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Tuesday, August 30, 2005
  The paradox of service
One of the harder things to come to grips about military service was that you were in fact military property. For example if you were to be incapacitated because of sunburn (i.e. unable to report to formation) you could be prosecuted under the UCMJ (uniform code of military justice) for destruction of military property. That was a bitter pill to swallow, however it goes with the job.

When you take the oath to uphold and defend the constitution, as part of joining the service, you also ironically abrogate your rights under the constitution. So a key part of defending the country is waiving the rights you are protecting in others. Like I said; a bitter pill to swallow.

Cell phones were just becoming available to the common man when I was in the service. We had Reservists using their phones to stay in touch with their loved ones while they were at sea (arguably sailing along the coast of SoCal). The CO immediately saw the potential issues of uncontrolled communications and placed a ban on independent communications from the ship. This of course did not sit well with the crew, but what are you going to do.

Now with the internet being readily available to the common man and soldier/sailor/airman/marine what are the ramifications for Operational Security?

I personally love reading the milbloggers (armorgeddon, blackfive, Armorgedeon, etc) You get a whole different view of the war; rather than the self-serving defeatist crap from the MSM.

However how do you balance the ease and ready access of truly mass media publishing (internet) against the real requirements of keeping a military operation under wraps?

That is an excellent question, especially in light of modern publishing technology
World Peace Herald: "WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army is warning soldiers that posting photos on their Web logs may inadvertently reveal 'vulnerabilities and tactics,' and 'needlessly place lives at risk.'

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker circulated a memo to all Army personnel last week saying that 'we must do a better job' at operational security -- 'OPSEC' in military parlance.

'Some soldiers continue to post sensitive information' on the Internet and especially on their Web logs or online diaries, wrote Schoomaker, giving as examples 'photos depicting weapon system vulnerabilities and tactics, techniques and procedures.

'Such OPSEC violations needlessly place lives at risk and degrade the effectiveness of our operations,' he wrote.

Schoomaker promised that amendments to Army regulations would be promulgated within a month, and that officers would have access to new training materials on the issue by Sept. 2.

In the meantime, he ordered Army staff at the Pentagon to 'tracks and report, on a quarterly basis, (such) OPSEC violations.'

'Get the word out and focus on this issue now,' Gen. Schoomaker concluded. 'I expect to see immediate improvement.' "
 
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