The key to GlobalSecurity.org's success is its ability to provide both quick access to developing stories as they unfold, as well as background reference material on specific technical and politico- military issues. GlobalSecurity.org is always at the head of the news cycle, providing daily press releases, satellite imagery and other highly sought news material.
The internet is not an end in itself, but rather a vastly improved means of realizing our traditional ends, namely of influencing public policy through informing and educating the public, decision-makers and other key actors in the policy process. Compared to traditional mass media work, the internet allows us to communicate unconstrained by soundbite or other editorial limits. And compared with hardcopy dissemination, it provides a faster and less expensive means of reaching audiences. And compared to both communication means it provides permanent and ready access to our information and analytical products. Over time it has become increasingly apparent that the traditional information dissemination model, in which hardcopy is used to locally replicate content archives, is being replaced by access to online information. Working from cramped offices, busy reporters and analysts simply lack the time or means to maintain elaborate hardcopy archives.
There are several important features that make this website different from other websites.
Content - In general, most other websites are conceptualized as an alternative means of delivering products that were previously available only in hardcopy. As such, these websites are typically an online archive of their own hardcopy publications. We have conceived of our website as a comprehensive knowledgebase for our own staff and our user communities, compiling and generating the full range of materials useful for our users. Consequently, much of our content consists of "other people's content" - documents and files from other sources. And we consistently provide links to the websites of other organizations, rather than regarding our website as a closed universe.
Content Management - Consistent with the conception of the web as a simple alternative to hardcopy publication, many other websites outsource their content management, much as they [sensibly] outsource their printing to a printer. In contrast, our subject matter experts are directly responsible for personally maintaining their respective components of the website, using the web as a communications tool as convenient as a telephone.
Timeliness - Website maintenance is an ongoing challenge, and unavoidably some parts of our website are in serious need of maintenance - a not uncommon problem. Because we do content management in-house, we are able to update the website every day. More to the point, we are able to update the website inside the news cycle - as a story breaks early in the day, we begin developing content useful to news organizations. As the story develops later in the day, we are able to add content in response to emerging newsgathering requirements. We are thus able to generate substantial synergy between our mass media and online visibility.
These unique attributes contribute to the singular potential of our online presence.
In general, these online knowledge base materials include:
Guides and Directories of programs, agencies, contractors and facilities which provide a comprehensive introduction to and overview of all of the major institutional and technological components of our areas of interest, including nuclear weapons and delivery systems of all countries, missile proliferation, anti-missile programs, general purpose conventional military forces, military and civil space programs, and the intelligence community. These guides provide comprehensive profiles of weapon systems, agencies, industry and facilities, and clarify the relationship among these various elements. These resources are comparable in scope to the landmark Nuclear Weapons Databook series, though they range over a broader series of topics, and provide more current and extensive information than would be possible in hardcopy.
Primary Documentation, including news briefing transcripts, excerpts of Congressional floor debates, hearings, legislation and reports, as well as relevant reports produced by entities such as the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Research Service, and the Office of Technology Assessment. We also include a broad range of executive branch materials, with a particular emphasis on those policy documents which guide executive branch action, ranging from rules and regulations to budget documents, treaties and other international agreements. While much of this material is online elsewhere, it is far too often only available in inconvenient formats which are too frequently not readily accessible. We bring this material together in a compact and readily accessible archive.
News archives include the daily compilations of news reports, official statements and other related materials which are available both by subscription to various daily email news services [which cover special weapons proliferation, general military issues, and intelligence related issues] as well as through the website.
Analysis complements these various derivative product with our own original interpretation of current events and trends along with our policy prescriptions and suggestions. Online dissemination of our original analytical products provides more timely and extensive dissemination than was previously possible in hardcopy. Materials that were previously produced in editions of dozens or hundreds which quickly went out of print or became obsolete may be routinely accessed by thousands of users over months or years, and are regularly updated as the need arises.