Military Monitoring Blogs For OPSEC Violations

Posted on October 16, 2006

Defense Tech has a post about an Army News Story that says a team of Virginia National Guard troops are monitoring blogs and websites for the slightest OPSEC violation. The Army News article says the team is equipped with several scanning tools.
The team uses several scanning tools to monitor sites for OPSEC violations. The tools search for such key words as "for official use only" or "top secret," and records the number of times they are used on a site. Analysts review the results to determine which, if any, need further investigation.

For the 10 Virginia Guardsmen, the mission often becomes personal.

"I have friends over in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan," said Sgt. Yaphet Benton, a network technician in civilian life. "Once I started this mission, I saw a lot of things that can endanger a lot of Soldiers. I see a lot of bios, pictures, names and birthdates. I consider that critical. Terrorists (and persons trying to steal your identity) can use that information."

Based in Arlington, Va., AWRAC was created in 2002 to monitor official Web sites. Its mission was expanded in August 2005 by order of the Army Chief of Staff to include unofficial sites written by servicemembers.
Defense Tech also points to this DoD warning that includes a section specifically about blogs.
*BLOGS,* OR WEB LOGS, POSTED TO PUBLIC WEBSITES ARE INCREASINGLY USED BY MILITARY PERSONNEL AS PERSONAL JOURNALS. COMMANDERS SHALL ENSURE SUBORDINATES ARE AWARE THAT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH DOD DIRECTIVE 5230.9, *CLEARANCE OF DOD INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC RELEASE,* AND THE JOINT ETHICS REGULATION (DOD 5500.7-R), PERSONAL BLOGS (I.E., THOSE NOT HAVING DOD SPONSORSHIP AND PURPOSE) MAY NOT BE CREATED/MAINTAINED DURING NORMAL DUTY HOURS AND MAY NOT CONTAIN INFORMATION ON MILITARY ACTIVITIES THAT IS NOT AVAILABLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. SUCH INFORMATION INCLUDES COMMENTS ON DAILY MILITARY ACTIVITIES AND OPERATIONS, UNIT MORALE, RESULTS OF OPERATIONS, STATUS OF EQUIPMENT, AND OTHER INFORMATION THAT MAY BE BENEFICIAL TO ADVERSARIES.
Meanwhile, an article in Raw Story has a copy of an email from CENTCOM to bloggers that is trying to drive more traffic to the the centcom.mil website.
Solar Well I would like to invite you to check out our web site, www.centcom.mil. It's one more resource for information and you're free to use any of it (video, audio, photos and articles) in conversations on your blog.
It appears that the military is trying to spin the situation in Iraq by clamping down on what soldiers can blog about and by trying to get bloggers to blog about stuff on centcom.mil. Unfortunately, there are many signs that the Iraq War is not going well such as Saudi Arabia reportedly building a giant 550 mile long wall along the Iraq border because they think Iraq is a failed state. The good news is that you can use the content on the centcom.mil website. The photograph on this post is from centcom.mil and it shows the opening of a solar well and water tower in Afghanistan, which is a very cool idea.