Wednesday, May 2, 2007

This week in Washington is the annual "milblogger" conference. By coincidence, the Army has recently published a 79 page regulation directed at Army milbloggers stating mandatory registration of all blogs by Army personnel and personal email scrutiny.
Blogs have become a powerful tool for the ranks and continue to attract a lot of attention from leadership both in Washington and in the field. The concern is that authors are not educated about or aware of operational security, and are giving away valuable information via their entries.
Is it just me, or do I have more at stake to ensure I don't give out operational details more than anyone else? I know the vast majority of milbloggers are acutely aware of this paradox and potential risk, and we carefully scrub any information that could lead to information gathering.
One of the first thing on my plate upon arriving in-theatre was to notify my command that I was going to operate a blog while deployed. After some initial questioning and general flak, I was given the nod and was warned to protect confidentiality, privacy, and above all OPSEC. I also happen to know that Central Command has reviewed my blog along with our public affairs officer. I can't say I felt "embraced" by leadership, but at least they felt comfortable enough to allow me to lend my voice. If one phrase described their attitude, it would be "vague tolerance".
My fear: there may be a general crackdown on milblogging without any real evidence to support operational risk management. My opinion: without us, you will never get the stories from the "trenches" so to speak. These are the stories the media either never hears about, or refuses to publish.
Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to voice one's opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment. Please do your part and support all of the milbloggers out there who play by the rules, and breath life into the daily struggle.

"Once milblogs are outlawed, only outlaws will have milblogs-you can quote me on that" Greyhawk, publisher of the Mudville Gazette

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/05/the_army_has_is.html
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/05/white_house_wei.html
http://time-blog.com/swampland/2007/05/let_slip_the_blogs_of_war.html
http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/05/new_opsec_regul.html
http://www.defensetech.org/archives/003467.html

7 comments:

karin in tx said...

Well said!

Sarah said...

Carl- Who can we tell how important blogs like yours are to people? I see so much good news, hope and courage flowing out of these blogs. My positive feelings and understanding of our military presence have been heavily influenced by the individual voices coming from overseas... feelings which would never be inspired by the polished newscaster reading car bomb death tolls from a teleprompter.

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/03/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Desert Flier said...

I have been scouring the net' over the past few days looking for any support sites. Haven't found any yet, but will keep looking. Let me know if you find one before I do....

Matti said...

I'm living proof that milblogs have the power to persuade the American people's perception of the war. The milblogs gave me hope, courage, and resolve. We need them. Desperately. Remove them, and our only alternative is the MSM. The MSM always left me feeling discouraged and defeated. The MSM is poison. Milblogs are the antidote. If the army takes them away, they've sunk us deeper and more effectively than all the defeatocrats combined.

Cindy G. said...

The Gov. needs to have more confidence in the men and women they recruited to fight this war!!
What's the Gov. trying to say....that you can be trusted with a gun and lives of other solders, but not a blog...they need to get back to trying to end this war and quit making you and others sacrafice more than you already have.
Your blog gives us a direct insight to what's going on over there, keeping all of us more involved.

alexa kim said...

No worries Desert Flier, I, we, are speaking out against unnecessary censoring, stifling, or disincentivizing of Our Troops. My only concern is that the Wired article actually published the regs, which are face paged as not authorized for general release (it was leaked, it appears) which bothers me. But, I have made it clear to my Congresscreeps that I will not just quietly tolerate the squelching of My Soldiers' milblogs, for without you, you without us, America would be in big, big trouble.