May 2, 2007

Enough to make ya nervous 

I don't belong to the Army (and I thank God every day for it), but these kinds of regs have a tendency to escape to the whole DoD. What I'm talking about is the Army's decision to effectively kill all soldiers' blogs. Like I said, right now - as far as I can tell - this still doesn't effect me. But I can see the storm clouds on the horizon.

This is simply the worst thing that the Army could do. The excuse/reason they site is Operational Security. The more likely reason is that the brass don't want to hear the soldiers' gripes from the trenches. While the enemy is harnessing the power of the internet to spread his message, we're pulling the plug. Apparently nobody told the Generals that this ain't their daddy's war. You can't censor every piece of info in the digital age. Oh you can try, but it ain't gonna work.

Matty O'Blackfive:
Operational Security is of paramount importance. But we are losing the Information War on all fronts. Fanatic-like adherence to OPSEC will do us little good if we lose the few honest voices that tell the truth about The Long War.
Hugh Hewitt:
I find this decision to be so amazingly ill-informed about how the milblogs have served the war effort and the cause of the military as to raise real doubts about the military's ability to ever get ahead of the enemy in the information war. Really, if such a blunder can happen without anyone even asking about the ill effects on the effort to keep information flowing from people in the know to combat the ceaseless propaganda from the enemy, then the brass involved cannot possibly understand how the information war is playing out.
And your's truly, from August 2005:
Anyway you slice it though, OPSEC is a big deal. Loose lips still do sink ships, and people who say the wrong thing at the wrong time can give away important information that would be best kept out of enemy hands. Like I said, I know what I can and can’t say, and I know WHEN I can and can’t say it. I think most Milbloggers do. Good on the Army for making sure, but nobody likes to write with someone staring over their shoulder. I think we may see the ranks of active-duty Milbloggers (at least the Army ones) thin out due to Soldiers not wanting to be regulated, instead of the Army actually regulating them.
And sadly that's what's going to happen. The Army has told soldiers that they must pass all items that will be posted in a public forum through their chain of command for approval. Hell, I'd be willing to bet that over 75% of military commands don't know if their troops have blogs or not. Mine doesn't know about this one. How many military folks have MySpace pages these days? How many send out mass emails to friends, family, their church groups, whatever, back home telling them how things are going on deployment? Once all that stuff starts coming in, do you think those commands will want to deal with it? They'll probably just tell everyone to pull the plug, thus solving the problem of having to actually check anything for OPSEC violations while simultaneously covering the letter of the law: "We checked them all, and they were all bad. And by 'checked' I mean 'were told it existed and then ordered it shutdown."

Hell, the enemy is only too happy to take the fight into the media. If the front-line bloggers go down, all we'll have left is the Big Media and the bad guys to tell us how the fight's going... and they'll be using the same talking points.

Smooth move, Army. Hooah.

UPDATE: Expect this to get covered a lot at Milblogging and the Mudville Gazette.

UPDATE 2: This should make the Milblog Conference infinitely more intense than before.

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