Information Warfare: General Disagreement On Military Blogs

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May 21,2008: There's a bit of disagreement among senior U.S. Army commanders over how to deal with the Internet. In the last ten years, the web has gone from a curiosity, to a potential security leak, to a potential weapon against terrorism. The current thinking is that the army would be helped, and security not much threatened at all, if current restrictions on troops creating blogs, battlefield video and lots of net-based noise, be lifted. It's pointed out that troops who want to sound off on the web, manage to do so despite the restrictions. Commanders have better things to do than hunt down unauthorized blogging in the ranks. The troops make battlefield videos and post them, anonymously if need be. Some generals are now suggesting that this behavior be encouraged, that the army get in front of this movement, rather than looking bad because the troops are easily defying orders to stay away from discussing or displaying their army activities on the web.

The basic problem is that all military organizations are about control and discipline. These characteristics are necessary to survive and win in combat. But at the same time, the most successful units encourage a lot of initiative from the troops. That's what blogging and much web activity is, and the pro-web generals want the rest of the high command to get with it and drop the restrictions on troops blogging and posting videos and other material. In a war where the Internet has become one of the battlegrounds, some American generals are, in effect, being accused of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

 


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