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STUTTGART, Germany – U.S. Army Europe has opened its nonsecure networks to social media Web sites, allowing its staff to access sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on government computer.

The Department of Defense lifted its ban on social media in late February, but the change has been slow to reach overseas commands. The Marines lifted their ban about two weeks ago but still haven’t opened their networks in Europe. Airmen assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe also are still waiting.

The process to ensure network security and prevent bandwidth abuse is what caused the holdup for soldiers in Europe, said officials with 5th Signal Command, the unit in charge of USAREUR networks. Securing the network is still a critical priority, they said.

“We have basic network protection in place and will continue to monitor the network for malicious activity associated with [social media sites],” Lt. Col. Kurt A. Schosek, the director of Europe-Theater Network Operations and Security Center, 5th Signal Command, said in a release.

The command is also limiting the bandwidth available to social media sites and plans to continue upgrading security measures, according to the press release.

“These and other measures are in place to ensure [it] will not adversely affect mission critical operations,” Schosek said. “This guarantees that our network will still be active and available for all warfighters.”

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