Marines restore access to online documents

The Marine Corps has reposted electronic doctrine documents after taking them off-line about a year ago.

The restoration follows a March 6 Freedom of Information Act request sent by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) for soft copies of the unclassified documents.

Although the original Web site -- http://www.doctrine.quantico.uscm.mil/ -- is still down, many of the doctrine documents are available to the public through the main Marines site, in the publications section.

The Marines have not uploaded all of the documents, but in a response letter to FAS, Capt. E.C. Snyder said that “publications are actively being [loaded] onto this site as soon as possible.”

FAS sent a similar request to gain access to the contents of the Army’s Reimer Digital Library. In early February, the Army placed the library behind its Army Knowledge Online firewall, effectively cutting off public access. The federation issued a request to access the information under FOIA and began mirroring the documents on the FAS Web site.

The Army eventually reopened public access to the library March 6.

“There seems to be a natural bureaucratic tendency to restrict access to information,” said Steven Aftergood, senior research analyst and head of the Project on Government Secrecy at FAS. “Unless someone speaks up, lots of stuff gets squirreled away behind password-protected portals.”

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