Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Monday, October 23, 2006

Milblogs II

Signal, Sygnet and Sigil - Milblogs II

I sent the link regarding the Milblogs discussion on Blackfive to an old friend of mine who is an Intel officer, and he asked me to post his response. He wishes to remain anonymous and I have paraphrased his comments.

His response is below:

"Having been both an Intel Office and a Combat Officer I know that the issue of milblogs is a complex one. On the one hand they are an excellent propaganda tool and a method of distributing information to the public, which often has the information it does receive through the media heavily filtered or altered for effect. Yes, milblogs are an important source of real information on the war to millions of Americans. I would not want to shut one down unless absolutely necessary. However, there is one factor you gentlemen have not touched on. That factor is manpower: reviewing of milblogs is a Battalion and Brigade S2 function, and you all know that Battalion and Brigade S2s just don't have enough people assigned to do all the other Intel tasks. Telling us to review all Soldier blogs before they're posted in order to ensure OPSEC is giving tactical S2s a time consuming and realistically impossible task. Some S2s just say no, some don't bother to check, and most of us just do the best with what we've got, which ain't nearly enough. I enjoyed reading the other posts on this issue on Blackfive by the way and thought most of the comments informative and well thought out. Thanks."

Personally, I think that a lot of these problems could be solved as an IT matter simply by developing an application which filters content searching for OPSEC data and either places that data on hold for later inspection (thereby saving officers the need to read posted blogs - they could simply scan content extractions which showed as questionable. Then if the data contains nothing harmful it could allow the full posting to show later (after approval) or it could simply extract or excise harmful data contained in the original post. This seems to me far more easily solved as a technological problem than a political or military one, or even a legal one.

Besides since Milblogs are technological conduits it seems only appropriate that such problems could be rectified not by placing blame upon the soldier or increasing officer workload but simply by having the military tech officers devise an appropriate and effective filtering system and software. You would of course face hacker and security threats at the filtering point but milblogs and other military information systems already face such threats. That's life.



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