Thursday, December 27, 2007

Army Blogosphere Access

Recently I discovered a Bloggers source material site set up by DoD

The Bloggers' Roundtable provides source material for stories in the blogosphere concerning the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Global War on Terrorism by bloggers and online journalists. Where available, this includes transcripts, biographies, related fact sheets and video.

Interesting that Blogger resources are offered at DoD but meanwhile the Army has reinforced its approach to restricting and curbing Blogging as noted in its regulations (cited below) and in its restrictions to internet browsing and access to many mainstream blogging sites used by milbloggers.

Army Regulation 530--1: Operations Security (OPSEC) (.pdf) restricts more than just blogs, however. Previous editions of the rules asked Army personnel to "consult with their immediate supervisor" before posting a document "that might contain sensitive and/or critical information in a public forum." The new version, in contrast, requires "an OPSEC review prior to publishing" anything -- from "web log (blog) postings" to comments on internet message boards, from resumes to letters home.

Now it appears for the last several months that the Army has further restricted and blocked access to Blog sites for Military and civilian personnel. While many might argue the current Army intent, I would offer that many Blog sites offer a open and diverse perspective that would be useful for the Army to view for a wide scope of application – Public affairs, Soldier input to support, Family issues, R&D activities.

Curiously Army personnel can still access Al Jazeera news sites but cannot read many of the blogs in the Army’s stand-to magazine, including this one, if they sitting at an army hosted machine. The restrictions actually do not allow my supervisor to review my blog (yes I follow the AR requirements) from his work address and attempts to address with IM community are fruitless.

It is a reflection of knee jerk techno scared senior leadership mandates that restricts access and exploitation of the good Army message using the Blogosphere. We should see the advantage offered by using the tools that are available to tell our story – after all the other side is offering an increasingly uncontested point of view.

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