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Twitter, Facebook Finally Freed as US Military Lets Stationed Soldiers Sign On

Social networking sites may offer a plenitude of distractions for us civilian folk. But in the U.S. military, apparently, the potential benefits of sites like Twitter and Facebook far outweigh any downsides.

After an expansive, seven-month review conducted by the Defense Department, the Pentagon has decided to allow soldiers and military civilian leaders to use social networking and blogging sites as a means of facilitating communication, recruitment, and collaboration across ranks. Though the new initiative means that sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter will now be unblocked on the military's non-classified network, it also allows for commanders to suspend access to these sites as a security measure, or as a means to preserve bandwidth for more urgent use. The Pentagon originally blocked many of these sites back in 2007, claiming that they dragged down the network. But, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Information Technology David Wennergren told CBS News, "We need to take advantage of these capabilities that are out there -- this Web 2.0 phenomena." Wennergren also stressed safety, though, saying, "The idea is be responsible and use these tools to help get the job done." (Pornography, in case any of you soldiers were wondering, will remain blocked.)

As with any military operation, security is paramount. At a time when most of us use social networking to keep in touch with our distant relatives (or, for that matter, next door neighbors), it only makes sense that the men and women stationed in the most dangerous parts of the world should be able to do the same. [From: CBS News]

Tags: facebook, military, MilitaryTech, SocialNetworking, soldiers, top, twitter, web, Web2.0