Letter: Restricting network use could have unintended consequences

Regarding “DOD considers prohibiting personal use of networks”: The impact of this proposal on industry depends on the definition of purely official Defense Department business. In defining appropriate uses of DOD networks, DOD must beware of unintended consequences.

For example, many contractor employees working on-site at DOD facilities use government-furnished computers/networks to log onto corporate Web sites at the end of each day to complete timesheets. Daily timesheet completion is mandated by the Defense Contract Audit Agency and is usually a contractual requirement. But even in the current environment, overzealous information security officers at some commands have attempted to prohibit this use of DOD networks for "unofficial business."  

If this practice were to be banned throughout DOD, contractors would have to find some alternative means of gathering timesheet data that satisfies both DCAA and the information security office. All of the alternatives are more costly, and at the end of the day, DOD would end up footing the bill.

This is only the first example that comes to mind of an unintended consequence of an overzealous restriction on the use of DOD networks and government-furnished equipment.

John Oakes
Virginia Beach, Va.


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