Yank Sailor’s Milblogging ROE

December 2008


Stealing his thunder

Posted by Chap in Navy

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  • Brine

    This is a very good resource and some clear writing that has this 1120 seriously considering if I’m ready for these treacherous waters, but it leaves me with two linked and broad questions?

    1. Has anyone run this by a JAG and a SSO yet? I mean I had to sign a page 13, at my current school, that referenced the usual OPNAV 5200.10 Series and a few others that I keep meaning to scan and send into the usual suspects I admire for commentary, but haven’t got around to yet, because I’m not done seeing if can figure it out myself yet.

    2. The usual gripe for this, which is part laziness on my part, and part institutional inertia reflected in Admiral James Stavridis’ article for more professional writing is that we don’t see clear guidance from above on this issue. It seems clear that our leadership wants us to use our names, but you would think by now they would realize that the prudent among us won’t unless we have the extra time, brillance, and lack of better things to do, to write for publication, maybe USNI’s invitation to bloggers will change this I hope so. In short has anyone seen something specific on this come out of an admiral’s staff?

    These questions are part gripe and part honest looking for resources as I know at some point or another I’m going to have to write comparable instructions for my command, and while nothing is better than good judgment especially from your thinking sailors, clear plainspoken guidance to them can often be that ounce of prevention.

  • Those rules are way too conservative-and reflect the problem why people don’t write.

    A blog is supposed to be a personal statement-and it is supposed to be protected speech. The argument that somehow the Bill of Rights does not apply to serving Soldiers and Sailors is tripe.

    One final point-if the status of retiree leaves one open to prosecution under the UCMJ-then maybe someone should tell that to Congress, who has allowed the courts to steal one third of my retirement.

  • Brine

    At least it opens the discussion, as far as I’ve seen in my crawling it’s the only resource I’ve seen. JOs hate it in ourselves, but unfortunately were being trained to be risk adverse enough that something like this is a good first resource for someone still in the job. If anyone has better please toss it up.

  • I agree with Skippy, and I wrote the rules. The Milbloggers’ ROE were developed primarily for individuals that were journaling their individual activities and activities of their units on the web. I don’t think this effort quite fits in that category, so I don’t think my rules are a best fit with the forum.

  • Chap

    Yank, “yeah, but”. I don’t necessarily agree with the ROE you put together for my own case, either–but it’s a great start for someone who hasn’t thought through the implications of writing. I’m pretty sure Skippy and you and I could agree that keeping a personal OPSEC filter is a good thing when writing in public in any venue, right?

    Anyhow. It’s your SORM–how would you change it for this?

  • Byron

    Chap, I’ve been doing this kinda stuff for a long time now, and you’re rules are pretty decent for a first time blog subscriber. Once you get your feet in the water, you can stretch the envelope a bit, especially if the people there know you and are used to what you say. Even the OPSEC part applies to this yardbird, since the pot my paycheck comes from has Uncle Sugars name on it.

  • FWIW, some of the selfsame criteria can be applied on the corporate side. Indeed, corporate legal/general counsel can be more of a hurdle or roadblock than the generic JAG…
    – SJS

  • Rubber Ducky

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  • Byron

    Rubber Ducky, I don’t think that applies to the oath you swear when you’re in the Armed Forces and the security/secrecy things you have to sign, or in the corporate world, company rules (which I try really hard to stay on the right side of). Now, letter to the editor? I won’t yell fire in a movie, but short of that, free fire zone.

    So, what’s your point?

  • Rubber Ducky

    “I, (state your full name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    Sorry, Byron, that’s what I signed up for and that’s what I defend.

  • Byron

    So, the USMJ means nothing to you?

  • Brine

    Okay her is an example where the rules show great chance for abuse. Either on your page 2 or on your SSBI there is the block for aliases (pen names). I would invite discussion on this both by active duty bloggers stating what they have done on this, and especially our SOPAs.

  • Cutterman

    The Coast Guard has recently released detailed guidance on both official and unofficial internet postings:

    Official Postings: http://www.uscg.mil/announcements/alcoast/ALCOAST458.txt
    Unofficial Postings: http://www.uscg.mil/announcements/alcoast/alcoast548.08.txt

  • Rubber Ducky

    The naval profession has always been troubled by self-censorship, made worse by seniors abusing privilege to stifle contrary opinions. But it also has been enlightened and ennobled by writers from its ranks willing to push the envelop with fresh ideas and alternate views of the future.

    In a profession setting courage, independence, and initiative as high virtues, a discussion of writing rules should be looking for maximum expression and openness, not the total list of all the inhibitions that pecksniffs and anal-retentives might conjure up.

    When Brad Hosmer was President of National Defense University, he said this: “Be comfortable taking risks with ideas.” We of our profession have been wonderfully blessed to have at hand the US Naval Institute and its tradition of speaking and writing boldly. The Institute and its Proceedings have withstood witch-hunts for decades and will continue to push back against those who would limit the exercise of free speech on professional matters.

    It seems especially odd to find conversation about open discussion immediately following a posting highlighting the courage of women officers in the Navy: feisty females, followed by self-gelding. Get a grip, guys. Got something to say? Buck up and say it.