Saturday, May 05, 2007

No More Blogging For The Commando?

I received an interesting question from Conservative Beach Girl, whose web blog can be reached at-

“I just heard Army has said no more blogging from Iraq. Is it true or false?”

Currently, that I’m aware of, the Army has not instituted a “no-blogging policy” for us (at least here). If they have, we haven’t gotten it through distribution, yet. We do have to submit all of our future postings for screening to our local IMO (Information Management Officer) in order for him to advise us of any OPSEC (Operational Security) violations, comments aimed at specific personnel in order to undermine their authority, or any other issues with the posting that would reflect negatively on me as a soldier. We, as leaders also remain proactive in assisting the IMO if he’s not sure or he needs help screening postings and blogs in general. Now I feel this doesn’t limit me in any way because of the topics I post about but it does provide me with a challenge in order to inform the general public about things that are going on here without giving away things that my readers simply just don’t need to know. And as much as certain politicians, policies, media, and other topics tend to get under my skin, I make it a point to wait a few days in order to calm down and generate a posting that remains clear, informative, funny, and entertaining to all of my readers.

With that being said, I will admit to you that some of the people I’ve been stationed with in the past haven’t seen eye to eye with me over different issues ranging from books, cars, fishing, surfing, art, history, leadership styles, mission parameters and specifics. But that’s not a license for me to “drop the dime” over something trivial which can potentially cost lives here and at home. Remember, TERRORISTS HAVE ACCESS TO THE INTERNET TOO!!!! Besides, the same terrorists have cells and sympathizers in the states too which would allow them to target you while we’re here. Yes, this is true so don’t go fooling yourself into thinking different.

I’ve listed some of the excerpts from the MNC-I (Multi National Corps-Iraq) policy covering web sites, blogs, and blogging. Here are the two key policies that jump out and we stress on our soldiers:

MNC-I personnel who post web logs must register the URL at which the blog is posted with their unit.

Service members in violation to this policy may be subject to adverse administrative action or punishment under the UCMJ. DoD civilians and DoD contractor personnel may be subject to adverse administrative action.

In short, it means that you need to register your web site and/or blog with the IMO for approval and subsequent monitoring for any violations. The second one lets you know that if you don’t follow the first rule, you’ll be held accountable.

This is a link to the Military Information Technology web site that covers an article on this topic published in September of 2005 (the most recent one I could find). I think you should read it to gain a better insight as to the reasons why the Army pushes this policy. It’s not because of being an “Overlord” army; it’s for the safety, concern for the soldier and the CYA factor.

As much as I've enjoyed blogging in order to share a majority of the experience, I agree very much with the policy for several reasons. First, security, if the general public reads blogs for their own information, so does the media, and so do terrorist. It’s an easy venue for gathering information. Two, it teaches and instills the discipline and self-responsibility for the soldiers that have never been deployed to a combat zone before to think before they speak/write. Three, it also allows for the IMO (Information Management Officer) to not only insure that the OPSEC (Operational Security) protocols are being adhered to, and he will also “advertise” your blog as a safe blog to visit within the network of web sites that apply to your unit. For example, my blog is listed as a link on several different military, family and troop support blogs and web sites.

As I am a big supporter of freedom of speech and expression, I (and my brothers & sisters in arms) gave that up when we swore in. That in itself has taught me self control and clear focus when I speak verbally and write letters, blog postings and memos. I hope this will grant you a bit of insight form a Joe on the ground. I hope this note finds you and yours doing well.


Blogger camojack said...

Hi, Commando. I am a veteran and a Patriot Guard Rider. First time here; there was a link auto-posted to my blog calling yours the "Weblog of the week". Fine job you're doing; I'll make it a permanent link if you don't mind. Hopefully you know that many (most?) of us back home truly support you guys, as opposed to just saying we do. Hang tough, bro'.

Oh, and about the topic:
Military Bloggers Wary of New Policy
Army Says Change Will Have 'No Effect on Blogging'

4:36 PM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Coconut Commando, thank you for the info. My husband served for a long time on active duty and in Vietnam as well. As his wife and given his job, I greatly respect the "need to know" principle. I also respect the need to keep our men and women safe and to keep us safe here at home.

Yes, there are terrorist cells active here in USA and of course few of us use our names in our blogs.

I will get back and link to your survey and to this answer here. I was worried but now I understand better and I appreciate the reasons. As a military wife, I also gave up my freedom of speech when it came to being politically involved.

6:54 AM  

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