Army opens networks to Facebook, other social network sites

Monday - 6/15/2009, 7:19am EDT

By Max Cacas
FederalNewsRadio


One of the top ranking U.S. Army IT officials says a desire for consistency is behind new orders that soldiers be given access to three popular social networking sites at most Army bases.

Mike Krieger is the Deputy Chief Information Officer, G-6, with the U.S. Army. He was standing in for his boss, General Jeffrey Sorenson, at the AFCEA luncheon held at the Sheraton Premiere hotel in Tysons Corner last Friday.

During his chat, Krieger talked about Thursday's decision to allow access to Twitter, Flickr and Facebook on the Army's computer networks.

There is no policy that says we can't use those sites. The Army is probably the leader when it comes to public affairs, of using those sites to get our message out to the public. I encourage you to go to the Army home page, and see what OPA (Office of Public Affairs) has done. Command has done a wonderful job of using those sites to engage with the community.

Krieger went on to say that there are still about 13 sites whose access is still prohibited on base networks.

He said the decision to open the networks to the three sites emerged because someone in the Army Signal Corps command noticed that policy regarding those sites was inconsistent from base to base, and from camp to camp.

"I was getting a lot of pressure from Army public affairs," he explained, when one public affairs officer was able to use social networking at one base, and was blocked when he then transferred to another base.

Krieger says that the commander of the Army's 7th Signal Brigade, which controls networks at Army bases throughout the continental U.S. (CONUS) issued "consistent implementation of Army policy for web 2.0 sites."

Krieger told the AFCEA Nova chapter that this order points up the benefits of a centralized IT command throughout the U.S. Army.

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On the Web:

AFCEA - Northern Virginia chapter

U.S. Army - Web standards order opens some social networking sites in CONUS (press release)

FederalNewsRadio - Fighting the Taliban on Twitter

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