May 03, 2007

Army Blog Gag Order Fact Sheet

A reliable source passed along the following:

Fact Sheet Army Operations Security: Soldier Blogging Unchanged


  • America's Army respects every Soldier's First Amendment rights
    while also adhering to Operations Security (OPSEC) considerations to
    ensure their safety on the battlefield.
  • Soldiers and Army family members agree that safety of ourSoldiers are of utmost importance.
  • Soldiers, Civilians, contractors and Family Members all play an integral role in maintaining Operations Security, just as in previous wars.


  • In no way will every blog post/update a Soldier makes on his or
    her blog need to be monitored or first approved by an immediate
    supervisor and Operations Security (OPSEC) officer. After receiving
    guidance and awareness training from the appointed OPSEC officer, that
    Soldier blogger is entrusted to practice OPSEC when posting in a public
  • Army Regulation 350-1, "Operations Security," was updated April
    17, 2007 - but the wording and policies on blogging remain the same from
    the July 2005 guidance first put out by the U.S. Army in Iraq for
    battlefield blogging. Since not every post/update in a public forum can be monitored, this regulation places trust in the Soldier, Civilian Employee, Family Member and contractor that they will use proper judgment to ensure OPSEC.
  • Much of the information contained in the 2007 version of AR530-1 already was included in the 2005 version of AR 530-1. For example, Soldiers have been required since 2005 to report to their immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer about their wishes to publish military-related content in public forums.
  • Army Regulation 530-1 simply lays out measures to help ensure operations security issues are not published in public forums (i.e.,blogs) by Army personnel.
  • Soldiers do not have to seek permission from a supervisor to send personal E-mails. Personal E-mails are considered private communication. However, AR 530-1 does mention if someone later posts an E-mail in a public forum containing information sensitive to OPSEC considerations, an issue may then arise.
  • Soldiers may also have a blog without needing to consult with their immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer if the following conditions are met:
    1. The blog's topic is not military-related (i.e., Sgt. Doe
      publishes a blog about his favorite basketball team).
    2. The Soldier doesn't represent or act on behalf of the Army in any way.
    3. The Soldier doesn't use government equipment when on his or her personal blog.
  • Army Family Members are not mandated by commanders to practice OPSEC. Commanders cannot order military Family Members to adhere to OPSEC. AR 530-1 simply says Family Members need to be aware of OPSEC to help safeguard potentially critical and sensitive information. This helps to ensure Soldiers' safety, technologies and present and future operations will not be compromised.
  • Just as in 2005 and 2006, a Soldier should inform his or her OPSEC officer and immediate supervisor when establishing a blog for two primary reasons:
    1. To provide the command situational awareness.
    2. To allow the OPSEC officer an opportunity to explain to the Soldier matters to be aware of when posting military-related content in a public, global forum.
  • A Soldier who already has a military-related blog that has not yet consulted with his or her immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer should do so.
  • Commands have the authority to enact local regulations in addition to what AR 530-1 stipulates on this topic.

The source suggested this was a "climb down" on the part of the Army. I honestly don't know enough about the original set of orders, or how they were enforced within the Army, to comment, but will link those who do when they post.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 3, 2007 03:15 PM

Well, well well the fit hit the shan, and the Army nut case who wrote the order is now in Iraq. Enjoying the weather I'm sure. Hope s/he doesn't rely on email to contact their family.

Posted by: CoRev at May 3, 2007 03:40 PM

The first thing I did when I read the WIRED article was write PAO in Iraq (stil waiting for a response) for confirmation. Although the WIRED article appeared well sourced and not the typical MSM hype, it still didnt sit right with me. I think it will come out that there is no observable change and a lot of us milblog supporters will look way too reactionary for flying off at the army. Of all people, those on the right should know by now that when it comes to media reports, identify your target before you fire. I haven't read the new manual yet, but lot's of times things are re-written to provide legal cover (like to allow prosecution for breaking a reg) and aren't meant to be taken as a real change to current practice (but of course, not always).

Posted by: Ray Robison at May 3, 2007 05:00 PM

The interesting thing is that the original 530-1 came out in March... the April 19th version was to fix typos. Did nobody see the March version?

As someone who fell afoul of this stuff back before the Army heard the word "blog" in 2003, it is unfortunately not a minor matter - I was fortunate in that it was determined that it wasn't a deliberate thing on my part and I only received a General Officer Letter of Reprimand....

Posted by: SGT Jeff (USAR) at May 3, 2007 05:07 PM

Whether today's clarification was a climb-down or the whole thing was a misunderstanding to begin with, things are looking a lot less grim now than 24 hours ago. -- The END of Military Blogging? -- Day 2

Posted by: Bill Faith at May 3, 2007 10:39 PM

At first glance it seems ridiculous, but secuity is extremely important at a time like this. The enemy does have computers, and the MSM does have a tendancy to print first ask questions later. I think they should let the Soldiers email their families as much as they want though.

Posted by: Justin at May 5, 2007 07:49 AM