By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2009 – Defense officials at the Pentagon have redesigned the Defense Department Web site to use social networking tools to engage the American public — particularly 18- to 24-year-olds. “We need to embrace these technologies. We need to use them because that’s what the young people use these days. We need to communicate with them,” said Price Floyd, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. People between the ages of 18 and 24 are much more likely to communicate using Twitter and Facebook than they are traditional communication tools, Floyd told the American Forces Press Service, the Pentagon Channel and DoDLive Blog Talk Radio. “If we just stick to the traditional ways of communicating, we leave out a huge portion of society,” he said. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recognizes both the need for engagement with the American people and the value of these new tools, Floyd noted. “The secretary wanted to figure out ways to engage more with the public, and one of the ways you can do that is through your Web site,” he said. So defense public affairs officials redesigned the Defense Department’s home page, launching Defense.gov on Aug. 17. The department’s former home page DefenseLINK.mil focused on providing news and information, Floyd said. The new site, Defense.gov, will emphasize personal, two-way communication.