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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
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.
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.
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.
US Marine Sgt Gary Stein, who will be discharged for his Facebook comments about the President, has expressed regret. While maintaining he’s being used as an example and treated unfairly, he also says he wished he’d phrased things differently: Continue reading →
[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 →