We Heard, We Conferred, We Concurred

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Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete Army AL&T’s reader survey. Here’s what we learned.

By Army AL&T staff

Ever wonder about the origin of the Army phrase “hooah?” Some claim it dates back to the Civil War, and others think it started on Omaha Beach in 1944. Another group argues that it comes from the acronym HUA, which stands for heard, understood and acknowledged. We know as well as anyone just how crazy the Army is for initials (we do our best to edit them out), and  that’s how we’re going to think about the results of the 2018 Army AL&T readership survey: HUA. Heard, understood, acknowledged. But it doesn’t end there.

More than 800 people responded to the anonymous survey, significantly more than previous surveys, and the responses reflect a thoughtful, engaged and serious-minded workforce—people who are committed to Army acquisition, have a deep sense of service and really want to see their missions succeed. They also show that Army AL&T is making good on its commitment to provide readers with the information they need: Roughly half indicated that something they’ve read in the magazine has helped them do their job better. That’s a statistic that makes us deeply proud. We helped with updated or improved business practices, helped our colleagues understand a specific aspect of acquisition, enabled folks to make changes based on lessons someone else learned, and offered updates on best practices, new technologies or key priorities of the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

The survey also showed us that when it comes to which format our readers like—hard copy, e-magazine, app or blog—there’s a range of preferences. We know that readers like to share articles and would share them more often if there were fewer hoops to jump through. We’re working on providing everyone with the best online experience possible and will update readers as changes are made. (In the meantime, if you need to change or add a subscription, go to https://asc.army.mil/web/subscribe/.) Unfortunately, we cannot do anything to change the security settings of the networks that many have to deal with to access the magazine.

With respect to content, we received all kinds of great ideas on what readers would like to see in upcoming issues, which are graphically represented in the word cloud. The full list is too long to include here, so we’ve posted it on milSuite with two goals: learning more—and more frequently—about what you’d like to see in these pages, and identifying experts who’d be interested in providing their perspectives in a future issue.

This can’t be stated often or strongly enough: Anyone in the Army Acquisition Workforce can write for Army AL&T. We urge everyone to do so. You don’t have to be a writer.

If you see a topic in the list that you’re interested in and knowledgeable about, write something up or run it by us. If you have an idea for a series, call us and tell us about it. Readers told us they’d love to see more how-to articles, checklists, short tutorials and case histories. And, if you do decide to write something up, don’t pull punches or just give us the rose-colored-glasses version: Readers want to know more about projects that went off the rails and how they got back on track. Contributing to Army AL&T lets you broadcast the work of your organization to a pretty diverse network of print and digital subscribers, and might put you in contact with someone whose perspective or experience could further enhance your work. Oh, yeah, and it can earn you continuous learning points. We do our best to make the submission and editorial process as easy as possible, and you can find our writer’s guidelines by going to https://asc.army.mil/web/publications/army-alt-submissions/.

Since the last survey, in 2016, we’ve made a lot of changes. We’ve been working on making articles more compelling and easier to read by all stakeholders, and getting rid of as many initialisms and acronyms that those in DOD adore but sensible people abhor. With the results from 2018, we’ll be making more changes: shorter, quick-hit pieces; roundups of developments at program executive offices (PEOs); and more on the roles of contractors and Army civilians. We’re also looking at ways to make it easier for PEOs and other organizations to tell us what they’re up to so we can share that information with our readers. We see the survey as the beginning of a conversation that we’d like to keep going, and to that end, we’ll be expanding our presence on milSuite to provide a forum for communicating with our readers and our contributors.

We’re grateful to those of you who took the time to respond to our survey and made solid suggestions for areas of improvement. We’re energized by your enthusiasm and your ideas, and we look forward to working with you to figure out the best way to implement them.

 


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