Home » Social Media » Pentagon preps new social media rules

Pentagon preps new social media rules

by Mike Hoffman on August 17, 2012

The Pentagon is late on issuing it’s latest set of rules for service members on how to use popular social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Defense Department officials have been working towards a new directive on social media to replace the old rules that were set to expire July 15. The expiration date was extended when it became clear leadership couldn’t settle on new guidance until later this year. No specific date has been given for the release.

The previous directive-type memorandum (DTM) was published in 2010. A lot has changed in social media in the past two years. However, the Pentagon never tried to be too specific on the technology side of social media. They managed to keep it down to a two-pager on general use of “Internet based capabilities.”

Some have suggested the next set of social media rules will come in the form of a manual as the  Pentagon would collapse upon itself without manuals to know how to operate. As service members wait with baited breath to see if military leadership approves of their Tweets and Facebook posts, we here at Defense Tech speculated on what the social media guidance might look like. It’s Friday so we went bullet style.

  • Perhaps they can have a more involved guidance on voice and OPSEC, while keeping specific guidance on technology extremely limited. “The Navy encourages service members to tell their stories” in their social media guide. The Navy’s guidance is an evergreen piece created in 2010. It does not try to explain any specific social media network and goes for the big picture.
  • Marines, as usual, have aimed to be thorough and specific in their directive. Congrats to the service to staying up-to-date and modern in their design. “Marine Social Media Handbook” reminds everyone of the reasons the Marines have the largest social media presence. Even though this is a 2012 handbook, Pinterest, the Marines newest endeavor is missing. Does this mean handbooks can never keep up with the ever evolving social media landscape, gasp?!
  • Also updated this year, the Air Force and Army’s manuals are the most interactive and complete. However, this leads to having to update the manuals almost continuously to keep up with the fads of new social media networks. Not something DT would suggest to the Defense Department.
  • The Coast Guard will not be joining the party as the Department Homeland Security has its own set of rules.

Considering the leaps in technology with social media, the larger question might be if manuals are helpful to the general military audience. Do specific tutorials just look out of date with this topic?

In the comments section, leave what you think the  Defense Department should cover in the upcoming social media guidence. Or Tweet us @DefenseTech.

Share |

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

murray August 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Think people , we need rules for this ?

Reply

tmb2 August 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm

When geo-tagged pics of airfields and FOBs, "hey your husband just died" messages, and detailed rants about commanders and missions end up on Facebook, then yes there need to be rules.

Reply

bmart. August 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm

You know, when I first read this I thought why are we wasting our time on a topic like this, but after seeing your comment it cleared it up pretty fast.

All this social media stuff can be dangerous in terms of OPSEC, and like you said, what a way to break the news, and I never even thought about the fact that it can foster inter-unit conflict.

Thumbs up for the analysis tmb2.

Reply

Nuc_1 August 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I can't believe there aren't any now , agreed tmb2

Reply

waxdrip August 19, 2012 at 9:26 am

I believe you should make it impossible to say certain words like when people say oh the boys were sent to fallujah thats my henry in there! and then a week later you hear about six marines dying in a helicopter crash. that is not a coincidence. the enemy can read what we say on a world wide social network. we as a civilian population with military social circles. like the wives and girlfriends and gay boyfriends of service members blabbing anything and everything their loved ones say to them to comfort them when they ask, why are you going? where are you being sent? and what is the mission. these significant others with no restraint blab all that info straight onto facebook or some military social media place and the enemy reads it reorganises and gets our boys everytime. i hope this info and observation helps the dod.

Reply

waxdrip August 19, 2012 at 9:27 am

I believe you should make it impossible to say certain words like when people say oh the boys were sent to fallujah thats my henry in there! and then a week later you hear about six marines dying in a helicopter crash. that is not a coincidence. the enemy can read what we say on a world wide social network. we as a civilian population with military social circles. like the wives and girlfriends and gay boyfriends of service members blabbing anything and everything their loved ones say to them to comfort them when they ask, why are you going? where are you being sent? and what is the mission. these significant others with no restraint blab all that info straight onto facebook or some military social media place and the enemy reads it reorganises and gets our boys everytime. i hope this info and observation helps the dod. this is not a dupe, what the big H is going on here???

Reply

Mike August 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm

With the dishonorable discharge of the marine who criticized the president on a GROUP facebook account (not using his military position in any way), its clear that this will be another thing used by the military to silence people who want to express their opion.

Reply

Vaporhead August 20, 2012 at 7:51 am

I somewhat agree with you, however, there needs to be OPSEC when it comes to our guys overseas and thelike. I also find this just another check in the box for the government to control possible dissent.

Reply

Paratrooper450 August 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Mike, it wasn't just a "group" web site. It was a group site that said Marine created and maintained, which by its nature implied affiliation with or endorsement by the Department of Defense.

Reply

Vaporhead August 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I don't think just because a bunch of Marines, or a single Marine, created a "group" website implies anything. I certainly don't think it implies the actual branch endorses it. Same goes for the very site you are on right now.

Reply

silven August 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

It doesn't matter what site he put it on. When you enlist in the service you agree to abide by the rules and regulations of the service. The uniformed code of military justice prohibits bad mouthing the chain of command in various articles. It's imperative to maintain morale and discipline to not allow people to disrespect superiors or sew sedition in the ranks.

Reply

Cidma August 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

“To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.”
Newton’s third law.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: