Live From the Front

Is there anything the blogosphere likes reading about more than, well, the blogosphere? Probably, but let’s pretend for a moment that reading blog posts about blogs and blogging is more than just narcissistic navel-gazing, and actually a, you know, legitimate and respectable hobby. That will, ideally, allow you to enjoy a recent Naval War College paper entitled “Live From the Front: Operational Ramifications of Military Web Logs in Combat Zones”.

Published in May, just after the military went bonkers and started cracking down on milbloggers and their blogs as OPSEC threats, the 25-page paper (107KB PDF) takes a surprisingly level-headed view of the blogosphere; after looking at the various issues – OPSEC risks, military regulations, the First Amendment, and the positive effects of milblogs – it finishes up with some recommendations and conclusions that suggest the author, Lieutenant Commander Paul R. Keyes, actually gets the whole blogging thing:

“[Commanders] should not discount the positive influence milblogs can have on highlighting military successes not reported by the media. Military leaders must allow a permissive military web log environment, framed with sound operational security guidance and training, if they are to leverage the benefits that military web logs can provide to the operational commander.

Excessively restricting or banning milblogs based solely on OPSEC concerns prevents the positive exposure that milblogs bring to the military and its operations. Commanders should enable personnel to write milblogs that allow the American public and mainstream media to hear first-hand accounts and see positive aspects of operations that would otherwise go unreported.”

On the regulations, he has to say:

“Instructions such as the Army’s latest OPSEC directive give milbloggers the impression that every entry must be cleared with the chain-of-command prior to posting on the Internet. This is impractical, given the number of milblogs and the frequency of updates of those milblogs paired with the number of OPSEC officers available to screen them. If this policy was literally enforced, it would cause a backlog in milblog entries that would render their unique qualities worthless – namely, unfiltered information from the front lines provided instantaneously.

The confusion that accompanied the release of the instruction and the subsequent requirement for a fact sheet explaining what the Army meant to say could have been avoided.”

Definitely worth reading in its entirety, if you paid any attention to the original brouhaha earlier this year.

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on October 18th, 2007| Comments Off on Live From the Front

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