Tag Archives: facebook

Commander Threatens Soldier for Religious Facebook Post

As noted at FoxNews, a Colorado Springs-based US servicemember posted her opinion on Facebook — and has been threatened by her commander as a result:

The soldier, who is an evangelical Christian, said she returned home from church on Sunday and was watching a documentary about a minister who endorsed homosexuality…

Her Facebook message read:

A lot ticked off, now to all my gay friends you know I care about you so don’t think otherwise. I’m watching this documentary and this gay guy went to a church and the Pastor was telling him that he needs to embrace his way and know that it is not a sin. Ok umm wow, dude it is. I’m sick of people making Gods word what it’s not. Yes God loves you as a person but He hates the sin. Tired of hearing about Pastors being ok with homosexuality.

She was reportedly told to

either remove the post or face a reduction in rank and pay.

There is contradictory information about whether she is an Airman or a Soldier, which may be just as well, as she wasn’t seeking to make a public statement and actually asked Fox to pull the article, which it did for a short time.  She appears to have substantial Continue reading

US Army Updates Social Media Policy

The US Army has released an updated Social Media Handbook, though it largely focused on official military media actions.  Notably, an accompanying article seemed to align Army policy with previously released Air Force guidance:

Soldiers must maintain their professionalism at all times, even on their off time, said Sweetnam.

They are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and could face corrective or disciplinary action if Continue reading

Military Reviews Moral Solutions to Causes of Sexual Assault

Two Air Force JAGs, Major Ken Artz and 1Lt Peter Smyczek wrote a fascinating article that supported General Mark Welsh’s assertion that the accepted culture is part of the sexual assault problem in the military.  Entitled “Sexual Assaults in the Military: Porn is Part of the Problem,” their piece began with a simple statement [emphasis added]:

If our military is to lower its rate of sex crimes, it must limit its members’ consumption of pornography and educate them about its risks.

The JAGs point out that the Air Force must address the underlying behaviors that lead to sexual assault — not merely attack the Continue reading

JAG: Military May Not be able to Ban Offensive Websites

In the middle of the ongoing discussion about US military troops and their use of social media comes an interesting piece at the Marine Corps Times, where former military JAGs make the case that the Marines may not be able to police troops’ use of certain websites, despite their implication they may try to do so.

The impetus behind the discussion are generally certain Facebook pages that were denigrating toward female Marines.  Said General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps:

In a May 29 letter to Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Gen. Jim Amos denounced Facebook pages and other social media Continue reading

DoD Policies Protect Civil Liberties in Social Media

At times, the military has struggled with how to deal with social media, banning access to it from government computers at one point, then specifically allowing access to Facebook at another.  In the same vein, some servicemembers have had adverse action over their activities on the internet, including a Marine discharged over comments about President Obama and a Twitter ‘oops’ by another Marine — while the military simultaneously encourages its troops to “engage” in social media for family, health, morale, and even public relations reasons.

A recent statement by the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office attempted to lend more thought to the sometimes confusing area, noting that servicemembers are free to express themselves, within some fairly liberal limits:  Continue reading

USAFA Cadets Argue for Obama Re-Election

In an era of increased sensitivity toward the US military and politics (from Facebook to reprimand to discharge), it was unusual to read a report in which US Air Force Academy cadets participated in a debate on the presidential candidates, calling for the re-election of their Commander-in-Chief:

The event, held Oct. 29, in the heat of the run-up to the presidential Continue reading

New Rules: US Troops Banned from Political Facebook Pages

If you’re a member of the US military and you’ve ever Facebook “Liked” President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney, you’d better pay attention, because the Department of Defense just issued guidance that restricts that very thing.

Contrary to the conclusions of a prior article, the US DoD has just recently published official guidance on “political activities” in association with social media, and they’re fairly explicit.  The undated but very recently released “2012 Public Affairs Guidance for Political Campaigns and Elections” says:

  • You can express yourself on issues and candidates:

An [active duty] Service member may generally express his or her own personal views on public issues or political candidates via social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or personal Blogs, much the same as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper.

Military Guidance on Politics, Facebook Muddied by Commentary

Update: Based on new information, some conclusions in this article have been updated here.

Every now and then members of the military post official articles that might best be understood as “public service announcements” for their fellow troops.  They often cover high interest issues (like politics, social media, and religion, see below) or regulations that are the topic du jour.  Unfortunately, because these articles carry no weight (unless they are written by a senior Air Force leader issuing official guidance), they can often add confusion to the issue they mean to clarify — especially if they’re wrong. 

For example, a Public Affairs troop recently wrote “Rock the vote, but beware of guidelines,” which was a combination of encouraging voting while cautioning on the restrictions on political activity:  Continue reading

Marines Remove Video Making Example of Tea Party Marine

The US Marines have removed a “public service announcement” they had published that used the case of former Marine Sgt Gary Stein as an example of what not to do in an election year.

Mike Barton, deputy director of public affairs at Cherry Point, said featuring Stein’s story in its PSA was meant to serve as a cautionary tale Continue reading

Fort Bragg Atheists Test Military Politicking Rules

Some may have assumed that with a Democratic President (and the stereotype that the US military leans Republican/conservative), most of those testing the limits of permissible political activities or commentary would be “right wing” or conservatives.

They would be wrong.

The blog for the Rock Beyond Belief event organized by Justin Griffith at Fort Bragg recently posted an article about North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which would modify the NC State Constitution to say the only domestic legal union in the state is Continue reading

Marine to be Discharged over Facebook Posts

US Marine Sgt. Gary Stein will reportedly be administratively separated with an “Other than Honorable” discharge as a result of his “political” Facebook activities:

The Commanding General for Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego…has approved the board’s recommendation that Sgt. Stein be separated from the Marine Corps with an “other than honorable” discharge.

The Sgt’s case is so high profile the Marines took the unusual step of Continue reading

Marines Recommend Reg Review, Discharge for Facebook Marine

The US Marine’s top lawyer has recommended the Department of Defense update its policies on political activities to reflect social media.

[Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary's] letter stated that Marine Corps staff was being instructed to contact the Defense Department to recommend an update to “provide service members with additional guidance on how to use social media in a responsible manner.”

The Marine Times notes the likely reason for the call for policy change: Continue reading

Judge Denies Injunction for Facebook Marine

Joined by the ACLU, US Marine Sgt Gary Stein sued the US military yesterday seeking an injunction that would prevent or delay the Marines’ effort to discharge him.  Judge Marilyn Huff denied the injunction he requested, saying he did not show he would suffer irreparable harm from the separation board, which leaves open the possibility he can gain an injunction should the board recommend discharge.

His administrative discharge hearing is scheduled for today, though an actual decision by the responsible authority would likely occur later.

The lawsuit can be viewed here.  Within it, Stein makes interesting allegations, Continue reading

Congressman Calls on Military to Keep Facebook Marine

US Rep Duncan Hunter, R-CA, has called on Col Christopher Dowling to end the administrative discharge proceedings against Marine Sgt Gary Stein.  Dowling had recommended Stein be administratively separated after he allegedly violated the UCMJ in his activities on Facebook.

Hunter, a Marine reservist and combat veteran, sent a letter to Col. Christopher Dowling on Tuesday urging the Corps to withdraw the discharge proceedings against Stein.

The board was supposed to meet last Saturday but was rescheduled to later this week.