Bill Chaplin of EDS: The military and web 2.0 “” what’s next

Bill Chaplin of EDS: The military and web 2.0 “” what's next - top government contractors - best government contracting event

WEB 2.0 & MILITARY | Recently, we all heard the US Marine Corps banned the use of Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace for its active soldiers. So far, the reaction is mixed. “Banning such innovation seems like an archaic, knee-jerk response and I imagine in the not-to-distant future the militaries of [a] country like the US or UK would have more success embracing social media, rather than a blanket ban,” writes Dan Leahul over at Brand Republic’s daily blog. Meanwhile, Jennifer Jones writes that the ban comes on the heels of a report late last chaplinyear from the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Huachuca in Arizona; it  outlined how Twitter could be used as a tool for terrorists. So, where does the current ban leave future efforts to integrate web 2.0 into the military? For the latest snapshot on the issue, which we last reported on here, we turned to Bill Chaplin, a vice president and the US Marine Corps account director at EDS. Here’s his take.

ExecutiveBiz: What’s your take on the Marine Corps’ decision to ban social network websites on its networks?

Bill Chaplin: Based on our work with the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), EDS, an HP company fully understands the highest priority Marines place on information security. We also know the policy decision to ban social networking websites was made after a thorough, deliberate review of security requirements balanced against mission needs for social networking tools. The ban protects Marines“™ data and networks from the hackers and malicious code developers who target the military from every possible channel.

ExecutiveBiz: What else should we keep in mind about the Marine Corps’ decision?

Bill Chaplin: Something that should not be lost amidst the discussion of the ban is that the Marines can simply “flip a switch“ and turn off access “” across the entire enterprise “” to social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook. In essence, as a result of investments they and the Navy have made in creating an enterprise IT environment, Marines have the technical ability to make command and control decisions, selectively or uniformly across their networks. This enables the Marines to manage risk by rapidly implementing information technology policy changes for all end users.

ExecutiveBiz: What role should web 2.0 play within the U.S. military?

Bill Chaplin: The agile and adaptive collaboration and information sharing capabilities that underlie social networking services are of enormous potential benefit to the military for more than their morale and recruiting benefits. For many of today’s young leaders, these tools reflect the way they process information, build knowledge, and sustain trust relationships. Publicly accessible sites are probably not well suited to all potential applications. In any case, because the threats and vulnerabilities continue to evolve in the network environment, it would seem important that DOD leaders in general have the ability to act to manage the risks associated with these and future tools as they assess their priorities and circumstances “” just as the Marine Corps has done.
ExecutiveBiz: Turning to our readers “” the government contracting community “” what role, if any, can or should they play in any future adoption of web 2.0 by the military?

Bill Chaplin: Right now, the Department of Defense is reviewing its policy on social networking sites. It would be helpful for industry to provide options that would enable the multiple potential uses of these technologies consistent with the security posture the DOD intends to sustain.  As it is, EDS ‘  priority is to ensure that mission owners have the ability to operate securely and we are working with HP and our industry partners to come up with innovative solutions that manage risk and support the mission while maintaining security.

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