Google Drive came out in 2011, but I wasn't aware of it until I started grad school in 2015. The benefits of Google Drive are that you can share all your information with anyone who has a Google account. Military share drives (whether they be on a unit's internal network or on AKO) tend to limit knowledge sharing. You are limited on AKO share drives because you have to be on a computer, you have to log in to AKO, and then you have to find where the file is stored. We know most Soldiers rarely get on AKO so storing information there for common use is adding a barrier. Unit share drives offer more value in sharing information, however you can get locked out documents if someone else is on them and you can only access them from computers that can get on the network.
Google Drive removes these barriers. It is accessible from any device that has a Gmail account. In Google Drive you can work on PowerPoints, Excel, and Word Documents. More than one person can be working on the document in real time. If you want to control who has access to read or write a document, the author can limit who is granted which privileges. These benefits create an environment where information can be easily shared.
Now imagine this: when a new Soldier arrives to your unit they are given access to your company Google Drive. They open up the Google Drive from their cell phone. On it they can find the Unit Training calendar, files of TMs/ATTPs/ATRPs/ FMs that are relevant to them, OPORDs for upcoming training, or even up to data platoon weapons/pt stats. This access to knowledge empowers the Soldier to do so much more than if they were left in the dark.
You can also see the value of Google Drives for a battalion staff. Every week you have to get a FRAGO out. Instead of emailing the one poor soul who has to compile all of those entries together at the last minute, every staff member is enabled to enter their own FRAGO entries. In fact, multiple staff members could work on it at the same time without locking up a document or saving over others work. Imagine how less painful staff work could be if you could collectively work on something?
I would not recommend putting FOUO, PII or OPSEC (check out your unit's Critical information list) info on the google drive. While there is no history of hacking the Google Drive yet, limiting where this sort of information goes on there will help prevent future breaches.
For more information visit the Google drive website
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