August 4th, 2009
02:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Pentagon reviewing policy on social networking after Marine ban

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Pentagon is reviewing its policy concerning the access by military personnel to social networking Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The review follows a Marine Corps ban on accessing such sites on its computers, due to security concerns. The ban announced Monday only applies to Marine Corps networks and computers, allowing Marines to access the sites on their own computers or at Internet cafes.

A policy review for the entire Department of Defense should be complete by the end of September, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Whitman said the Defense Department realizes that social networking sites have value, noting the Army recently ordered all U.S. bases to provide access to Facebook.

In addition, commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have Facebook pages to share information about operations, while the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has 4,000 followers on Twitter.


Still, Whitman said, a tension exists "between using these as importanttools and addressing the challenges from a security standpoint." The goal of the review is to come up with "a more coherent policy," he said.

The U.S. Strategic Command has warned it was considering a Department-wide ban on Web 2.0 sites such as Facebook. The Marine Corps issued its ban of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites in response to the Strategic Command warning.

The banning order said: "These internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content - and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user-generated content and targeting by adversaries."

Some waivers will be given for "mission critical" reasons, said the ban order scheduled to last a year.


Filed under: Department of Defense • Facebook
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Audrey Fryer

    Seeing as you won't put this on your Ticker – Happy Birthday President Obama.

    August 4, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Florida Dude

    I can't believe they allowed to go on this long. It is a BIG security risk for sites like that. Before anyone talks about freedoms being taken away, realize that sites like this are realtime and could compromise current mission and possibly cost a life. This is not snail mail (USPS) here

    August 4, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    My God, it has come to this.

    August 4, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. Retired US Army

    Such social networks need to be kept off of official governmental computers, to include US Army computers that are tied into the DoD system. If they wish to have computers avaiable for use in communicating with friends and family from overseas locations then they need to establish sytems outside the DoD main frame and I am sure safeguards can be put in place to ensure security concerns.

    August 4, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. social networking Web sites

    security ain't what it used to be

    August 4, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. David Newport, OR

    I have no issue with this as long as internet is available for their personal machines. I can't imagine having to serve multiple extended tours of duty and coming home to a child 3 years older

    August 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. a little sad

    I agree with the official computer concerns, but I will say that with 2 nieces in the Army, over in Iraq & Afghanistan, and another niece and nephew stateside in the Marines, I hope they have access to a computer they can use facebook on.

    That's the only way they keep in touch with each other and the rest of the family.

    August 4, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. danel

    For crying out loud CNN give it up already. Can you please do some other topic?

    August 4, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Retired Comm GySgt

    I believe the Marine Corps is taking the right approach concerning these web 2.0 applications on thier networks. Security should always comes first when your operating on a network setup for Command and Control functions. My Facebook account has received videos from friends accounts (which were hacked) which contain viruses to spread amoung others. The military is very dependant on their network to conduct the battle. A denial of service attack through one of these unsecured portal will reak havoc for the commanders trying to run the war. MWR usually sets up a computer cafe within the camp and on a different network for the Marines and soldiers tp use. This gives them access to Twitter, Facebook or their MySpace pages.

    Fighting a war is not and should never be considered a social event where everyone gets to share in all the information!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. aware

    I smell a paranoid dictator! :(

    August 4, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. CT

    Your always going to have a lemon in the unit depriving the majority. However, with this cut-off, a lot of much needed communication from combat zones with families is ended. We Marines sometimes tend to cut off the head of the snake without studying the tail. I would bet that since Adm. Mullen uses this communication, there will be some type of change but not stoppage. I hope so, because this has been a very positve for moraleand families. ComSec. can be done without complete stoppage.

    August 4, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. CT

    Your always going to have a lemon in the unit depriving the majority. However, with this cut-off, a lot of much needed communication from combat zones with families is ended. We Marines sometimes tend to cut off the head of the snake without studying the tail. I would bet that since Adm. Mullen uses this communication, there will be some type of change but not stoppage. I hope so, because this has been a very positve for morale and families. ComSec. can be done without complete stoppage.

    August 4, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Melissa

    I'm surprised they didn't do it earlier.

    August 4, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |