DOD releases first departmentwide social media coverage  | Article

WASHINGTON — The Protection Division as we speak launched a coverage that for the primary time spells out, from the very best ranges of the protection neighborhood, how DOD army and civilian personnel ought to use official social media accounts to greatest advance the mission of the U.S. army and additional instill belief within the credibility of the DOD.

DOD Instruction 5400.17, titled “Official Use of Social Media for Public Affairs Functions,” offers ideas for social media use inside DOD, route relating to information administration procedures for social media accounts, and steering to make sure private social media accounts aren’t misrepresented or misinterpreted as official accounts.

The Protection Division launched a brand new coverage that, for the primary time, spells out how army and civilian personnel should use social media to greatest advance the mission of the U.S. army and to keep away from pitfalls that might harm the division’s credibility.
(Picture Credit score: U.S. Air Pressure picture by Patrick Buffett)


Whereas a number of the army providers and different businesses printed social media insurance policies years in the past, DODI 5400.17 is the division’s first instruction that supplied Pentagon-level, departmentwide steering that particularly addresses using social media. The DOD chief info officer beforehand issued DODI 8170.01, “On-line Data Administration and Digital Messaging,” to offer broad coverage steering on the safe and applicable use of social media. The brand new coverage particularly addresses public affairs makes use of and duties.

“It is lengthy overdue,” Andy Oare, director of digital media for the Workplace of the Secretary of Protection, mentioned. “There have been efforts previously to do that, however in a company of this measurement and magnitude, you must absolutely coordinate and guarantee all viewpoints are heard and represented. We needed to verify the providers had been collaborators from the very starting.”

As a result of social media adjustments quickly, Oare mentioned insurance policies that the division might have began creating previously however had by no means finalized would rapidly present their age. That will not occur with the newly printed instruction, and he careworn that this coverage will likely be regularly refined and up to date primarily based on the evolving social media panorama.

“We’ll work throughout the division to be agile and responsive in our day-to-day operations as we implement this coverage and replace it the place and once we ought to,” Oare mentioned.

“Social media has an impact on each certainly one of our service members, civilians, contractors and their households — whether or not they run an official account or have by no means heard of Twitter,” Oare mentioned. “We owe it to all of them to have one central coverage that gives a clearly articulated commonplace of operation and accountability.”

The DOD social media coverage applies to Workplace of the Secretary of Protection personnel, the army departments, the Workplace of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers and the Joint Workers, the combatant instructions, and different DOD places of work and businesses. In some instances, this implies the brand new coverage will supersede preexisting social media insurance policies, however shut coordination all through its improvement ensured that every one views had been thought-about and built-in.

“We intentionally wrote it in a collaborative method, and it encourages part heads to proceed establishing component-specific social media rules,” Oare mentioned. “Our intention is to not be prescriptive or restrictive, however moderately to put out some commonsense guidelines that merely haven’t been formally articulated at this stage.”

Along with detailing the roles and duties of DOD management in imposing accountable social media practices, the brand new coverage provides steering to division personnel who generate content material on official social media platforms to make sure accountable use of the medium, key components to think about when establishing a brand new presence or increasing into new platforms, and on the authority to shut unused accounts.

“If social media is mismanaged or mishandled, the U.S. authorities’s repute with the American public; relationships with interagency, worldwide, state, native and tribal entities; army operations; and repute for a excessive moral {and professional} commonplace could also be compromised,” the coverage warns social media practitioners.

The steering in DODI 5400.17 is supposed to make sure DOD’s credibility and keep away from controversy, whereas utilizing social media to share its missions with the general public, Oare mentioned.

“In a digital world the place traces of fact and authenticity are so typically blurred, it’s vital that establishments like us have trusted, verifiable and dependable presences,” Oare mentioned. “We’ve an obligation to the American individuals to indicate the work we’re doing, to inform the story of our service members, and to current that info although channels they use of their day by day lives.”

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