Joint Chiefs Chairman to Host Facebook Town Hall

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2013 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is looking forward to interacting with a range of people during a town hall meeting on Facebook this week.

Questions already are coming in to Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s Facebook page, with more than 150 questions and comments so far over a wide range of topics.

People can submit questions in the comments section on the chairman’s Facebook page or vote for questions they want answered during the session, which starts Dec. 5 at 1:45 p.m. EST. The chairman will answer the questions from his Pentagon office.

Dempsey sees the town hall as a way to see what people are thinking across a range of audiences and to be able to interact with them on a personal level, said Air Force Col. Ed Thomas, the chairman’s spokesman. “The chairman believes in the value of social media,” he added. “He sees it as a way to reach out and get two-way interactions on issues, and a way to connect with the larger force and the public.”

The Facebook town hall continues the chairman’s outreach efforts. Every time he travels, he makes it a point to speak with service members, and he often holds news conferences in the Pentagon briefing room.

The most popular question so far asks if the chairman is taking song requests. He has been known to sing at some of his public events. On a more serious note, questioners from inside and outside the military are asking about the budget battles here, leader development, civilian-military relations and the future of the force.

People from Australia to Europe have asked questions about U.S. relations with China and North Korea, the military rebalance to Asia, the situation in Syria, and what happens in Afghanistan after 2014.

As of 4:30 p.m. EST today, the chairman had 35,843 followers on his Facebook page. If this event proves successful, Thomas said, Dempsey will host more.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneAFPS)

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