Military taps social networking skills

Young Air Force analysts are showing how the Facebook generation’s skills are being exploited—and paying dividends—in America’s wars, reports the New York Times. As a teenager, Jamie Christopher would tap instant messages to make plans with friends, and later she became a Facebook regular. Now a freckle-faced 25, a first lieutenant and an intelligence officer, she is using her social networking skills to hunt insurgents and save American lives in Afghanistan. Hunched over monitors streaming live video from a drone, Lieutenant Christopher and a team of analysts recently popped in and out of several military chat rooms, reaching out more than 7,000 miles to warn Marines about roadside bombs and to track Taliban gunfire. The Marines say the analysts, who are mostly in their early to mid-20s, paved the way for them to roll into Marja in southern Afghanistan earlier this year with minimal casualties. And as the analysts quickly pass on the latest data from drones and other spy planes, they are creating the fluid connections needed to hunt small groups of fighters and other fleeting targets, military officials say…

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