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The Army Backs Down on Blogging

This just hit my inbox from a Capitol Hill friend:

Fact Sheet

Army Operations Security:  Soldier Blogging Unchanged
Summary:

o       America’s Army respects every Soldier’s First Amendment rights

while also adhering to Operations Security (OPSEC) considerations to

ensure their safety on the battlefield.

o       Soldiers and Army family members agree that safety of our

Soldiers are of utmost importance.

o       Soldiers, Civilians, contractors and Family Members all play an

integral role in maintaining Operations Security, just as in previous

wars.
Details:

*       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.
*       Soldiers may also have a blog without needing to consult with

their immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer if the following conditions

are met:

1.      The blog’s topic is not military-related (i.e., Sgt. Doe

publishes a blog about his favorite basketball team).

2.      The Soldier doesn’t represent or act on behalf of the Army in

any way.

3.      The Soldier doesn’t use government equipment when on his or her

personal blog.
*       Army Family Members are not mandated by commanders to practice

OPSEC.  Commanders cannot order military Family Members to adhere to

OPSEC.  AR 530-1 simply says Family Members need to be aware of OPSEC to

help safeguard potentially critical and sensitive information.  This

helps to ensure Soldiers’ safety, technologies and present and future

operations will not be compromised.
*       Just as in 2005 and 2006, a Soldier should inform his or her

OPSEC officer and immediate supervisor when establishing a blog for two

primary reasons:

1.      To provide the command situational awareness.

2.      To allow the OPSEC officer an opportunity to explain to the

Soldier matters to be aware of when posting military-related content in

a public, global forum.
*       A Soldier who already has a military-related blog that has not

yet consulted with his or her immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer

should do so.
*       Commands have the authority to enact local regulations in

addition to what AR 530-1 stipulates on this topic.

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