Pentagon will permit troops access to social media

Veterans Day Parade – NYC – 1975

Long skittish about forums such as Facebook and Twitter, the U.S. Department of Defense says that it is now OK with social networking services and other interactive Web 2.0 applications. A memorandum released Friday makes it official policy that the agency’s nonclassified network will be configured to provide access to Internet-based capabilities across all Defense components, including the various combat branches.

That’s not to say that the Pentagon is embracing all of the free-wheeling nature of blogs, tweets, and online video. Soldiers, sailors, and airmen will still be expected to refrain from activities that could compromise military actions or undercut readiness.

“Commanders at all levels and heads of DoD components will continue to defend against malicious activity on military information networks, deny access to prohibited content sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, hate-crime related activities), and take immediate and commensurate actions, as required, to safeguard missions (e.g., temporarily limiting access to the Internet to preserve operations security or to address bandwidth constraints),” the Defense Department said in a news release.

The Pentagon says it recognizes that social networks, among other Web capabilities, are useful tools for interaction both within the Defense Department and between the agency and the general public. It is also satisfied with the balance it has struck between network security and use of Internet-based tools…

The military has been using social-networking tools for some time, but policies have not always been consistent across the branches, and officials over time have wavered on how much they were willing to let individuals engage with the likes of blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and the like.

As long as it means I can continue to ignore them. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc., that is.

The Pentagon is always “interesting”.

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