BUT, looks like it's no longer in the commander's hands... the Army is coming down on all bloggers.
Here are some highlights from the article. The full article can be found here:
Army Squeezes Soldier Blogs, Maybe to Death By: Noah Shachtman
The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say.
Military officials have been wrestling for years with how to handle troops who publish blogs. Officers have weighed the need for wartime discretion against the opportunities for the public to personally connect with some of the most effective advocates for the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the troops themselves. The secret-keepers have generally won the argument, and the once-permissive atmosphere has slowly grown more tightly regulated. Soldier-bloggers have dropped offline as a result.
Army Regulation 530--1: Operations Security (OPSEC) restricts more than just blogs, however. Previous editions of the rules asked Army personnel to "consult with their immediate supervisor" before posting a document "that might contain sensitive and/or critical information in a public forum." The new version, in contrast, requires "an OPSEC review prior to publishing" anything -- from "web log (blog) postings" to comments on internet message boards, from resumes to letters home.
Failure to do so, the document adds, could result in a court-martial, or "administrative, disciplinary, contractual, or criminal action."
But with the regulations drawn so tightly, "many commanders will feel like they have no choice but to forbid their soldiers from blogging -- or even using e-mail," said Jeff Nuding, who won the bronze star for his service in Iraq. "If I'm a commander, and think that any slip-up gets me screwed, I'm making it easy: No blogs," added Nuding, writer of the "pro-victory" Dadmanly site. "I think this means the end of my blogging."
Active-duty troops aren't the only ones affected by the new guidelines. Civilians working for the military, Army contractors -- even soldiers' families -- are all subject to the directive as well.
The U.S. military -- all militaries -- have long been concerned about their personnel inadvertently letting sensitive information out. Troops' mail was read and censored throughout World War II; back home, government posters warned citizens "careless talk kills."
Military blogs, or milblogs, as they're known in service-member circles, only make the potential for mischief worse. On a website, anyone, including foreign intelligence agents, can stop by and look for information.
Passing on classified data -- real secrets -- is already a serious military crime. The new regulations (and their author) take an unusually expansive view of what kind of unclassified information a foe might find useful. In an article published by the official Army News Service, Maj. Ceralde "described how the Pentagon parking lot had more parked cars than usual on the evening of Jan. 16, 1991, and how pizza parlors noticed a significant increase of pizza to the Pentagon.... These observations are indicators, unclassified information available to all ... that Operation Desert Storm was about to begin."
Honestly, I find this to be a huge blow - not only to soldiers in the field - but to the public back home.
Lets face it - the media fails miserably when it comes to accurately document what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the government is doing a poor job educating the public what our goals/successes/failures are. And the benefit of having an actual soldier on the ground, report what he/she is seeing, cannot be underestimated.
And we're crushing that voice? At what point do you become so obsessed about security, that you needlessly hurt morale, and war support back home?
I'm going back to Iraq in Nov '07 - looks like no more "UH60's Update From Iraq"