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WASHINGTON — Overregulation of military weblogs by the defense officials will not only demoralize troops but also silence many of the military’s strongest advocates, a panel of leading bloggers said Saturday.

“There’s a growing gap between people who have no contact with the military and people who have contact every day,” said Scott Koenig, better known as the blogger L.T. Smash. “And one thing we can do (to counter that) is tell our story, and tell it effectively, and tell it intelligently.”

But the blogging experts also warned that servicemembers and military families who use weblogs must be vigilant in what they post, because carelessness could easily enrage military leaders and possibly risk lives.

The comments came at the first military blogger conference, designed to highlight the online writings of servicemembers and their supporters, and to look ahead at the challenges facing the growing format.

More than 150 bloggers and blog readers attended the event, and dozens more participated in the activities through a collection of virtual conference links.

The bloggers who spoke at the conference — most of whom have been online for several years — said that operational security is usually at the heart of command concerns over troops’ Internet usage.

Sgt. 1st Class C.J. Grisham, who served in the 3rd Infantry Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, ran his online blog, A Soldier’s Perspective, for 18 months until earlier this month. He said his site received hits from all over the world, including from many Middle Eastern groups he suspects were looking for tactical information.

Koenig, who began his blog while stationed in Kuwait as a Naval Reservist, said he has seen only a few cases where problematic material has been posted online, but even a single careless post could be invaluable to those working against U.S. forces.

“We all worry about that,” he said.

Still, the bloggers who spoke Saturday believed that self-regulation by the blogging community and attentiveness among military writers is the best solution, as opposed to more military regulation.

Last week, Pentagon officials announced the Defense Science Board, a 40-member body that advises the Pentagon on technical and other matters, will study a host of online tools, including blogs, to determine the challenges they present to military readiness and morale.

In addition, in the last year each of the four services has also issued its own directive on troops’ posting pictures and stories online.

Airman John Noonan, who recently helped launch the blog, admitted that for now the site is more of a hobby than a career, and if the Air Force told him to stop his online activities he would. But he hopes the military doesn’t take that adversarial approach to the bloggers.

“These are people standing up, trying to win the war at home,” he said.

More information on the conference is available at


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