05 March 2009

Recommendation #2: Revise Policy and Update Regulations

Yes, the previous several days have all been part of Recommendation #1. Now, on to #2 ...

Before developing training plans for organizations to use in developing their Soldiers to be effective bloggers, the Army must develop well thought out policies that articulate the intent for Soldier engagement of new media, outline all requirements for Soldiers to understand, and describe the risks of such engagement and measures to reduce these risks. LTG Caldwell has published a blogging policy for the US Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) which provides a great starting point for any organization’s policy on this subject. The policy instructs all members of the CAC to fully attribute the posting to themselves (to include name, position and organization). Concerning content, the policy stipulates that all blog entries must be 100% accurate, based only on personal experience or observation and clearly documented if not, not contain any sensitive, classified, or derogatory information, not discuss tactics, techniques, and procedures that have not already been released, and will not contain political bias or violate any legal regulations.

In addition to organizational policies, the Army’s public affairs doctrine (AR 360-1) must be revised to better describe the role of individual Soldiers in communicating the Army’s story. As part of this revision, guidance and expectations for use of new media by both individuals and organizations must be detailed. The current version of the regulation contains a very vague paragraph about the use of the internet for publishing information: this must be dramatically expanded. The ideas set forth in this paper form the framework for these revisions. AR 530-1, Operations Security, also needs revision to clarify the requirements for Soldiers who decide to blog. These requirements must be clearly articulated, unlike the current version which required the publishing of a fact sheet to clarify the policy.

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