Mr. Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, participated in the DoD Bloggers Roundtable (listen here) on 1 March, 2010, to discuss the recently signed policy regarding the use of internet based capabilities, including social media, on Department of Defense networks. The policy (known as Directive-Type Memorandum 09-026 [DTM]) calls for open access for all DoD branches to be able to use social media Websites, such as Facebook, YouTube, and blogs (many of which are currently blocked).
Purpose. This memorandum establishes DoD policy and assigns responsibilities for responsible and effective use of Internet-based capabilities, including social networking services (SNS). This policy recognizes that Internet-based capabilities are integral to operations across the Department of Defense. This DTM is effective immediately; it will be converted to a new DoD issuance within 180 days.
As stated above, Airmen and troops will not be able to suddenly access YouTube–it will take up to 180 days for the DTM to be fully implemented. In this time, representatives from the various service branches will work with DoD to finalize the issues and protocols that might occur from opening the Websites. Additionally, this time will allow for troop education that will help ensure operational security and general common sense rules are followed when engaging in online conversation.
Mr. Floyd reiterated that the default status of the networks is going to be OPEN, but access will be balanced to address security concerns. Commanders have the discretion to temporarily block access to social media Websites if necessary to open bandwidth, but they will not be able to close them permanently.
Addressing the importance of social media’s role in the DoD, Mr. Floyd stated that he “wants more, not less” blogging from troops on the front line. He expressed his optimism that this DTM is going to allow for more voices to be heard, while giving easier access to the necessary sites to help troops tell their stories.
To further drive home the importance of social media, Mr. Price implored “DoD commanders to “manage up” and impact what is already being said about them or their units online.” He stated that commanders should search for their own names and units and read what already exists, and in turn drive the conversation and set the record straight.
Let us know what you think of the new policy.
Photo: Master Sgt. Linda Adams, 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron consolidated tool kit NCOIC, updates her blog, which allows her to update and keep in touch with her students while deployed Nov. 24, 2009. In addition to being an Air Force reservist, Sergeant Adams is a teacher at Kate Shepard Elementary in Mobile, Ala. She is deployed from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
(U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Jason W. Edwards)