DoD Using New Site, YouTube to Hear From Public

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen are taking to interactive, virtual town hall sessions to connect more closely with the military and public, according to report from the American Forces Press Service.

The new, improved site features an "Ask the Secretary" section.

Questions will be accepted for two weeks and participants in the “town hall” will have another two weeks to vote on the questions submitted, AFPS said. The secretary will answer the five to 10 questions that top the list.

Mullen has launched an "Ask the Chairman" avenue on YouTube, at

The virtual town hall is open to everyone.

“The chairman really wants to have a conversation with the troops akin to the way he does all-hands calls at bases all over the world," Navy Capt. John Kirby, Mullen's public affairs officer, told AFPS. "He wanted that conversation to be as interactive as possible and reflective of what is on their minds."

Aug. 31 is the deadline to submit video questions. Mullen will respond in a podcast.

"We do live in a democracy, and that feedback from people is important to know what they're thinking, what they believe is important," Price Floyd, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, told AFPS. "It's their national security policy, it's not ours. It's theirs. The president was elected, and he appointed people here at the Defense Department to lead, but it starts with the American people."

AFPS reported that the White House is planning a similar way for President Obama to take questions directly from U.S. troops.