Pentagon: Get real on social media
The Pentagon has a growing problem — the phenomenon called social networking.
Service members from the youngest private to the Joint Chiefs chairman are on Twitter, Facebook or both. Both of these popular online services present threats — to security if they’re used to spread viruses; to operational capabilities if they consume too much bandwidth.
As a result, the Pentagon is looking into a unified plan for service members’ access to social networks on military computers.
For now, the Army, Navy and Air Force allow access, subject to the local commander’s discretion. A temporary ban in the Middle East all but created a communications blackout for many young sailors for whom the medium is an instantaneous link up with friends and family back home.
the Marine Corps, meanwhile, has placed a servicewide ban on using social networking on its official computers.
The Defense Department must weigh this medium’s very real value against the associated security concerns. As Navy Secretary Ray Mabus — who began “tweeting” Aug. 1 — said when asked about the value of social media to service members: “Two-thirds of the Corps are under 25. I know there’s one way to skin this cat in a way that’s secure.”
That’s the right attitude. Senior leaders must bear in mind how much social media play into morale, especially for service members away from their families for long periods.
Forward-leaning leaders such as Mabus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen already recognize the value of social networking. Network security is vital, but blindly shutting down access is the wrong approach. Leaders need to find a balance that serves the needs of both the mission and the service members.
Source: Marine Corps Times