May 05, 2007

Letter to the Paper LVII

The new OPSEC regulations have caused a bit of controversy as they (as written) require every blog post to be approved. This has generated some controversy. Over at Mudville Gazette a "get along to go along" effort seems disappointingly vague with the author claiming that things are not really so bad. Supposedly, local commanders can ameliorate the regs as written but the reg itself is not so generous as I note in comments.

People keep asserting that the locals can somehow simply change the regulation locally. There is a section titled "Supplementation" that seems to address this.
Supplementation of this regulation and establishment of command or local forms are prohibited without prior approval from HQDA G–3/5/7 (DAMO–ODI) , 3200 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310.

Exception authority also seems to be relevant

The proponent of this regulation is the Deputy Chief of Staff, G–3/5/7. The proponent has the authority to approve exceptions or waivers to this regulation that are consistent with controlling law and regulations. The proponent may delegate this approval authority, in writing, to a division chief within the proponent agency or its direct reporting unit or field operating agency, in the grade of colonel or the civilian equivalent. Activities may request a waiver to this regulation by providing justification that includes a full analysis of the expected benefits and must include formal review by the activity’s senior legal officer. All waiver requests will be endorsed by the commander or senior leader of the requesting activity and forwarded through higher headquarters to the policy proponent. Refer to AR 25–30 for specific guidance.
This lays out, formally, the hoops one has to jump through to get an individually initiated, informal, "spare time" activity like a blog through the system. Does anybody really want to bother colonels and generals in the Pentagon with this sort of thing? Maybe it's because I'm a civilian. Maybe it's because I don't know military bureaucratese but a lot of the "calm down and STFU" interpretation seems to handwave the existence of these two sections on the signature page away and they do it unconvincingly.

The key to blogging success in infowar is the combination of sincerity and quick OODA loops. This regulation, at best, radically slows down the OODA loops of blogging and entirely destroys the sincerity because bloggers are very likely to get nervous at the formal scrutiny.

Supposedly, they're editing this thing to improve it but if they don't preserve speed and sincerity any regulation will be destructive of the meta-effort, the collective "opening the kimono" effect that gives us civilians insight as to which Washington politicians, mass media outlets, and various activists are lying and which are telling the truth. This is critical to the DoD information effort and this informal effort is, so far, the most effective part of it.

CounterColumn claims this is a Third Commandment issue but it's not. When you get out of the vehicle everybody can easily affect willful blindness on whether somebody, at some time, wore their seatbelt. Blog posts, while not forever, are much more permanent and every jerk of an officer can type in an URL and cut and paste the offending post to local storage in preparation for lasting persecution.

We can sort of, kind of, ignore this for a time but this is a major friction point between the old army and the new and compromise will not last forever.

Posted by TMLutas at May 5, 2007 08:48 AM