Friday, May 04, 2007

milblogger update

Ed Morrisey over at Captain's Quarter's has some clarification of the new OPSEC reg.

A question asked of Tony Snow:
Q: A follow-up, a second question would be, the Pentagon has required all military bloggers to seek approval for their blogging and their -- I think also their e-mail. Some bloggers and military and conservative commentators have said the government is shutting down --

MR. SNOW: Well, that's -- from what we -- from what we understand, that is being overreported a little bit in the following sense.

First, I'm not sure that that is operational, that request. No. 2, to the extent that they have asked -- and I would refer you to the Pentagon for full comment on this, but my understanding is that they're concerned about matters of operational security -- certainly people giving their opinions about what's going on -- as long as they do not disclose information that is going to jeopardize operations ongoing or in the future or in some way give away information that will make it easier for the enemy to kill Americans or Iraqis, and that's normal in a time of war. There is always censorship in a time of war mainly to protect the people who are doing the fighting, similarly with e-mails, but there is no wholesale shutdown.

Again, I'm just giving you what I know, and I would encourage you to talk to the Pentagon for further detail. But my understanding is there's no wholesale shutting down of blogs or of e-mail. But on the other hand, there is sensitivity to the fact that you have to be careful when you're doing these things not jeopardize yourself, your colleagues, the operations, the Iraqis and the overall mission.

And the Army clarifies also:
• In no way will every blog post/update a Soldier makes on his or her blog need to be monitored or first approved by an immediate supervisor and Operations Security (OPSEC) officer. After receiving guidance and awareness training from the appointed OPSEC officer, that Soldier blogger is entrusted to practice OPSEC when posting in a public forum.

• Army Regulation 350-1, “Operations Security,” was updated April 17, 2007 – but the wording and policies on blogging remain the same from the July 2005 guidance first put out by the U.S. Army in Iraq for battlefield blogging. Since not every post/update in a public forum can be monitored, this regulation places trust in the Soldier, Civilian Employee, Family Member and contractor that they will use proper judgment to ensure OPSEC.
o Much of the information contained in the 2007 version of AR 530-1 already was included in the 2005 version of AR 530-1. For example, Soldiers have been required since 2005 to report to their immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer about their wishes to publish military-related content in public forums.
o Army Regulation 530-1 simply lays out measures to help ensure operations security issues are not published in public forums (i.e., blogs) by Army personnel.

• Soldiers do not have to seek permission from a supervisor to send personal E-mails. Personal E-mails are considered private communication. However, AR 530-1 does mention if someone later posts an E-mail in a public forum containing information sensitive to OPSEC considerations, an issue may then arise.

So the Army didn't make such a bad call after all. Ed asks if it was Wired who got it wrong... the hype got the milblogosphere all spun up that's for sure.

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