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While all the military services are concerned about operational security and compromising the mission, each branch has its own rules for servicemembers who want to sound off in the blogosphere.

ArmyAn April 2007 operational security policy mandated that soldier blogs get "eyes on" by a blogger’s immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer before publication. The policy also covered (but was not limited to) "letters, resumes, articles for publication, electronic mail, Web site postings, discussion in Internet information forums, discussion in Internet message boards or other forms of dissemination or documentation." The free-speech firestorm was fast and furious, and the Army released a fact sheet in May 2007 saying the policy’s depiction of camouflage-clad censors was wrong, that there is "no way every blog post/update a soldier makes on his or her blog needs to be monitored or approved by an immediate supervisor and operations security officer," but that soldiers should receive "guidance and awareness" training before blogging. Pundits worried about the chilling effect the regulation would have on bloggers-to-be, but the Army has said the new guidelines have not affected blogging.

Air ForceThe service recently banned all blogs from Air Force computers, except for those deemed "reputable media outlets."

The Air Force doesn’t prohibit personnel from blogs or social network sites on personal computers, but airmen bloggers are cautioned to be wary of posting information that is classified or might violate OPSEC. The service also warns that airmen’s blogs can be used as evidence against them if they write about committing illegal acts or acts under investigation.

Navy and Marine CorpsAccording to Wired magazine, compared to the other military branches "The Navy Hearts Blogs."

The Department of Navy regulation (SECNAVINST 5720.47B) mostly focuses on Navy-generated information but says this about personal blogs:

"There is also no prohibition on blogs operated by individual members as private citizens. The DON recognizes the value of this communication channel in posting current information and supporting the morale of personnel, their family and friends. As long as personnel adhere to specific restrictions on content, the DON encourages the use of blogs and recognizes this free flow of information contributes to legitimate transparency of the DON to the American public whom we serve."

The "specific regulations" are left to commands to decide, with emphasis on observing OPSEC, and rules regarding proprietary information, Privacy Act, HIPAA and copyrights/trademark infringement.

A Department of Defense policy update (August 2006) notes that blogs are increasingly used by military personnel but tells commanders to ensure that blogs, other than ones sanctioned by the DOD, are not "created or maintained" during working hours. Blogs also can’t contain information "not available to the general public" including daily military activities, unit morale, equipment status and other information "beneficial to adversaries."


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