Wired.com has an interesting piece by David Axe on the Air Force’s decision to ban access to many blogs, and how the Army has worked around it to use the Internet to encourage the free flow of ideas. He expounds a bit more in The Washington Independent. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it an Internet “civil war”, but I think it is demonstrative of the intellectual flexibility that the Army has acquired in recent years.
The Army cleverly dodged the bans, setting up its own versions of popular Web 2.0 sites, but hiding them behind password-protected portals. In that way, the Army appears to have found a middle ground between Internet proponents and skeptics. On this toehold, the land combat branch is steadily building new Internet tools that might help the United States catch up to Internet-savvy jihadists. In late April, the land-warfare branch even launched an official blogging service for officers. The blogs combine the best of the civilian Web 2.0 with old-fashioned military-grade security.
We at OPFOR have been advocating military bloggers for some time now. We have always believed that there is a sort of information war being waged on the Internet, and the most effective weapon is allowing servicemembers to tell some of their personal stories from Iraq and Afghanistan. This story brings to light another benefit of the blogosphere – the exchange of professional ideas. It takes place on a small scale on private discussion boards, but hopefully this will lead to a more widely spread and secure forum for professional discussion and debate. So here’s hoping that this initiative continues, and fosters the exchange of ideas between our military professionals.