A Quick Word about the Ethics of Social Media

I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays and your well-earned time off. (I know; you’re really working on your MMSes, but I’d like to encourage you to take at least a few days off!). I’m passing an interview I did today with the exceptional website Blogs of War on the ethics of national security and social media. I follow Blogs of War on twitter and they have become my first stop for breaking news and multi-perspective analysis. If you’re looking for quick updates on what’s going on in the world, I recommend them to you. (You don’t actually have to join twitter; just bookmark the URL.)

I won’t mention here what motivated me to start tweeting about the issue of discretion in social media (which is what prompted the interview), since, well, it would violate the premise of what I argue: Just because something is open source doesn’t mean we should share it. As we all know, leaked classified material does not become open source once it’s leaked, so obviously, we should never — ever — share it, even if it’s in an article we’re reading in the New York Times.

I admit I take a very conservative position on this issue; I’d love your thoughts and suggestions for how to move my thinking — and our work at the College — forward.

Dr. Johnson


What Is War? A Debate (Or … Something You Wish You’d Read before the Comp)

There was an interesting piece published in the Small Wars Journal Wednesday on the potentially changing nature of war (sound familiar?). In “What Is War? A New Point of View” LtCol Jill Long, a student at the Army War College, argues that “[w]ar is no longer a discrete action of armed conflict but a continuum of engagement in order to limit the dissonance between a nation’s will and that of other state and non-state actors.”

Jason Fritz, Army vet turned consultant, counters LtCol Long in a post over at Ink Spots (a blog you should add to your regular reading, btw), arguing “[t]he world is bleak enough without calling all state activities “war,” nor is it helpful in understanding what war actually is.”

Since this question of the enduring nature and changing character of war hits center mass of one of your comp questions from last week, I wanted to share this exchange with you. First, these questions are important and smart people can disagree in their responses. Second, the level of discourse and depth of reasoning found in these two (very brief) pieces is where we’re moving you this year. (Yes, I know that’s passive voice, CG1; I did it on purpose.) Don’t just read these pieces for their arguments; take a minute and look at how they structure their logic and develop their positions.

Dr. Johnson