Insurgents are exploiting soldiers' Internet postings, Army warns

WASHINGTON—During World War II the biggest operational security fear was gossip. Posters warned "Loose lips sink ships." Today the leaders worry about an Army in which virtually every soldier has a digital camera and easy access to the Internet.

For the second time in a year, Army leaders have sent a strong warning to all commanders that soldiers are continuing to post sensitive information on Web sites that "the enemy reads and exploits" for use against U.S. forces.

The August memo was headlined "Chief of Staff of the Army OPSEC (Operational Security) Guidance." In it, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker demanded that everyone Army-wide do a better job at training soldiers and policing operational security violations that "needlessly place lives at risk and degrade the effectiveness of our operations."

The Army chief's unclassified memo specified the Internet postings of such sensitive information as "photos depicting weapon system vulnerabilities, and tactics, techniques and procedures."

"Leaders at all levels must take charge of this issue and get the message down to the lowest levels," Schoomaker wrote. He added that Army Intelligence (G-2) was developing a training module and mobile training teams to get the word out.

Schoomaker added that Army headquarters and G-2 also would begin to track and report on a quarterly basis "open source OPSEC violations." He wrote that within 30 days, the Army would publish changes to its operational security regulations that deal with Internet postings of sensitive photos and material.

Noting that his deputy, Gen. Richard A. Cody, had circulated a similar strong warning in February, apparently without the desired results, Schoomaker added: "Get the word out and focus on this issue now. I expect to see immediate improvement."