'Fake' Internet would prepare soldiers for real-world social media

The U.S. Army wants to build a customizable, on-the-fly Web portal that mimics the Internet in order to conduct scenario-based social media training.

Conceived as almost a fake Internet, the password-protected U.S. Army North Exercise Media Web Portal would support training events ranging from 20 users at a single site to national, multivenue events for 1,200 users, with up to 1,000 of them on the site simultaneously, according to a request for information submitted by Army Contracting Command New Jersey on behalf of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).

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According to the request, the training site “shall replicate the look and functionality of popular mass media and social media networking websites including television, radio and print news sites; major unit/organization pages similar to fan or group pages on Facebook; microblogging capability similar to Twitter; video sharing capability similar to YouTube; and Web log capability similar to Blogger.”

The portal also needs to support up to 200 videos per exercise, with each video being up to 200 megabytes in size and quickly uploadable by trainers (U.S. Army North Exercise Controllers) nationwide – i.e. the largest videos must upload within 20 minutes.

The contractor needs to be able to customize Web pages before and during exercises as needed by trainers, keep pages current with real-world sites to incorporate new functionalities for sharing information, and provide technical support staff.

USNORTHCOM coordinates Defense Department homeland defense efforts and defense support of civil authorities.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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