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U.S. military is playing catch-up in digital media war, says Prof. James Carafano

Here is a not-so-secret secret: America’s Army in Europe is putting out a contract to scour social networks for information that would “identify violent extremist influences” worth worrying about.

But that’s not all. The command also wants information that will help it “engage with local populations” and “build interagency partnerships.”

And by the way, the scope of the contract extends beyond Europe, the command’s specific “area of responsibility.” It’s looking for “influences” that might come from Latin America, Russia, Africa or Asia as well.

It didn’t take some whistleblower pirating details from a classified hard drive to reveal this ambitious program. The information comes from an unclassified notice to potential contractors posted on the General Services Administration web site.

It’s no surprise that the military wants to take social networking to the Long War. Digital media tools have been transforming almost everything from how we pray to how we buy. It was only a matter to time before Twitter was brought to bear on matters of war and peace.

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