To ensure DoD networks are available for combat operations and critical support activities, the Department issued a directive May 14 that prohibits DoD computers from accessing specific recreational web sites. The measure preserves military bandwidth for operational missions and enhances DoD computer network security.
The selection of these particular sites was based on the volume of traffic moving from official DoD networks to the Internet. The sites include: YouTube; 1.fm; Pandora; MySpace; PhotoBucket; Live365; hi5; Metacafe; MTV; ifilm.com; Blackplanet; stupidvideos; and filecabi. Additional sites may be added in the future as part of ongoing efforts to ensure DoD networks have sufficient throughput available to conduct operational and supporting missions as well as enhance DoD network security.
This directive does not prohibit any individual, including DoD personnel or their families, from posting to or accessing these sites from personal or commercial network providers; it only restricts the use of DoD computer network resources to access these sites.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, many of these sites as well as others have been blocked by DoD for more than two years, some for as long as four years. Consequently, this directive does not prevent deployed DoD personnel from communicating with family members or loved ones. There are a wide variety of commercial communication services such as e-mail, telephone calls and video teleconferencing at many locations in Southwest Asia. In addition, the Army Knowledge Online/Defense Knowledge Online network is available to military members and their families providing a rich information sharing environment, including email, file sharing (pictures, videos, and documents), discussion forums (blogging), instant messaging chatrooms, and video messaging.
Commercial Internet services are also provided by DoD Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) facilities, which are widely available throughout Iraq and Afghanistan and are not affected by this directive. Deployed personnel can access recreational Internet web sites from Internet cafes and other facilities in many locations around the world. These alternative sites do not rely on military bandwidth.