Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Overkill on the USS Ronald Reagan

Originally uploaded by POONDOG.
Did you hear about the YouTube video produced by a young enlisted sailor on the USS Ronald Reagan?

Steve Liewer of the San Diego Union-Tribune notes Navy stops video on YouTube.

Navy spokesman LCDR Charlie Brown said,
The video was a lighthearted and positive depiction of the service of women officers and sailors aboard aircraft carriers and in Navy squadrons. It showed the good humor and camaraderie of the ship's crew.
Nonetheless, Navy brass pulled the plug on the video.
The four-minute, 18-second music clip, titled “Women of CVN76: 'That Don't Impress Me Much,' ” was posted May 23 on the popular Web site for videos. It was viewed more than 31,000 times before its removal last week – reportedly at the urging of Adm. Kirkland Donald, the Navy's director of nuclear propulsion.
Two reasons for the removal of the video are provided. First, the video shows
fleeting shots of the door to the ship's nuclear power plant and of a sailor dancing while wearing a full-body radiation suit – items that might alarm the Navy's nuclear-propulsion officials, who are hypersensitive about the security. Under Pentagon rules, images of any part of a ship's nuclear plant cannot be shown to foreign nationals.
The second reason is "the 'lack of propriety' in a few scenes involving the use of safety equipment."

A crock, if you ask me. The real reason is simple: fear. The Navy, along with other military services, fear the lack of control from Web 2.0 tools. They want to be able to vet every image in the public eye. It's not operational security so much as it is control.

I know as I've received flack for some of my postings here and elsewhere, and it's about control. People I work for have been pressured to shut me up. Some have buckled, and others have stood firm understanding that operational security is one thing, but everything else is, well, something else. If we are to embrace transparency, then we must embrace transparency.

I find it interesting that a video which is supposedly positive in nature (and, I say "supposedly' since I have not been able to find the video online to actually watch myself; I'm relying on Commander Brown's assessment, and we know what happens when the fact checking gets put on the back burner) would be killed. Ask the young enlisted member to change a few shots which might be sensitive in nature, and blast the puppy back out to the world. Embrace; don't censor.


  1. Here's something you might not know: the CO and XO themselves approved the video as well as took part in it. It was something fun that the female officers of Reactor Dept. and various squadron officers put together as an end-of-cruise gag. It's a shame, too, I work with the LT. who put the video together and she's probably one of the most wonderful people I've ever met.