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As AFNET opens doors to social networking sites, AMC officials stress importance of cyber security

  • Published
  • By Mark Diamond
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
This month, as the Air Force opens its network to Internet-based capabilities, including social networking services, AMC leaders say it's important Airmen always keep Operations Security, network protection, and professionalism at the forefront.

On March 30, the Air Force opened the network to Internet-based social networking sites at five Pacific Air Forces bases and will begin opening sites Air Force-wide later this month. The Air Force's implementation plan will allow access while still ensuring the Air Force maintains a tight and secure network to defend against malicious activity to safeguard the missions that depend on cyberspace.

In today's age of Internet media, Airmen have access to new Internet-based capabilities which allow them to easily and quickly share information with people throughout the world. However, AMC officials said that with these great new capabilities comes an even greater personal and professional responsibility.

AMC officials listed several areas Airmen, whether on or off duty, need to pay particular attention to when communicating via the Internet:

1. Operations Security (OPSEC) and Information Security (INFOSEC) - Do not post classified or sensitive information. If unsure, do not post the information until you speak with your supervisor, your unit Security or OPSEC manager, or your local Public Affairs office. In brief, do not discuss specific names, dates, times or locations in relation to Air Force operations.

2. Do not reveal information that could suggest troop movements, system information, weapons information, military organization, or other valuable intelligence to a potential adversary. Although some information is not classified, sensitive information may provide small pieces to a larger puzzle that would be useful to our adversaries. In other words, seemingly innocent information, when combined, may reveal valuable intelligence to our enemies.

3. Do not post defamatory, libelous, vulgar, obscene, abusive, profane, threatening, hateful, racially, ethnically, or otherwise offensive or illegal information or material.

4. In addition to protecting information, you must do your part to protect the Air Force Network (AFNET) from malicious attacks (i.e., viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, etc.), which can significantly disrupt operations. For instance, when visiting social networking sites or commercial Web sites, beware of unfamiliar links, downloads, attachments, "apps" or plugins which could contain malicious code intended to jeopardize the security of your computer. Additionally, do not permit anything to run on your computer that you did not install or that you don't understand - it may be malicious code.

5. When posting photos of military personnel in uniform, ensure all safety and uniform dress and appearance policies and guidelines are adhered to (i.e., personal protective gear is worn, restricted area badges removed, uniform is worn correctly, etc.).

6. Avoid posting photos of military personnel in social situations that highlight or promote the use of alcoholic beverages or other situations that may bring discredit to AMC or the Air Force.

7. Airmen discussing issues related to their career field or a personal experience is acceptable, but they should be careful not to imply that they have expertise in areas for which they have no first-hand, direct background or knowledge.

8. Do not use any words, logos or other marks that would infringe upon the trademark, service mark, certificate mark, or other intellectual property rights of the owners of such marks without the permission of such owners.

9. Do not post any information that would infringe upon the propriety, privacy, or personal rights of others.

10. Avoid revealing too much personal information about yourself in social spaces. Be aware of any personal information you release, such as family names, addresses and birthdates, travel plans, etc.

11. If posting something that is questionable and may reflect negatively on the Air Force, review this and other relevant guidance thoroughly. If still unsure, and the post is about the Air Force, discuss the proposed post with your supervisor or your local Public Affairs (PA) office. Ultimately, Airmen are individually accountable for what they post.

12. Department of Defense computer systems are provided only for authorized U.S. Government use and limited personal use. In describing "limited personal use," officials said it must be of reasonable duration and frequency that has been approved by supervisors and does not adversely affect performance of official duties, overburden systems, or reflect adversely on the Air Force. For a complete description of "appropriate use," see AFI 33-129, Paragraph 2.

When posting information to the Web - especially information concerning Air Force operations, programs or activities - officials said every Airman is responsible for his or her own conduct. Airmen are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and their actions - on and off duty - are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Officials added that Airmen, by the nature of the business, are always on the record and must always represent the core values: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all they do.

For more information, contact your local public affairs office or communications squadron representative, and refer to Air Force and DOD guidance: AFI 35-113, Chapter 15, Social Media; AFI 33-129 (Section 2), Use of Internet Resources by Government Employees; AFI 35-107, Public Web Communications; or DoDD 5500.7-R, Joint Ethics Regulation, subsection 2-301, Use of Federal Government Resources.