For the time being, the Air Force has blocked access to TroopTube, the military-funded video-sharing Web site for servicemembers and their families.

To keep its networks safe and efficient, the Air Force restricts access to categories of sites that "are generally not mission-related and put adverse performance demands on our networks," said Maj. David Small, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon.

The ban on the Web site went into effect in mid-March. According to Wired Magazine’s Danger Room, which first reported the story two weeks ago, two Army bases — Fort Monmouth, N.J., and Fort Gordon, Ga. — also have blocked the site.

"As a result of this general policy, access to TroopTube is blocked at Air Force bases," Small said in a written statement.

But, he added, the current restriction on TroopTube is under review, due to a recent request to access the site for mission needs.

"This evaluation will assess the site’s security posture and impact to the AF mission and network performance," Small wrote.

TroopTube was launched in November through the Defense Department’s Military OneSource Web site "to help military families connect and keep in touch while miles apart," reads the Web site.

The site was introduced 18 months after the Defense Department banned access on its networks to YouTube, MySpace and 10 other social networking sites.

Anyone with an Internet connection can view videos on TroopTube, but registration is required to upload material to the site. A Pentagon employee screens each video for taste, copyright violations and national security issues, The Associated Press reported at the time of TroopTube’s launch.

Featured videos on TroopTube include a "shout out to troops" from U.S. Central Command commander Army Gen. David Petraeus, a posting that’s generated more than 32,000 views since it was uploaded late last year on the site.

Small said some Air Force bases might still have access to TroopTube through "different configurations and local commander approval." Also, airmen using non-Air Force networks, such as those at the Pentagon, might also have access to Troop Tube.

Airmen can still reach TroopTube at various base locations that provide Internet access, he said, such as some Airman and Family Readiness centers, libraries and other Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities.

And, he pointed out, they can access TroopTube from their home computers.

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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