A blogger evaluates the Coast Guard

Peter Stinson of Portsmouth, Va., is a civilian Coast Guard employee and Coast Guard reservist. He is the publisher of CGBlog.org, an unofficial blog on which he and others share news and opinions about the Coast Guard. He spoke recently with Washington Technology reporter Alice Lipowicz.

Q: Why do you blog?

Stinson: We do opinion and news, but it is not journalism. It is more of a free flow. I love the Coast Guard. I believe in transparency, and part of what I am trying to do is to use the blog in order to make things better. When [the] commandant, [Adm.] Thad Allen, talks about transparency, I believe him. But there is another group not in sync with him. Our culture is not one of transparency. There are some captains and commanders who want to hold things close to the chest. Adm. Allen is trying to change the culture, and it is tough.

Q: How popular is the blog?

Stinson: We were getting about 300 to 500 hits a day, but since March 4 [after a link to a Deepwater story appeared], we have been getting about 350 to 1,000 visitors a day.

Q: What is your opinion of the recent command, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance allegations on Deepwater?

Stinson: Where there is smoke, there is fire. There is something wrong. What the senior leaders have told us has changed at times.

Q: How well is the Coast Guard handling the blogosphere?

Stinson: I give them a B for effort and a C for implementation. They recently started their own blog - the Coast Guard Journal - and added [Really Simple Syndication] feeds.

Q: Rear Adm. Gary Blore recently said dealing with blogs is frustrating. What do you think?

Stinson: The Coast Guard does not have a strategy and tactics for dealing with bloggers. That is why it is difficult. The Defense Department does not have this issue.

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