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Tweeting From the Front Line

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the deja-what-now dept.

Communications 84

blackbearnh writes "There's an interesting article up on O'Reilly Radar talking about how the US military is reacting to the increasing use of social media by soldiers in hostile territory. In an interview, Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, talks about the trade-offs between operational security and allowing soldiers and the public to interact, and how social media has changed the way the DoD communicates with the public. 'I think that we need to become much more comfortable with taking risk, much more comfortable with having multiple spokesmen out there, thousands of spokesmen in essence. But, for me, there's nothing more credible than the men and women who are out there on the front lines, fighting the wars that we're in, sending messages back to their family and friends.'"

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Tweeting (-1, Troll)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001304)

...is only slightly less inane than farting

MOD PARENT UP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001340)

Up to the HEAVENS for the sake of OUR LIVES and OUR PROGENY. Ahhhh-men!

Mod Parent Up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001350)

Up I say, for Twitter is gay!

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001370)

Please, moderators. Mod the parent up. For my sake and yours.

Re:Tweeting (3, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001388)

It can be useful if you find something interesting to follow. Hint Hint: @climagic.

mod parent up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001408)

mod parent up. twitter sucks balls.

Re:Tweeting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001512)

On the other hand, your posts are almost always far more inane than even the most inane twitter posts.

Re:Tweeting (4, Insightful)

ultramk (470198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001570)

Here's what I said on the subject in a similar BoingBoing thread recently:

If you really think that Twitter is terrible and causing the downfall of civilization or whatever, that's just a sign that you're not subscribed to the right feeds.

There are tons of feeds by brilliant, creative people like Peter Serafinowicz who really use the medium to its true advantage. The feed shitmydadsays, for example.

Also, if you have a small group of family and friends who have been scattered to the four winds for the usual reasons, it's a lovely way to be connected to them daily in an asynchronous, casual way. Perhaps you're lucky enough to have everyone you care about in the same time zone, but a lot of us are not that fortunate.

Twitter: a shitty email mailing list. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002146)

Also, if you have a small group of family and friends who have been scattered to the four winds for the usual reasons, it's a lovely way to be connected to them daily in an asynchronous, casual way.

Yeah, back in about 1993 or so I set up an email mailing list for my family. It's just like twitter, except it's private, and we can type more than 140 characters if we need to.

We can actually access it from more places than we can access twitter (some of my relatives work at places where twitter is blocked, but our mailing list's web archives aren't blocked, and their email isn't blocked).

Anyone can send to it whenever they want, and the other subscribers asynchronously get the emails when it's convenient for them to do so.

Interesting-feed suggestions (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005022)

http://twitter.com/shitmydadsays [twitter.com] eh? Nice one. Some apparent crudity, but had some darn useful things to say if you can see through that. [FWIW, I'd say something similar about South Park]

http://twitter.com/RevRunWisdom [twitter.com] (yeah, that's the Run from Run-DMC :P)
Even if you aren't much for religious messages, a lot of his stuff just plain makes sense.

(I'm KingAlanI on twitter as well; I'm not going for serious inspiration, LOL)

Re:Tweeting (1)

topperharley122 (1646173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32010622)

Also, if you have a small group of family and friends who have been scattered to the four winds for the usual reasons, it's a lovely way to be connected to them daily in an asynchronous, casual way. Perhaps you're lucky enough to have everyone you care about in the same time zone, but a lot of us are not that fortunate.

My brother spent a year and a half in Iraq. We used facebook, google chat, or even video conferencing to stay in touch. A year and a half is a lot longer than it seems when someone you care about is in harm's way. Social media for soldiers is an awesome thing if used appropriately.

Re:Tweeting (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002282)

Okay, guts are coming out.

American "Freedom" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001396)

It's hilarious that American troops, who are supposedly from a culture that emphasized "freedom" and who are supposedly fighting for the "freedom" of other people, basically have all of their freedom stripped away.

It's not a new phenomenon, of course. It happened during WWI and WWII, when any correspondence to and from American soldiers was read and censored by the military.

Re:American "Freedom" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001532)

Loose Lips Sink Ships, girlyman.

Re:American "Freedom" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002542)

Loose Lips Sink Ships, girlyman.

How do you know that "he" isn't a manlygirl?

Re:American "Freedom" (2, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001582)

"It's hilarious that American troops, who are supposedly from a culture that emphasized "freedom" and who are supposedly fighting for the "freedom" of other people, basically have all of their freedom stripped away"

Operation security means denying the enemy information. While communication and warm-fizzy exchange with the home folks is important, real-time chatter about trifling subjects is not.

There are two kinds of conversations from a military theater, "Emergency" and "Bullshit". Bullshit can wait.

Modern commo rocks (and is MUCH nicer than snail mail and moral telephone calls of old, been there and done all the above) but if you can't temporarily disconnect the electronic umbilical cord now and then, GTFO the military and let someone else get that sweet career path and tasty benefit package.

Re:American "Freedom" (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001710)

Morale has been an issue in every major war.
Even hardened soldiers can get a boost from the occasional bit of bullshit conversation with the girlfriend/wife, the folks or the kids.

Re:American "Freedom" (2, Interesting)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002804)

And that's what the Pentagon is trying to balance: the desire for morale boosters, without violating OpSec.

Hell, even saying "talk to you in a week" broadcasts to enemy inteligence officers that your division is likely deploying for a week where you will be off-line, and to track you.

In other words, the Pentagon needs reasonable standards for what constitutes 'loose lips' which may 'sink ships'. Obviously Twitter is the worst possible medium if OpSec is your goal.

Re:American "Freedom" (2, Insightful)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002184)

Operation security means denying the enemy information.

Much like companies that have non-disclosure agreements and stand to lose billions if they are broken, I'm sure the military can come up with some guidelines about what you can and can't say on social media sites. It's not like soldiers can't or don't use the telephone, so there's already a way for them to spread information inappropriately.

Re:American "Freedom" (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005908)

The military has policies in place, but spontaneous, synchronous commo lends itself to errant blabbing more than, for example, email.

Re:American "Freedom" (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32017254)

World War II "loose Lips Sink Ships" and a bunch of other sayings about spies and saboteurs.

The war was popular because we were fighting a man as much as a country.

Vietnam was a war NOBODY liked (except the REMF who didn't have to slog through the jungles and rice paddies). The main reason the war was unpopular was information. The war was on the TV every night, even though the military tried to suppress it, there it was, even parts the military wanted to suppress went out. Everybody of my generation saw a little girl running down a road without any clothes on, an officer from the NVA blowing out the brains of a suspected VC spy, and let's not forget Lt. Calley. He was a scapegoat, but the massacre did happen.

I've done my time, it was relatively easy compared to others, and I wish to hell all these guys come home in one piece and standing up. But, shit always happens and when people are denied the right to know about it, the shit turns out to be humongous.

Re:American "Freedom" (3, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001724)

I think they're trying to avoid stuff like this:

tedstriker: My squadron ships out tomorrow. We're bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We're coming in from the north, below their radar.
elainedickinson: @tedstriker: When will you be back?
tedstriker: @elainedickinson: I can't tell you that. It's classified.

Re:American "Freedom" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001850)

Maybe conversations like that wouldn't happen if the military wasn't made up of stupid white trash, convicts, and Mexicans.

Then again, smart people who know when to keep their mouths shut don't bother joining the military. They know better than to risk their bodies and lives fighting in remote third-world nations in conflicts that mainly benefit only a very small number of supranational "defense" and energy corporations.

Re:American "Freedom" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002278)

Maybe conversations like that wouldn't happen if the military wasn't made up of stupid white trash, convicts, and Mexicans.

Which category does Army Maj. Hasan [wikipedia.org] fall into?

Re:American "Freedom" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32003306)

That's an outlier... they are found in just about any group of data points.

Re:American "Freedom" (1)

desertjedi85 (1701804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002866)

Can we change the mod points from "-1 Troll" to "-1000 Douchebag" I'd say about 95% of the military is smarter than you. Trust me I'm very smart and had no problem risking my body so you could have the freedom to be a douchebag

Re:American "Freedom" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32003096)

You're obviously not smart enough to realize that I'm not an American...

Re:American "Freedom" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006180)

Trust me I'm very smart and had no problem killing innocent children and raping women so you could have the freedom to be a douchebag

There. Fixed that for you.

Re:American "Freedom" (2, Funny)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001954)

tedstriker: @elainedickinson: After I get back I'll meet you in the armoury. The code to get in is 66537, I'll bring the condoms.

Re:American "Freedom" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002986)

Hardly the only democracy (or republic if you want to be picky) to do that.

EN SVENSK TIGER

Brother in active duty (4, Interesting)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001400)

Right now my brother is in active duty in Afghanistan, and the fact that they have internet from their barracks is huge for their morale, and for the morale of his wife and my parents. The level of communication we can have with him is beyond what I imagine people in any past war would have dreamed possible.

He got to see his new nephew who was born while he's been deployed thanks to skype.

Re:Brother in active duty (2, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001754)

I can only imagine. I don't think most civilians understand the level of isolation that soldiers endure, even in peacetime. Add to that the stress of being shot at, and being able to talk to people back home has got to be tremendously comforting. As long as the troops are trained to safeguard operational security -- as if they didn't have a very strong incentive to do so anyway -- any risk has got to be outweighed by the boost in morale.

Anyway, best wishes to your brother. I hope he gets to see his nephew in person soon.

Re:Brother in active duty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002354)

Types of communication [wikipedia.org]

        * 55% of impact is determined by body language—postures, gestures, and eye contact,
        * 38% by the tone of voice, and
        * 7% by the content or the words spoken.

I wonder what gets missed by skype, the smell, the instant interaction (you move your eyes, nephew moves fingers) and what does the nephew get out of the whole experience. Just another set of moving pictures with sound?

Re:Brother in active duty (1)

tesseractor (1201811) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002496)

My brother-in-law returned from another tour in Afghanistan, and he was able to talk to my sister nearly every day from the other side of the world, which can only help a relationship. Contrast this to when my sister was deployed in the first Gulf War and I'd send her a letter that maybe she'd get one day, and maybe be able to reply to. Technology has transformed so much. But locations, missions and movements should never be allowed to go out over Twitter, Facebook, et. al. This is probably already policy, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's monitored like censors would monitor mail in WWII.

Re:Brother in active duty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002620)

"The level of communication we can have with him is beyond what I imagine people in any past war would have dreamed possible."

Makes wars much more like "common day jobs". Maybe in future we can have soldiers coming home after 5. Also makes it easier to defend your country on hostile soil. Also makes wars much more acceptable when youth does not have to be unreachable while deployed.

Re:Brother in active duty (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32003416)

Maybe in future we can have soldiers coming home after 5.

We do, and it's a problem. Pilots are flying 'combat missions' from Nellis AFB via satellite link to armed Predators. So they'll engage in a firefight, kill people (and watch friendlies/enemies people die), then come home to errands, soccer, and dirty diapers.

It actually causes a lot of stress the military is learning. There are a couple golden rules about communicating with home they teach spouses... a key one is don't bother the person deployed with the routine problems at home, they can't do anything about it and it just stresses them out worrying. The nice thing about being deployed is that life is pretty simple. Facebook/Twitter add communication, but still within limits.

But coming home when you may have watched a platoon you had overwatch for get wiped out to the normality of daily life, only to go back the next day, is HARD.

US military had a dose of that in Yugoslavia, when people stationed at Aviano permanently with their families were flying missions from 'home'.

I can see it now (5, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001430)

JUS KILD SUM HAJIS LOL !1!!

Re:I can see it now (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002082)

So, they would be happy about killing foreign nationals working for the military? Because from my understanding, "haji" is a semi-derogatory name used to refer to, say, Pakistani or Saudi drivers who were contracted out to provide support for the troops. Pretty sure the military uses other terms for the Taliban/insurgents.

Re:I can see it now (1)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 4 years ago | (#32010304)

No, it's a generic term for the enemy and civilians in Iraq (probably Afghanistan too though I'm not sure). It's very similar to the way soldiers called Viet Cong Charlie or Germans Gerries. I'm not sure how the word originally came into military slang, maybe Hadji from Johnny Quest?

Re:I can see it now (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 4 years ago | (#32011344)

The term "hajji" is a perversion of "Hajj", referring to the pilgrimage to Mecca:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajj [wikipedia.org]

Misleading title (2, Insightful)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001444)

It should be Tweeting From Just Behind the Front-Line.
The Front-Line folks are too busy getting shot at to Tweet. It's the support folks who get to do the tweeting (and have all the other fun)...

Re:Misleading title (5, Insightful)

Message (303377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001568)

Where do you define the front line in asymmetric warfare? Chances are those support personnel have just as much chance to get blown up by an IED while conducting a logistics convoy or from a mortar round lobbed at the base, and that is not even accounting for the growing number of support personnel that are doing traditionally combat roles... perimeter defense, access control points, roadblocks, etc.

A lot of my friends are infantry types that manage to tweet or get on facebook while deployed. We had decent internet access during OIF I back in 2003...

Re:Misleading title (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002762)

I think a front-line is drawn between two people exchanging fire. If you are in a FOB, LogBase, TCP, or other established point.. you are no longer at the front-line. You are definitely in the vicinity, yes, but on it? no.

Ok, i think of it like this.. ammo goes to the front where it is fired at the enemy. If you are passing ammo forward, you are in the rear. If you are holding ammo in prep for a fight, you are near the front. If you are expending ammo and being supplied more (double points for re-supply while shooting) then you are AT the front.

Warning shots, practice fire, and test firing type ammo expendature doesn't count. You can be bombed in the rear, that doesn't reopen it to the front. A front means direct confrontation with the enemy who is trying to take the dirt you are standing on.

All, imo.

Re:Misleading title (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32007430)

Spoken like someone who has never actually seen warfare in his life. There is no "front" or "rear" in Afghanistan, and there can't possibly be where there are not men in uniforms that can be clearly identified. In WWII you could confidently declare certain areas to be "front" or "rear" since you could identify the enemy as being present in certain areas. Not so in Afghanistan. You could be struttin down Disney Blvd on Bagram Airfield one second, on the largest and most secure base in Afghanistan, and the next second you could be blown to pieces by a mortar or rocket, or even a piece of unexploded ordnance/landmine/etc from Soviet times. You are not safe ANYWHERE in Afghanistan.

Re:Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32008288)

Chill out, i've got my cab. Does a mortar landing in the fob make a front line? No, imo, it does not.

If you re-read what i was saying, the line is drawn between two forces. If two forces are around but there is no fighting, where is the line? there isn't one.

For me, the front line was where you are directly exchanging fire. As you push forward the line moves forward. Your flanks are perpendicular to the fire.

I think you are saying the front line is a circle drawn around each fob. IMO that is incorrect.

Re:Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006306)

lol internet access was non existent for anyone who was doing anything but an office job until very late 2003. The problem with people keeping friends and family updated back home is that people are stupid and don't know what details should not be public knowledge.

Re:Misleading title (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002456)

It's not that bad#{èkn095.ç NO CARRIER

Military Tracking? (4, Interesting)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001446)

With some sort of Algorithm could one not track troop movements and strengths then?

Re:Military Tracking? (4, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001644)

If fighting a more technically advanced and well organised foe this would be more important.

it's a tradeoff, morale vs intelligence leaks and the morale factor can be worth it.

Also I image you could also be mislead just as easily.

An intelligence channel which you know the enemy has access to is orders of magnitude less valuable to them than a channel which you don't know they have access to since once you know about it you can feed false info when it's useful to you.

it's why quite a bit of effort went into convincing the germans that enigma hadn't been broken when it in fact had.

Also troops on the front line who's necks are on the block as it were will tend to pay more attention to the stuff about loose lips sinking ships etc.

Re:Military Tracking? (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001666)

With some sort of Algorithm could one not track troop movements and strengths then?

Yes its a simple algorithm, go to news.google.com and search for "afghanistan troop strengths"

Re:Military Tracking? (0, Flamebait)

enven (992813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001746)

I am assuming just leaking information as to where you're and the id you're tweeting from could assist someone to track you, and you only... As for troop movements and strengths, I assume that would have to do w/ the idiot actually tweeting in a combat zone. My 2 cents, the fact that these guys are even permitted to have devices such as a phone, or a laptop/net book baffles me still. I find it odd that we are so worried about their morale and their day-dreaming of home when a job that they signed up for needs to be given 100% focus. Another thing that bothers me about this is the chance of someone social engineering these guys, espionage in the form of profiles on Facebook or via myspace - Posing as women in their home town, or what have you...The chances of a man spilling their guts to a piece of trim is highly likely...especially when they start using their second head...

Re:Military Tracking? (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001986)

I find it odd that we are so worried about their morale and their day-dreaming of home when a job that they signed up for needs to be given 100% focus.

Yeah, because low morale doesn't interfere with a soldier's ability to fight at all.

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Re:Military Tracking? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002568)

or to put it another way

comms home is a way to prevent Sempter Fidelis from going to Sempter Psycho

that and telling a trooper that they will go home when X has been captured (and then turned over to more long term troops) and hes got a newborn??

Re:Military Tracking? (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001826)

@OpsBase: Closin in on cnfrmd Osama loc now. Our 1 blindspot is HUGE RED BARN in middle of AB BALA (3443N 6744E) Hope he not hidin there at 0800 2moro

Re:Military Tracking? (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002054)

With some sort of Algorithm could one not track troop movements and strengths then?

Statistically speaking, not very accurately.

Reasons:
Engaged troops are not tweeting while deployed. We are talking people at a barracks and those locations are hardly secret.

Mobile units are not likely to be tweeting while on recon. A goat herder with a cell phone can just as easily report troop movements.

But let us assume there is some deployed tweeting going on.

A: We would first need to know the average # of tweets per troop given a time frame (lets say 1 hour).

B: We could try and gauge, via normal distribution that a region has 58 tweets an hour and with (for the sake of easy math) 1 tweet per hour per troop we could guesstimate that there are roughly 58 troops there. The problem is the confidence interval is so wide based on that, that the data is somewhat useless.

C: We would also need to know a % of deployment for a given period of time. We could have 800 troops but only 10 are back on base tweeting at a given time frame. We would need to know more indepth their deployment orders, routine activities, etc.

D: Largely the tweets just become a dependent variable in a regression but the significance is really not there (There is a vastly larger and better set of data to gauge troop strength then tweets). The reasoning is tweets are just too random in their distribution of individuals. Some people might send out 300 tweets in a day while a vast majority wouldn't send any at all. You could with more confidence gauge the tech-savvy nature of a unit based on the number of tweets but by that same token a tech-savvy trooper is probably gonna think "Tweeting right now might be a security risk." So the chicken kills the egg.

The real danger would be developing a real-time logistics twitter communication network (e.g. reporting current fuel levels, black box like info, velocity, etc.) because once that kind of information network is exposed you have real time positioning. Cryptography is crucial in that regard.

The best way to date to track units is simple seismic activity triangulation (ground radar in essence.) A friggin tank driving around generates a lot of vibration. Troop positions post WWII aren't the crucial intel piece it once was. In the day of Long Bowmen and Cavalry sure, but post-tank + airpower... you just can't move 60 tons of firepower and not triangulate it.

Special Ops on foot is another story but those types aren't tweeting while on a mission either.

Not to mention that simple infrared cameras on ballons (especially at night) and covert cameras placed on commerical airliners can easily snap thermal imaging.

No Fly Zone + Light weight troops = People still need to eat and shit so there is a logistics wick to be followed there.

This is the 21st century, 12 century positional tactics went away when the Red Baron got famous.

WWII brought about the mobile front rendering hard positional tactics a second tier place and the advent of the space age rendered positionals a 3rd tier concern. Remember if they can find us there is a good chance we can also see them coming.

IANA4kYOAGBIPOOTV

(I am not a 400 year old asian general but I've played on on televion) ;)

Re:Military Tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32018342)

I was in Iraq in 2006 in fallujah with a Marine unit i was an infantry member and to think that twitter would have made any difference on combatants knowing where we are is a joke, we would leave in humvees onto a six lane highway, they knew where we were regardless of any sort of social medium. The city is not that big and its not hard to spot a bunch of americans going around with rifles and huge vehicles.

Re:Military Tracking? (1)

CaptainTux (658655) | more than 4 years ago | (#32018858)

Probably not. The connections are probably proxied.

propaganda vs operational security (2, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001774)

he talks about the trade-offs between operational security and allowing soldiers and the public to interact,

Let me rephrase that for you: they're torn between the need for operational security, and using soldiers for good PR. Otherwise, the press wouldn't have had to fight tooth and nail to be allowed to attend or photograph the ceremonies where dead soldiers are unloaded from cargo transports.

Blogging/twittering is just the modern version of the WW2 propaganda films. Look at our romantic heros, off to fight for justice and democracy! Look at our gritty, determined fighters putting up with horrible conditions and a bitter enemy! Give a voice to front-liners and you see what narcissistic people in the war want you to see. For example, the IED that gets blown up on the side of the road harmlessly...not the one that kills half the soldier's friends. And all the people with internet access are the ones doing Club Med tours- not the ones fighting in the trenches and caves.

One only need look at that attack helicopter video to see the stark difference between reality and what soldiers and the military want us to see.

Re:propaganda vs operational security (2)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002000)

And all the people with internet access are the ones doing Club Med tours- not the ones fighting in the trenches and caves.

Right, because the people who fight in trenches and caves don't ever return to base.

Re:propaganda vs operational security (2, Informative)

number17 (952777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005520)

Im not sure this is actually a troll. Propoganda by allies was huge in WWII and delaying/not reporting bad news was a must. Check out the CBC documentary, Love Hate and Propoganda, that aired a couple weeks ago: http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/lovehatepropaganda/ [www.cbc.ca]

OPSEC is a fallacy (2, Insightful)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001794)

Being in the military and deployed during the first and second rotation of Operation Iraqi Freedom (which was during the dawn of MySpace and Facebook just 'starting' to get popular when I was heading back to the states), I think my opinion would hold some weight as to say there are very few tradeoffs unless you make sure soliders Twitter and Facebook profiles are private and stay that way. I think with that, it would be no more insecure than having a weak password associated with your web-email account.

E-mail may not be 'cool' anymore to do, but it works and it's effective. I think the U.S. military caves on this because they share the same belief I do: it's a lost cause and too hard to corral [slashdot.org] . If you discipline or 'educate' your enlisted folk not to use it, some officer is going to break their own rules and do it and it's *always* going to be too-much-information leaked.

If you have 'that' much free time on your hands in a war zone, as a solider, to be updating your profile and status on social networks several times a day, you probably have absolutely zero business being there in the first place.

Re:OPSEC is a fallacy (1)

desertjedi85 (1701804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002182)

[quote]If you have 'that' much free time on your hands in a war zone, as a solider, to be updating your profile and status on social networks several times a day, you probably have absolutely zero business being there in the first place.[/quote] Back in OIF I & II this may have been the case. But for most people over there now it's sustainment, so when you have your day or two off a week you actually do have some free time to do things like this. And it's getting that way for OEF also. I was in OIF 3 & 4 and during 4 we had more time to do these things during our off hours. It does help to greatly improve morale which directly improves your work ethic. Less people getting depressed about not talking to people at home is less visits to the med shack, which is less medication, which is happier soldiers when they go home and continue their life.

Psychological Tweet Warfare . . . (4, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32001874)

Before the Normandy invasion, the Allies used fake radio traffic, to convince the Germans that the real invasion was coming to Pas de Calais by an army led by Patton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Fortitude [wikipedia.org]

Why not Tweet a couple of fake attacks to scare the bejesus out of the enemy?

Enough of these, and the enemy won't be able to determine who's who, and what's what.

C'mon lazy ass psych-op guys! Get on it!

Re:Psychological Tweet Warfare . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32003018)

C'mon lazy ass psych-op guys! Get on it!

Who says they aren't?

What the hell? (2, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32003542)

In Afghanistan, we are not battling an army that has the same technology we do. We're battling an indigenous people who have been at war for fifty years, either between themselves or against an invader. Unfortunately for us, the only people they hate more than another tribe is foreign invaders, i.e. Americans.

They are holed up in caves, stocking up on ammunition and resting until they have enough weapons, ammo, and food to launch another assault. Or they are building IEDs and monitoring regular troop movements to plant and detonate them. Their singular goal is to kick us out, and eventually they will. You can't occupy a nation, especially one as battle hardened as Afghanistan, when they don't want you there in the first place.

Tweet all the fuck you want. They are reloading no matter what lame psyops scheme you have cooked up.

Imagine if you were defending your homeland. What wouldn't you do?

Re:What the hell? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32007532)

Your analysis of the situation in Afghanistan is naive, simplistic, and in fact completely wrong. Please stop talking out of your ass, and stick to subjects you actually know about.

Re:What the hell? (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012642)

Well, that was an impressive assertion. Do you have any facts at all to back it up?

Re:Psychological Tweet Warfare . . . (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32003992)

Why not Tweet a couple of fake attacks to scare the bejesus out of the enemy?

Why not drop a whole bunch of bombs and scare them rightly so?

mod 3own (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001886)

Until A Botnet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32001924)

launches a strike at Arizona [nytimes.com] .

Yours In Juarez,
Nick Haflinger

US army has a problem (1)

mestar (121800) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002030)

It's hard to control all those foot soldiers with access to broadcast tech. So they have to educate them how to lie as well. For example, do not use "snipers" when referring to an american soldier, use "sharpshooter". Sniper sounds too bad. Also, do not use the term "the country we are conquering", use the phrase "hostile territory."

Facebook Updates (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002076)

lolz gonna blo d crap outta sum other beyatches in tanks. ps I'm at 31.184609,65.912476 kthxbai!

Cell phones, really? (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002110)

Exactly why are US troops carrying *personal* communications devices during military actions? Sure makes it easier for the enemy to track the troops, what with all the radio traffic from cell phones.

Oh right... military intelligence.

Re:Cell phones, really? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32004024)

In more than one instance, troops, cops and other emergency services have found their personal devices, (cellphones, GPS and sometimes even weapons) very useful. In one case, I seem to remember that a cell helped stop an insurgent's bullet...OK, a rare and extreme example.
Thankfully, coalition troops seem to have better cell and satellite phone tracking capability than their current opponents.
Maybe avoid signing up for Google 'Latitude' tho...

A better question might be, why are we allowing cells to work in areas where we know they can be used for many purposes against our troops? (Remote detonation of IEDs, co-ordination of attacks, intelligence gathering). How about giving the troops secure personal phones, (surely trivial to implement), and deny others cell access?

captured (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002488)

what happens when cellular are captured by the enemy.

This is Sgt R Soldier's twitter, stay tuned to al Jazeera at 7 pm local time and watch his head get chopped off.
more tweets to follow.

@SquadB (1)

bradorsomething (527297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32002776)

@SquadB Contact Right, Fully Engaged, Send Help lol? Like the MRE pix btw!

There's a flip side too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002900)

All this social networking tech has a flip side as well. Today's troops are comfortable with virtual relationships, and there are purpose-driven 'chat rooms' on the secure networks.

Now, a pilot flying close air support (CAS) over a certain zone can go to the chat the night before the mission and have a chat with the Army liaisons and they can exchange low-level info about what's going on. Then the next day, there's a connection between two groups that will never meet.
"Back in the Day" CAS was an anonymous plane you either cheered or cursed. Now it's a known in both directions. The pilot might start trying to get assigned to same areas, etc.

There's tons more lateral communication going on now in various communities (intel especially) than there ever has been before. And that's a good thing...
So if you allow troops to use the stuff, then the military can leverage that familiarity in "work-oriented" equivalents.

Yeah, serious OPSEC concerns, but considering how much is broadcasted right now through public media ("military starting offensive in Al XXXX in 2 days, tells civilians to evacuate"), what really is the risk for normal missions??

Son in military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32002916)

Posting AC because I can't remember my password. My son is a SGT in the army - infantry, a QRT platoon. We get to chat with him almost everyday when things are "calm". If there are deaths in the battalion then they all go on blackout for a couple days while the immediate family is notified - because it is very important to the military that notifications of death are not confused or communicated inappropriately.

Being able to see him through skyp and hear him is really the only way my wife has been able to remain sane through this deployment - and having my daughter-in-law and grandson staying with us while he is away and them being able to communicate continuously keeps his spirits up as he still gets to see his son grow up (age 2), even though it is from afar.

Quote from Heartbreak ridge - "not knowing is the worse"...

Damn straight (2, Interesting)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32003838)

...there's nothing more credible than the men and women who are out there on the front lines...

During a previous excursion into sandy bloodletting, under Bush The Elder, one of the few completely trustworthy accounts I got from the battlefield was a letter from the son of a co-worker. She was kind enough to share with me.

There had been a friendly-fire incident that made the news. All the news accounts didn't seem to make sense. Everybody was spinning the story every way they could, madly, with little regard for truth. This mom, knowing her son was in the same group as the incident occurred, asked him about it. His letter, recieved well after the media circus had died out, was perfect.

What I mean was, the man was *right there*, 20 yards from the source of the friendly fire. He was *right there* pulling dead Americans who had just been killed by other Americans out of their vehicles. And his story of who was where and when they did what was the only account of that situation that I had ever seen that actually made sense.

Once you get off the front line, stories of war accrete bullshit until they're unrecognizable as even possible, much less the truth.

Twitter (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#32004422)

It's great to hear that, like any communication channel, that Twitter can have quite serious purposes. I've noticed a bit myself in a much less grave context - for example, Twitter noise on the matter has sometimes been the first to point out various news stories to me.

And even if your main use for it is another way to goof around, then what's wrong with that? :)

http://www.twitter.com/KingAlanI [twitter.com]

tweeting from front line (1)

sharnise21 (1803448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078144)

I think this is a great idea. It gives us real time feed of what is going on and the events the soldiers are experiencing right then and there. It also gives their family members a sense of what is going on with their loved ones and if they are ok.
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