — that is a big challenge, culturally.' Under the three-month pilot program, the current version of each guide can be edited by anyone around the world who has been issued an ID card that allows access to the Army Internet system. Reaction so far from the rank and file has been tepid, but the brass is optimistic; even in an open-source world, soldiers still know how to take an order."
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