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Archive for the ‘Buzz’ Category

In today’s Buzz Feed, there were some links to recent blog posts about terrorists using virtual worlds (think platforms like Second Life) to conduct training programs.

Check out some of the links (here, here and here) .

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Apparently, the blogosphere is buzzing about the logos of terrorist organizations.

Ironic Sans has an interesting breakdown of the various types of imagery associated with terrorist organizations and examines common themes that unite them, such as the use of stars, weapons and the state of Israel.

But if there is a must read on this topic, it is Media Circus, where David Friedman and Ellen Butters offer their impressions of terrorist logos.

My favorite part of that post?

THE JIHAD IN SWEDEN

Ellen: The Jihad in Sweden logo is another one that doesn’t really communicate terror. It reminds me of a Grateful Dead T-shirt.

David: There’s a Jihad in Sweden?

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Trophy: Part Three

I first wrote about the Trophy in October, suggesting that the weapon system was being promoted online by tech-savvy supporters and that the Army would not hear the end of the story that was dug up by NBC muckraker investigative reporter Lisa Myers.

It was back in the news in January.

And now, Danger Room is reporting that it is back in the news again.

Attention PAOs — this is a prime example of the connectivity between the blogosphere and the mainstream media in a Web 2.0 world. Lisa Myers’ story could have been a one shot deal. It should have been. The subsequent stories really didn’t add any news.

But online conversation and buzz kept the story churning over the past 8 months.

And it’s back to bite the Army in the behind again.

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Follow-up from yesterday’s conversation about the new Army regulation and its impact on military bloggers.

The Office of the Chief of Army Public affairs (OCPA) has fully jumped into the discussion about AR 530-1 and its impact by putting out this one-pager on the issue.

I think the key point is here:

ยท In no way will every blog post/update a Soldier makes on his or her blog need to be monitored or first approved by an immediate supervisor and Operations Security (OPSEC) officer. After receiving guidance and awareness training from the appointed OPSEC officer, that Soldier blogger is entrusted to practice OPSEC when posting in a public forum.

We will see how this all continues to unfold.

Update: The best summation of the past two days can be found here (after discovering this blog during the latest dust-up, An Army Lawyer is the newest addition to my blogroll).

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Noah Shachtman has done it again — drawn the interest of the blogosphere (here, here and here to name a few) and the scorn of the Pentagon.

Readers of the D-Ring know that I have been known to lavish praise on Shachtman. He is probably my favorite milblogger.

But you got it wrong, this time, Noah. You chased the story that you wanted to write, not the one that was there.

Today, I had a phone conversation with Maj. Ray Ceralde, the officer interviewed by Noah for the article.

The apocalyptic first line of the article reads as follows:

The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned.

Maj. Ceralde said that this is categorically untrue. Personal e-mails are not subject to the regulation, the policy only applies to public statements made online. With regard to blogs, the new policy does not order soldiers to stop posting; rather, it requires the Soldier to consult with his immediate supervisor and his OPSEC officer, and only if that blog is being published in a public forum (i.e., not behind a firewall or other private settings).

The goal of the policy, Ceralde said, is to strike a balance between the free expression by Soldiers and the protection of the Soldier and his or her unit. It is not, he said, meant to silence and hinder speech.

Having been inside the Pentagon, I believe him. The military brass might not understand new media, and might be a bit afraid of it, but their knee-jerk response is not to squash it. Blackfive even notes that GEN Patraeus has praised the “Muddy Boots Milbogger” solution.

To Noah’s credit, he did find a major flaw in the implementation of the new policy, namely that it wasn’t accessible on AKO by spouses and contractors. While Ceralde claimed that anyone with an AKO account should be able to see it, a D-Ring source with a spouse AKO account sent me the following screenshot of her browser when trying to access the new regulation on AKO:

ako.jpg

MAJ Ceralde, if this policy impacts spouses and contractors, it MUST be accessible to them as well.

In the words of the spouse:

Family members must have access to this policy, especially if they are overseas and command-sponsored. Spouses cannot be punished under UCMJ but if they are command-sponsored, the Army can take away that sponsorship which means the active-duty member loses housing allowance or family housing and the extra “with family” allowances often assigned to COLA.

This isn’t easy folks. Balancing OPSEC with milblogging isn’t simple stuff. But both sides should be able to prevail.

Throwing your hands in the air and yelling that the sky is falling may make for a good story, but it doesn’t help the lives military leadership and the Soldiers who follow their orders any easier.

Lets keep our eye on the ball and work on creating a balance, rather than a riot.

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Hell hath no fury

… Like a bloggers scorn.

At least Gen. Pace has learned that today.

More than a few bloggers (here, here, here, here and here just to name a few of the more prominent ones) are jumping up and down on the Chairman for his remarks that “homosexuality is immoral.” He blamed cited his Christian upbringing as the source of his statement.

I am extremely disappointed.

First, I may be wrong (I am Jewish), but I thought I remember that Jesus saying something to the effect of he who is without sin casting the first stone.

Second, since when is it the role of the CJCS to be America’s moral cheerleader? His job is to fight and win wars, not lecture us on morality. If he had a relevant comment about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and unit cohesion, that is one thing. (Personal aside, I think DADT is stupid and gays should be allowed to serve openly. And my general feeling is that most milbloggers don’t give a damn if there are gays in the military.)

I found a comment by a former Soldier posted to a Chicago Tribune blog to be especially poignant:

In the immortal words of my drill sergeant way back in 1980, “Who the —- died and left YOU God?!” I spent 8 years in the Army, 3 on active duty and 5 in the reserves, ending my career as a reserve drill instructor. I left the Army, reluctantly, in order to come out and, in the “moral” sense, to stop having to lie and lie and lie every day of my service.

I knew many gay and lesbian soldiers, enlisted, warrant and officer alike, I knew the late Sgt. Perry Watkins who achieved a landmark victory in 1991 against the Army’s gay ban, and it’s a crying shame that this kind of deliberate ignorance still prevails. Keep in mind that this Pace character is a Marine, not regular Army, and his comments lend credence to the canard that the USMC is our least intelligent service. Not too bright, Pete.

I live in NYC metro and work in high-tech and am constantly being recruited by companies based in Chicago and the Midwest. Many of the comments posted on this site regarding this issue remind me why I will not relocate my family to the Midwest for any reason. Your loss, our gain. In the meantime, as good Christians, my gay husband and I will pray for your enlightenment. As for Gen. Pace, he should be immediately relieved of his position and put to work emptying the bedpans of wounded gay veterans.

As much as I disagree with you, General, you are free to think what you want. The bottom line, however, is that you are a public figure and your comments stepped over the line.

So this is what you get. Take a look at what your fans at Perez Hilton created:

A million people saw that picture today, Mr. Chairman.

Welcome to the blogosphere.

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I think that the Center for Security Policy is a great organization. Great mission. Great objectives. Interesting research.

Bad, bad, bad pitching.

Today, I received this from Brian Hill, a research associate from the think tank.

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m underwhelmed already. My name is all over my blog. It’s not that hard to find “Steve Field” somewhere.

My name is Brian Hill and I am the director of the War of Ideas project at the Center for Security Policy. The center has a new website up at http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org and we are beginning to construct the “links” section of our site.

This is their new site? It looks like it is from 1998. Someone needs to tell the Center what a CMS is. And what is the War of Ideas project? Sounds like something I would be interested in… if I knew what it was.

We would like to link to your blog from our website if you are willing to link to the Center from yours. If you are interested, please respond to this e-mail.

Thank you very much for your time.

Regards,

Brian Hill
Center for Security Policy
xxxxx@centerforsecuritypolicy.org
(202) xxx-xxxx

Well, where to start.

  1. Has he ever read my blog? I can’t tell.
  2. Link trading? Come on. Have good content and you will get linked to. This is just cheesy
  3. Are they providing anything to the milblogging community? Or are they just begging for links?

Brian, here are some tips for next time. Get a bloggers name when you pitch him or her. Show your knowledge of the blog by maybe commenting on something they have written or said in the past. Then offer them something (maybe an opportunity to receive the latest studies published by the Center? That would get you links and advance your policy agenda.)

Dealing with bloggers cannot be selfish; it must be about helping the community. It is about giving back. The Center has plenty to offer and seems to have squandered an opportunity.

It is not a surprise that coverage of this think tank is dwarfed by these guys and these guys and these guys.

To his credit, Brian isn’t a professional communicator. He deals in the policy realm. Maybe if the Center had even one communications officer on staff…

But then again, they have more links than I do. And Brian got his link from me. So what do I know?

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