Mess Deck Intelligence

By Captain John Byron, U.S. Navy (Retired)

What do you think? MilBlogs: friend or foe?

Comments (18)


1. Rubber Ducky says:

Oops. Here are the links ...

Master Sergeant Grisham's blog:

Army Times article:

Posted Yesterday @ 1633


2. thecaptain'schair says:

Grisham runs a decent blog. Not entirely to my taste, but forthright and a useful voice of experience. Seems to me that the Army is hammering someone who has no motive beyond improving the Army he loves.

Army is going through a bad patch. Having trouble figuring out what it is and what it needs to be. Big internal debates going on. Mid-grade and senior service colleges are in decline, no longer necessary waypoints in a successful career. The intellectual capital of the Army is getting pretty thin at Ft Leavenworth and Carlisle and Ft McNair - good military blogs may be the best current expression of intelligent thought, analysis, and insight the Army has. Stifling good ideas seems a bad thing to do.

Posted Yesterday @ 1737


3. curtainswinger says:

Read the blog. Some of his comments about Obama are way over the top. He's disrespectful of the president and so has violated the UCMJ. He should be hammered, shut down ... . and court martialed.

Posted Yesterday @ 1743


4. JAGweenie says:

... Actually ... no. You might hold that Grisham's blog is prejudicial to good order and discipline (Article 134), but that's a really big stretch. The only UCMJ article directly bearing is Article 88, which says that any COMMISSIONED OFFICER who uses contemptuous words against the President (and others) shall be punished yada yada. Grisham isn't a commissioned officer so no violation there. And anyway, the Article has only been used once since the UCMJ became law in 1950.

Posted Yesterday @ 1821


5. curtainswinger says:

Even so, there's the security aspect. What's to keep this guy from revealing classified information? This could be a really serious problem.

Posted Yesterday @ 1909


7. JAGweenie says:

Really, curtainswinger, you need to relax a bit. It's discipline that keeps secrets secret, not the availability of possible media outlets. Some restrictions might be needed in a tiny handful of circumstances, but wholesale prior censorship of an experienced Army professional on the grounds that he might go nuts and blab secrets is just silly.

And absolutely antithetical to Freedom of Speech. If I wanted to find out Army secrets, I'd give away free beer on a league bowling night on the base. Banning open dialogue on unclassified topics goes way too far.

Posted Yesterday @ 2046


8. Semper Ubi Sub Ubi says:

Get over it. Or stop inducting anyone under 40. Blogging is here to stay, bloggers join the military, and it's not hard to hide identity on the web ("On the web, nobody knows you're a dog."). So either let the blog run in the plain or it will run underground.

Posted Yesterday @ 1843


9. brasileiro marinheiro says:

Greetings from Brazilian Navy. Apology my English. I am confuso. It was USA that bring freedom of speech to the world. But now US army wants stop that? Is army anti-American or just plain est u pido?

Posted Yesterday @ 1912


10. Semper Ubi Sub Ubi says:

"The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom." - Lady Bird Johnson

Posted Yesterday @ 1950


11. afterbatterybob says:

Howthehell can you say you want to hear from the deck-plates level and then throttle a voice from the deck-plates level. You officers suck and you're just dumber than ****.

Posted Yesterday @ 2128


12. Rubber Ducky says:

afterbatterybob: you make a good point - but easy with the cheap-shots at officers ... or anyone else. Let's keep this blog focused on the topic.

Posted Yesterday @ 2135


13. thecaptain'schair says:

And if you're running the outfit or have a senior position, wouldn't you just love to have an easy way to pulse the organization and learn howgozit? See Grisham's blog as an extended All Hands meeting.

Posted Yesterday @ 2358


14. bootchief says:

Hey, the print world is dying. Get a grip, you official twits: pretty soon it'll be blogs or nothing.

Posted Today @ 0113


15. Semper Ubi Sub Ubi says:

Well maybe not. After all, isn't the story about Grisham in a newspaper? LOL

Posted Today @ 0519


16. bootchief says:

This isn't the last technology trick ahead of us. If the brass can't get their minds around blogging, they're gonna have a tough ride ahead ... In a few years: MiFi, 4- and 5-G networks, who knows what else. Technology will march on whether or not the Army approves.

Posted Today @ 0703


17. JAGweenie says:

We've got a nation founded on freedom of the press. Blogs are the modern press. We all swore an oath to uphold the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. The Army is acting like a domestic enemy. This is a First Amendment issue, plain and simple. I'd love to be defense counsel for Grisham at a court martial on this.

Posted Today @ 0940


18. CrustyTheFlag says:

Look, I get it and I worry that this Army thinking might slop into other branches. The brass you need to check-six on are those who don't read blogs - but then they won't see this discussion ...

Maybe SecNav's precept letter for the next O-7 selection board needs a paragraph that says "is culturally aware and technically savvy about that internets stuff."

And we need to encourage vertical communications in whatever branch of service we're in.

And create an environment in which recruits can bring along their technological skills and apply them.

The Army is acting like King Canute forbidding the tide to come in. I've gotta think my Army counterparts leaning on MSgt Grisham also long for return of the horse cavalry.

Posted Today @ 1123


Rubber Ducky says:

Great comments and thank you all. Let me close this out with my summary of the key points you made:

1. Don't stifle ideas; don't cut off internal communications; don't shoot the messenger.

2. There might be tiny risks in letting MilBlogs operate with relative freedom, but the First Amendment trumps these: "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." (and no, this is not a communist plot).

3. Still have to protect against inadvertent disclosure of sensitive info, but sensitive defined as really classified and not as ' makes the general's head hurt.' And keep in mind that holders of classified knowledge face the issue constantly in conversations, letters, emails, phone calls. Treat a breach of security as such if it comes up - don't try to end all useful communication ' just in case.'

4. Blogging is here to stay, bloggers join the military, and open chat beats underground malingering.

MilBlogs allow vox populi, or at least its military equivalent in the day of the web. Let's keep the conversation going and the ideas flowing. Master Sergeant Grisham: we've got your back.

Posted Today @ 1337 - Comments closed


Captain Byron is a frequent contributor to Proceedings. A former detailer, qualified in submarines and surface warfare, he retired in 1993 after 37 years of active duty.

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