AMCOM Embraces Social Media Venues
September 18, 2009
- "Social media is the most effective and least expensive tool to reach the largest audience possible."
- "We recognize the importance of engaging on social media platforms, such as those where AMCOM is engaged."
- "We are here on these platforms because in our absence other mostly well-intentioned people are speaking on behalf of the Army anyway.
- "It's important to understand, that while the Army and AMCOM has released access to social media sites, there are still restrictions."
The Aviation and Missile Command can now be found on two popular social media sites, Facebook and Twitter.
"Social media is the most effective and least expensive tool to reach the largest audience possible," Ginger Stephens, AMCOM chief of Public and Congressional Affairs, said. "It allows us to quickly and efficiently update our troops, work force, and the general public on what's going on at the Aviation and Missile Command. It also serves as a great recruiting tool, showing the younger generation that the Army is up on the current trends and actually ahead of the curve."
AMCOM's mission is quite simple: to get the Soldier what they need, before they need it, in order to do their job. This includes the fielding and sustainment of new or upgraded weapons and aviation platforms.
"We recognize the importance of engaging on social media platforms, such as those where AMCOM is engaged," Lt. Col. Kevin Arata, chief of the newly established Army Public Affairs Online and Social Media Division, said. "This is how and where our audience gets much of their news."
The AMCOM/Garrison Public and Congressional Affairs Office began work on the various sites in May. AMCOM's Facebook and Twitter pages contain stories and photos of recent news and events, as well as a calendar of upcoming events.
"We are here on these platforms because in our absence other mostly well-intentioned people are speaking on behalf of the Army anyway. Our official presence on these sites fills that void with the Army's official voice," Arata said.
Several news outlets have recently reported various military organizations' concerns over potential operations security issues that arise from use of social media sites. The Army is reviewing its policies on social media, and has not changed guidance or regulations regarding social media access. Ultimately, commanders are responsible for enforcing the standards of discipline within their command and must remain vigilant, ensuring that their personnel receive proper training and education that prevents the public release of unauthorized information, or unauthorized access to Army networks.
"It's important to understand, that while the Army and AMCOM has released access to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo, there are still restrictions on what you can do on those sites," Kim Henry, deputy for Public and Congressional Affairs, said. "The short explanation is that you shouldn't do anything that allows peer-to-peer access to your work desktop or laptop. Activities such as playing games open up the network for increased OPSEC threats."
The 93rd Signal Brigade and the Redstone Directorate of Information Management provided the following reminders:
Aca,!Ac The use of commercial ISP or e-mail accounts for official purposes is prohibited. (All official Army business will be conducted using your .mil e-mail account only.)
Aca,!Ac The use of the Internet and/or e-mail resources for personal reasons will be used before or after your work hours, during lunch or other authorized breaks.
Aca,!Ac All personnel must prevent disclosure of critical and sensitive information in any public domain (to include the worldwide web).
Aca,!Ac Use of a government system is monitored at all times, and use must not reflect adversely on the Army.
The bottom line is you should not post critical or sensitive information (such as that marked FOUO) to public websites. And use your AKO/ Redstone e-mail account for all Army business.
If you have questions about what is approved or allowed, you should discuss those concerns with your supervisor.
As with all new technologies and trends, there are always changes and learning curves. But while we wait for the official Army guidance, we can continue, safely, to enjoy social media sites. Just practice vigilance and common sense.
AMCOM can be accessed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Huntsville-AL/Aviation-and-Missile-Command-AMCOM/87842753429, and Twitter at http://twitter.com/usarmyamcom.