DOD likely to adopt limited social networking

The tools may be used on military-controlled networks, Navy CIO Carey says

Although many Defense Department officials believe social networking tools are useful, those emerging technologies will likely need to be deployed solely on the military domain and cut off from the public Internet, Robert Carey, the Navy’s chief information officer, said yesterday.

“There is a powerful opportunity inside the dot-mil domain for these tools,” Carey said in a speech hosted by the market research firm Input.

DOD officials need to figure out where it is appropriate for information on the Unclassified but Sensitive IP Router Network to be shared with social networking tools on the public Internet, Carey said.

For example, military public affairs and recruiting staff members need to use social networking on the public Internet, he said. “But as far as the work-based environment, is it better to have all that stuff inside the family?” Carey asked.

Meanwhile, numerous media reports that the Marine Corps banned social networking on all of its official computers and networks is not accurate, Carey said. Rather, that service's policy mirrors the limited use of the Web tools Carey described.

The Marine Corps "allows social networking for the folks they’ve designated need it,” Carey said. “So public affairs and recruiters have access.”

Carey traveled to Stanford University last week where he met with social networking technology providers that included LinkedIn and MySpace. He had to explain to the company officials that even though some Navy information is not classified; it still should not be broadcast over the Internet.

Whether, and how, the social networking companies will provide their technology for the DOD’s private use hasn't been decided, Carey said.

“We expect to meet in September and try and move on with that,” he said. “So stay tuned.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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