WASHINGTON, May 29, 2015 —
Defense Secretary Ash Carter today became the first secretary of defense to join Facebook, Pentagon officials announced.
In a statement released today, officials said Carter will be able to personally communicate with nearly three million service members and civilians on the social media platform.
The defense secretary’s first post was a photo of him shaking hands with a young Marine on a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey flying over the Strait of Malacca -- one of the most important waterways in the world, officials said -- as part of an around-the-world trip to visit with allies, partners and service members.
“One of Secretary Carter's highest priorities is to build the force of the future -- a military that is open and attractive to the best people, ideas, and technology,” the statement said. “Joining Facebook is just one more way as secretary of defense he can better communicate with service members and their families and help the Pentagon think ‘outside the five sided box’ to drive change.”
The statement said Carter looks forward to using Facebook to highlight the outstanding work of Defense Department personnel around the world every single day and to exchange ideas and hear directly about pressing challenges facing the department and the nation.
“While no secretary of defense is able to meet with every service member personally, Facebook will help Secretary Carter reach service members and their families in a way that hasn't been possible before,” the statement said.
Pentagon officals said a recent Military Family Lifestyle Survey by Blue Star Families found that 93 percent of responding military families use Facebook, which is higher than in the civilian population. 89 percent of responding military families use it daily. Facebook also is cited as the most frequently used method of communication for families separated by deployments.
Carter visited Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, last month to meet with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook employees who are also veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“This visit drove home for Secretary Carter the impact social media can have on connecting our troops to the American people and improving connections among the force,” the statement said.