10 Interesting Ways U.S. Troops Have Used the Internet

It stands to reason that a communications and information tool as powerful as the internet would be employed in numerous inventive ways by our nation’s military. Today we’ll look at some of those applications. Here are 10 interesting ways that U.S. troops have used the internet:

  1. Spy by Proxy – In March of 2011 it was revealed that the U.S. military had developed software that would allow them to create fake social media profiles, which would then be used to infiltrate terrorist sites and monitor anti-American websites.
  2. Recruitment – The U.S. military has also set up bona fide profiles for the purposes of recruitment. As social media members, they participated in forums, blogs and RSS feeds to stay in touch with potential recruits. Downloadable apps are also available.
  3. Scale Model – The military has developed a scaled down version of the internet, essentially for target practice. It will simulate cyber-attacks on the dummy version to test its counter-measures for the real deal.
  4. YouTube – Troops are able to communicate quickly and inexpensively by uploading video to their YouTube accounts, where family and friends can be kept apprised of their loved ones overseas.
  5. Video Teleconferencing (VTC) – Family Readiness Centers provide video conferencing systems so that troops can communicate directly with their families.
  6. Flickr – Along with other internet services, troops have been able to share the war with those of us back home in unfiltered, and unprecedented ways.
  7. Stress Relief – As such, these internet venues which provide contact with troops’ families are also affording them a therapeutic outlet. The ability to stay in contact with family and share experiences with such immediacy is, for many troops, a means to help stay grounded in a war zone.
  8. War Porn – Unfortunately, the news is not all good. There have been some cases of a few U.S. troops who have posted, or exchanged in return for memberships or privileges, explicit photos of war casualties at certain websites. One such site has been shut down since 2006.
  9. PTSD Screening – Because many troops are reticent to seek help directly, or talk one-on-one about it, they are encouraged to take advantage of online screening. They can arrange to “see” a therapist online as well to discuss their stress and get treatment.
  10. Basic Training – New recruits and enlistment prospects can prepare for basic training and classification using resources available online at armed forces websites.

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