The latest list includes America's enemies and focuses more on policy, budget and strategic issues, and less on personnel and veterans issues.
Each year, the editors and reporters for Defense News (a Gannett publication) compile a new list of the 100 most influential people in U.S. defense. The list actually has more than 100 people since some of the slots represent broad groups like "The Lobbyists" (15 people) or "Wall Street" (17) or "The Oracles" (25). By my count, the total list includes 179 people.
More on how the list is calculated:
Candidates were tagged according to their spheres of influence — policy, money, intelligence, Afghanistan, special operations, Congress, homeland security, military service, industry, opinion shaping, cyber, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and veterans issues — and relative values were assigned to each. For those with multiple spheres of influence, their primary spheres were weighted over lesser areas to create a composite score. Bonus points were awarded in some instances for individuals whose access to the president or other key leaders deserved special consideration.
The list is not a popularity contest, but rather a reflection of those who influence U.S. defense. Not surprisingly, included are America's enemies (both foreign and domestic), including China (#1 on the list), Iran (#7), Russia (#27), Edward Snowden (#28) and North Korea (#58).
There's even an unnamed person at #81 - the U.S. Air Force "Bomber Czar." The Pentagon will not disclose the name of the Air Force general in charge of a classified acquisition program charged with developing a new long-range bomber.
Given the growing importance and adoption of social media by the military and the defense industry, it's not surprising to see a growing number Twitter accounts that belong to people on the Top 100 list.
The article below from Defense Media Network outlines the growing use of social media by the U.S. Army. The chain of command has begun to embrace social media because of its immediacy, the unvarnished feedback it provides, and the ability to distribute an unfiltered message.
The growing use of social media is not limited to the military. In "15 Reasons Why More Aerospace & Defense CEOs are 'Liking' Social Media" (featuring the Twitter cufflinks of Raytheon Chairman and CEO Bill Swanson - #38 on The List), the case is made that "a growing number of aerospace and defense CEOs are embracing social media because it makes business sense."
The Top 100 List did not include links to Twitter profiles, so I created a list. You can access the list here or via the adjacent graphic.
The Twitter list is a compilation of people who are on the Top 100, or the Twitter profile of their office/position when the profile mentioned their name specifically. In the widget below, you can see the most recent tweets of the people on the list. If a Twitter handle should be added to the list, please email me or post a comment below and I'll update the list. Similarly, if you're on The Top 100 List and I have mistakenly listed your parody Twitter account, please let me know. Heh.