Letter: Restricting network use is a disservice to our troops

A reader says DOD has the tools to protect sensitive data without sacrificing the sanity of deployed troops by taking away their access to the outside world.

Regarding “DOD considers prohibiting personal use of networks”: To consider this proposal would be a disservice to our brothers and sisters alike, as it would be very difficult to find the fair balance the article describes without encouraging military administrators to sway toward higher Internet or even more bandwidth restrictions.

Although the idea is sincere, the implemented policy as stated would severely affect morale, recreation and productivity for deployed ground and fleet forces, who depend on the Internet for news, independent study, entertainment and personal e-mail communications. It is limited now as it is. Where the Defense Department is concerned, shared systems should be unauthorized and separated from public infrastructures and domains anyway, if they are not already.

And as for our deployed troops, this resource has become a daily need just to survive the arduous challenges of combat isolation and the emotional rigors associated with deployment. Although it is unfortunate that some decide to abuse the given bandwidth or violate network use policy, it should be the site administrators’ and security managers’ job to oversee, train and deter this sort of misuse. And they must hold each service member or civilian contractor accountable for his or her actions.

This technological lifesaver can be used to a force’s advantage, especially when the enemy is doing the same. When I was deployed to sea 18 years ago, we did not have this important resource. Yes, we survived, but the crew was forced to consume whatever media was available via snail mail, television or the military news service, which was inherently limited or locally censored. Today, we have the network-defensive posture and the means necessary to protect and limit sensitive data traffic without sacrificing our troops’ sanity.

DISA can adapt and overcome without considering possible ultimatums. Think outside the box -- just ask DARPA.

S. Miller
Navy


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