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Air Force allows social media access

American Forces Press Service

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Air Force officials began a two-week phased opening April 26 of access to social media sites Air Force-wide.

Pacific Air Forces bases gained access to social media sites earlier in April, serving as the test-bed prior to the Air Force-wide initiative.

Air Force Space Command, Air Education and Training Command and Air Mobility Command bases will begin getting access to social media sites April 26. Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command, Air Force Materiel Command, Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Force Special Operations Command and United States Air Forces in Europe will get access beginning May 1. During the final phase, Air National Guard bases will get access beginning Thursday.

It will take up to five business days to open up every base in each major command because technicians in the Integrated Network Operations and Security Centers responsible for opening social media access must account for the different major command network infrastructures. They also must allow members of the Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team to provide required services to each MAJCOM as they are granted access.

“Twenty-Fourth Air Force (officials) determined the best way to implement access to Internet-based capabilities was to follow the standard practice of allowing the 624th Operations Center, working in conjunction with the INOSCs, to determine who gets the upgrade first based on mission requirements,” said Brig. Gen. David B. Warner, AFSPC communications and information director and chief information officer. “The INOSCs have the most in-depth knowledge of the network infrastructures within each MAJCOM and thus can initiate changes in the most efficient way possible.

“Due to the importance of allowing access to more Internet-based capabilities for communication and collaboration, we are working to strike a balance between maintaining a safe and tightly controlled network while allowing airmen to have the access they need to get information and conduct business,” Warner continued. “We are diligently working with communications and information experts at 24th Air Force and the INOSCs to assure the mission, while ensuring a standardized roll-out and maintaining the appropriate level of security.”

Providing access to social media sites from Air Force government computers meets the intent of Department of Defense Directive-Type Memorandum 09-026 — Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-based Capabilities, issued Feb. 25.

“As we leverage these new technologies, it is imperative that all Air Force personnel practice safe online activity to protect the network,” said Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander. “The Air Force views the use of social media sites as a positive way to communicate and conduct business. Social media and other emerging technologies provide an increasingly important means of communication and collaboration. Providing more open access will allow the Air Force to communicate more effectively to all Air Force personnel, their families and external audiences.”

Various Air Force and DOD regulations provide guidance for airmen using social media on government networks. Personal use of social media sites must be of reasonable duration and frequency that have been approved by supervisors and do not adversely affect performance of official duties, overburden systems or reflect adversely on the Air Force.