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Q & A Invitation

You canAsk The Chairman.Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wants to hear from you.

The nation's top military officer wants to hear what's on your mind - via YouTube.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, anavid Twitter user who has taken the lead among senior leaders in promoting communication via social networking - he's also onFacebook - has issued an invitation to service members, family members or "anyone who cares about folks in the military" to video-record a question on any topic and submit it by midnight, Eastern Standard Time, Aug. 31.

Mullen, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs is the top military adviser to President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, willpost his answers on YouTube.

"This is your chance to get the straight scoop, straight from the top," promises Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class William Selbyon a promotional video.

The widely traveled Mullen makes a point of talking to troops and family members at every stop. This latest effort allows him to reach out in a different way, said his spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby.

"The chairman really wants to have a conversation with the troops akin to the way he does at all-hands calls at bases all over the world," Kirby said. "He wanted that conversation to be as interactive as possible and reflective of what is on their minds."

The effort coincides with the launch of http://www.defense.gov/, a new Pentagon Web site loaded with links to social networking sites and aimed at encouraging viewers to "connect with us."

But service members interested in posing a question to Mullen will have to do their recording on their own time. Access to YouTube and 11 other popular social networking sites from military computers has been banned since May 2007 because of what officials said was a drain on bandwidth in the .mil domain. A Pentagon review of that policy was launched in late July.

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