Army clamping down on soldiers' blogs

U.S. soldiers from Alpha Company 2/7, 1st Cavalry Division, run for cover in reaction to sniper fire that hit their vehicles while on patrol in Mosul, 240 miles northwest of Baghdad, April 29, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army is tightening restrictions on soldiers’ blogs and other Web site postings to ensure sensitive information about military operations does not make it onto public forums.

Soldiers in war zones are already subject to restrictions on blogging and public posts. But the Army’s new regulation could affect service members who have returned from war zones and started blogs about their combat experiences.

Under a new directive issued in April, soldiers must consult with their immediate supervisor and an officer responsible for what’s known within the military as operational security, or OPSEC, for a review of planned publications.

Reviews will be needed for Web site postings, blog postings, discussions on Internet information forums and discussions on Internet message boards, according to the Army directive.

E-mail that will be published in a public forum is also subject to review under the regulation. But Army officers said personal e-mails will not be reviewed, calling that impractical.

“We’re not asking that people not blog but that people be cognizant of OPSEC,” said Army spokesman Paul Boyce.

Blogs, short for Web logs, are journal-style Web sites where people publish their diaries or thoughts, talk about current events or link to other stories or pictures.

Their popularity has grown in recent years, including among service members and their families who often use blogs to post pictures from the war zone and link to stories about Iraq.