Military Report: Secretly 'Recruit or Hire Bloggers'

Over at the Wired Danger Room blog, Noah Shachtman has an item about a report produced in 2006 for the U.S. Special Operations Command with suggestions that the military consider "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers."

Since the start of the Iraq war, there's been a raucous debate in military circles over how to handle blogs -- and the servicemembers who want to keep them. One faction sees blogs as security risks, and a collective waste of troops' time. The other (which includes top officers, like Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. William Caldwell) considers blogs to be a valuable source of information, and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, both at home and abroad.

This 2006 report for the Joint Special Operations University, "Blogs and Military Information Strategy," offers a third approach -- co-opting bloggers, or even putting them on the payroll.

Link (image: Peter Starman / WIRED)


  1. Why is that guy in the picture typing in such and uncomfortable position? Maybe he should put the laptop, like… maybe in his lap?

  2. This is actually a photo of a military personnel member testing out the ultra secure laptop computer, Sony BYOBC 2000. It’s actually bolted to the concrete floor to prevent theft. It has to be used that way.

  3. Have any of you actually put a laptop on your lap for more than ten minutes? Starts to hurt.

    This grunt will survive the next RPG attack because he is already halfway in the AFM approved “hit the dirt” position.

    I thought the military was the definition of a top down organization. If Gen. Petraeus et al think they should be encouraged, then isn’t that the end of the debate?

  4. #7, Well then I guess he could just use a desk, or a table, or a milk crate or something. Yes, I agree, putting a laptop in your lap can get pretty uncomfortable.

  5. David (#7), I sometimes sit with my laptop on my lap for an hour or more, no problem. My secret: I wear pants.

  6. Great. Embedded bloggers. Yet another opportunity to provide the appearance of greater access in exchange for the reality of greater control…

  7. Y mgn blggrs bng pd mny t blg! W ll knw tht th mny wn’t nflnc wht ppl pst. knw wth tht cl mbl Mcrsft pstng thng w’ll gt rpd frm-th-rd pdts n ths stry s thy hppn!

  8. money is one thing, the military can kill anyone in their control at will. Also, what is this “Microsoft” you refer to?

  9. This is old news. Eventually I think the military will start to consider the entire civilian population a “security threat” and an obstacle to the glorious triumph of democracy and eliminate us.

    Nor should it be news that many right wing bloggers are entirely supported by the usual suspects on the extreme right.

  10. I can hardly wait for the discussion when some general slaps a shell-shocked blogger with his glove.

  11. Noen, oh please. You know, a lot of people serving in the armed forces are very much in favor of democracy. I, having been in the military, would have to say I think I’m in favor of Communism now, but only if it’s run by wonderful AI, or a hive mind similar to the one that’s trying to form here. (Evil laugh track playing now…fade off…).

  12. Hive minds are a problem for democracies. Should it be “one mind, one vote?” Or “one person, one vote?”

    Counting persons as 3/5 person for voting purposes probably won’t work.

  13. Jeff, I’m a little confused at what you’re trying to say. You’re being silly and serious at once.

    I have nothing but respect for individual soldiers but I don’t confuse them with the military as a whole. Two different things. And while I was being a bit snarky it is true that the paranoid thinking on the extreme right does expand to where the military sees itself at war with it’s own civilian population.

    We already know how this two year old story played out. The MilBlogs were shut down. After all, soldiers are property and have no rights.

  14. Great find Xeni!

    Or should I say… “Great find, Lt. Col. Jardin!”

    (this is a joke, BTW. the thing is you get a blogger reporting that another site is reporting that the military is trying to recruit bloggers and wouldn’t it be funny if Wired or Boing Boing was secretly being infiltrated.. oh… nevermind!)

  15. Personally, I think it’s good that the military is looking to the future and examining all of their options. Like it or not, wars are not just fought with weapons. They are also fought with information. Terrorists use the Internet to spread their message, coordinate, gather intelligence, etc… Our military should be studying ways to use the Internet to help win wars.

    I don’t think the U.S. Special Operations Command cares about political bloggers making fun of Bush/Clinton/Obama… they’re more worried about Iranian bloggers, Al Qaeda cells, etc…

  16. To #18

    I called Sony and asked a sales the very same question. He said that Sony doesn’t manufacture tables. So, they can’t guarantee that a table will withstand a theft attempt.

  17. So first the military bans all soldiers from blogging because it’s a security threat, and then they determine that they need to go looking to secretly recruit bloggers? Genius!

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