ARLINGTON, Va. – The Army wants you to stop posting your potentially sensitive videos on the very public and less-than-secure YouTube website and instead aim for its new in-house version: MilTube.
In the latest military attempt to grab the Web 2.0 technology tiger by the tail, the Army is offering MilTube as a safer, Defense Department-approved alternative for the exclusive – and properly logged-in – military community.
“The new website meets the Department of Defense's need for a dynamic way to share videos – including training, ceremonies and news clips – across installations worldwide,” said a release from MilTech, a sub-office of an Army command in charge of communications, control and intelligence equipment.
Last week, a MilTech official said the bulk of its first few hundred clips were indeed commanders’ messages and training videos. Reached on Monday, a spokesman was unavailable for immediate comment.
“Because all activity takes place behind the firewall, the video and audio are protected from unauthorized viewing and distribution,” the group said, which makes MilTube a “military-safe” version of YouTube. Users must have an AKO password to log in.
This is the latest military program for MilSuite, a package of social networking websites that mimics real-life counterparts -- there’s a MilBook to mirror Facebook, for example.
The Pentagon and military services have struggled for years to determine what measure of usage to allow young servicemembers on sites like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, which require high bandwidth. Top defense leaders have acknowledged that they must try to better connect with the age group they command in the ways they most actively communicate -- through online social networking.
The rise of YouTube came alongside nearly a decade of warfare, and the Pentagon remains worried that troops will post sensitive information, intentional or not, about deployed positions and movements, as well controversial, often unedited content showing Americans at war in real time. Homemade video clips of combat on YouTube, known as “war porn," have garnered cult followings. A search for that term on YouTube returned 5,471 clips, including helicopter attacks on suspected insurgents, set to hard rock and metal music. Everything from suspected terrorist propaganda messages to U.S. military recruiting videos can be found.
So far there are 88,500 military users signed up for MilSuite. There are 2 billion videos watched every day on YouTube.
Troops also can watch a short promotional clip for MilTube.