Weblogging Soldiers

Weblogging US soldiers -- and their surprising freedom (for now) to do so -- as covered by the Wall Street Journal via Yahoo (3/25/03):

It's not hard to run this kind of Web site from the front. The armed services don't have centralized rules governing troops' Internet use, beyond restricting such obvious things as pornography and disclosure of military operational details. Each branch of the military has its own set of general guidelines, but typically delegates decisions about e-mail and Internet access to commanders in the field. There, soldiers can use the military's nonofficial network, the Nonsecure Internet Protocol Network, or Nippernet. Enlisted troops often have access to makeshift Internet cafes in the larger camps.

Maj. C.J. Wallington, team leader for the Army's secure intranet system, Army Knowledge Online, says because of the volume, the Army "can't spend a lot of time" checking soldiers' e-mail. "We put a lot of faith in soldiers to do the right thing," and apply the same discretion to their Internet communications that they'd use in personal conversations, he says.

The Army is considering incorporating blogging into its secure network where troops communicate with each other and their families. If such a system were put into place, the general public would no longer have access to such blogs.