United States Army Needs a World Class Enterprise Blogging System, Not a Blog Ban

by Teresa Valdez Klein on May 2, 2007

The United States Army has instituted regulations requiring that a commanding officer approve all posts to personal blogs.

The concern is that non-classified information might leak out to enemy intelligence through seemingly harmless blog posts. And commanding officers who don’t want to take unnecessary career risks or spend additional time vetting blog posts may simply ban the practice outright.

In a statement to Wired, retired paratrooper Matthew Burden of The Blog of War anthology said, “This is the final nail in the coffin for combat blogging. No more military bloggers writing about their experiences in the combat zone. This is the best PR the military has — it’s most honest voice out of the war zone. And it’s being silenced.”

If ever there was an organization in need of a world-class enterprise blogging platform, the United States Army — the whole military, for that matter — is it. Rather than putting the burden of supervision directly on overworked, stressed out and ill-prepared commanding officers, why not have a group back home that screens blog posts as they come in?

The vast majority of information that is posted on military blogs is utterly harmless, and silencing the voices of soldiers abroad and at home is ill-advised. It seems that the military is throwing the baby out with the bathwater when all they need is a good platform.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joseph Thornley 05.02.07 at 5:27 pm

You can argue with teh position. But the U.S. military is not the first to take this stance. Canada adopted a similar blogging policy last year. You can read about it and find links to the policy at http://www.propr.ca/index.php/2006/canadian-forces-publishes-blogging-policy-clear-it-first/.

2 Peter Brockmann 05.03.07 at 4:40 pm

Come on – stop the whining. The US Armed Forces are here to protect democracy, not to use it! The risk that the government fears is very real, but it is 2 sided.
1. Allowing the enemy to read the publicly available thoughts of soldiers can give the enemy insights into troop strengths, perspectives, practices and the like – regardless how innocuous it might seem to you and me. We’re not the enemy.
2. Allowing the public to read the publicly available thoughts of soldiers can give the public a less than appropriate view of what’s going on. Think Abu Gharaib.
Putting the load onto Commanding Officers is both logical and appropriate given the hierarchical structure of Command and Control in the military.

It’s about maintaining discipline. After all, these are life and death jobs.

Social networking is about each of us contributing. The military is about doing what you’re told.

– P

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