View Full Version : Think Before You Post!!!!

10 Mar 04, 11:48
First, I am glad to see people worried about our troops, and shows that the people here actually CARE about lives.

Now, I must ask any and all members of this forum to stop posting pictures and other information which is actually considered classified during a time of war.

Pictures and descriptions of US military vehicles and aircraft vulnerabilities are, indeed, classified, and much information could be considered secret.

Granted, the chances that the information here will be used by members to take American lives or lives of those using American equipment, it's very easy to forget how technologically advanced terrorists and enemies of the US are these days. It is very simple to set a computer to scan forums using keywords, or even to sit there and do a search on a forum.

We should all keep in mind how what we write, link, or otherwise reveal here can have devastating impact on our forces.

OPSEC is sometimes used as a funny tagline, but it is one of the most important things that can prevent unnecessary death in war.

Also try this on for size: The people we are trying to protect are the troops using the equipment,...so why would you want an enemy to know every weakness of that piece of equipment?

I do NOT advocate "hiding" vulnerabilities from people who can effect change in either developing or acquiring equipment for use by our troops. However I DO advocate refraining from discussing it here, where the chances of anyone here effecting a change that could do our troops any good are absolutely nil. I also don't think censoring certain things on this board is bad practice, considering the possible ramifications of NOT censoring.

So, tactics and the general pro's and con's of a piece of equipment are fine, IMO, but detailed info about a systems weaknesses and vulnerabilities that could be used by those who would do us harm should be "verboten".

Hopefully most of you will see what I'm getting at here. I am also going to recommend to Don Maddox that the Stryker thread and any others that may contain this type of information be removed as soon as it is found, and that every one of us are conscientious and report such posts and threads to the forum admins.

I could never have a clear conscience with the idea that something I discussed on a message board may, however slim, have had a hand in the death or injury of even one of our precious troops or those of other countries who use our equipment.

Curt Pangracs

10 Mar 04, 12:54
You're being ridiculous, Curt. There was no "classified" information in that thread. Everything shown or discussed is freely available to the public, including our enemies. If you seriously think that classified information is being disseminated, you should be talking to the FBI, not calling for a moderator.

Maybe you should report ABC news, while you're at it, since they're the ones who reported this sorry episode. Report the Army Times, too, since they also carried photos of the incident. Those traitors!

If it will ease your troubled mind, no soldiers were seriously hurt or killed in the destruction of that vehicle. It was a scout that ran over a fairly small IED back in December and the engine caught fire. On the other hand, about a week earlier three troops really were killed when two (!) Strykers rolled over into a canal. No enemy action involved. This seems to be a recurring theme; I know of at least two more than have also rolled into canals since then. There was also another IED encounter that I'm aware of; this one didn't set the vehicle on fire and it was able to drive to safety. All of these incidents were widely reported.

If we followed your guidance, we should ban ATF as well, since playing it could give an enemy excellent training on how to defeat a US force. Similarly, we should ban wargames in general dealing with contemporary topics, novels, journalistic coverage of problems with military programs, etc. All of these things contain much more detail that this thread you find so distressing. Did you write a letter of protest to Tom Clancy for giving away all the Navy's secrets in Red October and Red Storm Rising?

What was so detailed about this thread, anyway? Any fool can understand how slat armor works and that it doesn't cover the top aspect. How was I giving away state secrets by pointing out the obvious? I certainly needed no inside information to figure that out.

You can make all the moral pronouncements you like about how you would never do anything that had even the slightest possibility of giving aid to our enemies, but the fact is your very own game certainly has at least a "slim" chance of being of direct assistance to the DPRK and aiding in their undeniable goal of causing our "precious troops" harm. I guess your game must have redeeming value that our irresponsible discussions here don't.

--- Kevin

10 Mar 04, 14:47

Your total disagreement is not unexpected, as I DID, in a roundabout way, slam you for your post, but it really wasn't my intention, whether you believe that or not is on you. Now that you have taken it to a new level, then I guess it's now "on" for a few posts, eh?!

If you are confident that your sources for your post were cleared to release the photo's and information by the appropriate authorities, then relax, huh?!

Ridiculous, Kevin? How long were you in the military? Were you active during any wars? Do even remember a basic OPSEC briefing? Have you already forgotten how an innocent comment like "I'm going to the field for 30 days..." is like gold to our enemies? The cold war is over, but our true enemies ARE EVERYWHERE! Just because we are in the Information Age, and the number of sources are vast, it doesn't mean they are RESPONSIBLE sources!

Classified information and, indeed, even SECRET information, is being given away freely on the internet.

I would have thought you would understand that a few pictures and opinions normally do NOT comprise a designation of classified or secret, but an AGGREGATE of information almost ALWAYS does.

If you can honestly say that every bit of the information coming out of the theater, as well as the pictures, have been approved by officials and cleared for release, YOU are the one living in lala-land.

Your post on the Stryker is an example. If it was just a matter of looking at a picture, then I would say there is no harm in it, as it certainly does NOT point to the exact vulnerabilities, nor to the cause of the destruction. OF COURSE you and I can see the obvious vulnerabilities, but add to it your take, my take, or even the opinions of those who ride on the vehicle, and you can certainly have secret information, even unwittingly.

The gist of my post was to make people think. Obviously, you have closed your mind to the absolute possibility that your post could be looked at as "too much" information, and it is all relative anyway, isn't it? You regard this kind of information in a VERY different manner than someone looking to do people harm.

Oh, and FYI, the Department of the Army just released a warning about the release of photographs and other proprietary information over the internet or any other means, so yeah, it's serious. The Army knows it's happening, but there is almost NO way to prevent it. I just want people to think before they post something like vulnerabilities of a vehicle, weapon, or even a location. Of course the news does it,...does that now make it RIGHT?

Again, I am not saying your post was something that IS classified or secret, just that it, and even some others in Warfare HQ, are walking a fine line. We should all feel responsible. Remember the post with some photos of destroyed M1's? Do realize that there is/was a top level investigation into how those were released?

If you can be flippant about such things, then by all means, carry-on.

As for my game, well, nice try, but it is a game. You have also claimed, in your own self-professed expertise, that it doesn't accurately reflect real life, so how is that going to help our enemies make war against us? The enemies of the US would be better served by drawing in the sand with their finger. However, I am not building something that teaches someone how to make war, I am building a GAME, which is meant to be PLAYED. My REAL job is simulations that assist people in teaching war. If someone wants to use ATF to plan war, so be it. If that is the case, then we must immediately ban pencil and paper, huh? There is a HUGE difference between planning something and having hard facts on the vulnerabilities of a vehicle carrying our sons and even daughters.

I am talking about information,...information that, 10 years ago, would not be nearly as readily available due to the relatively small footprint of the internet. There is an inherent sense of "Everyone should have access to everything, no matter what...". That is utter crap.

Are YOU in a position to CHANGE the use of the Stryker, its armor, or even whether or not your neighbor's kid is going to be in one in Iraq?

If not, then your discourse on the subject is moot. It's all blather, supposition, and chest-thumping rhetoric. It can also, taken with other information out there in the ether, get even more people killed.

You can ridicule my post, you can even ridicule the game I'm creating, but I posted for reasons which are obviously foreign to you.

Why DID you post the Stryker stuff anyway?

Ask yourself that question and try to answer it, honestly. If it was for any reason other than you sincerely thought it might HELP someone, somewhere, NOW, then it never should have been posted.

I'm not for "banning" anything, but we should all expect a modicum of responsibility, don't you think?

Have a nice day and sleep well.


Pat Proctor
10 Mar 04, 17:54

Let's just agree to disagree.


Point well taken. I may have tread close too the line with some of my own comments.


I don't think anyone is accusing anyone of doing anything immoral or illegal. I don't think the original post said anything we haven't all heard in a SAEDA brief before.

10 Mar 04, 18:35
Very well, Curt. Your point is taken.

Do I understand that sensitive information can be leaked, and we can unwittingly further its compromise by continuing to pass it along? Yes, I do. I simply don't believe any of this particular information falls into that category, and I think your tone was a bit accusatory given the real impact of the material.

Do I believe that reposting images that were published by the Army's own media outlet is out of line? No. Do I believe that pointing out that the tops of Strykers are not covered by slat armor and that rubber tires are not bulletproof is giving away information that can aid the enemy? No. Do I think that the idea that Iraqi insurgents can run a sophisticated data mining effort on the Internet but can't figure out how slat armor works on their own is ridiculous? Yes. On these things, we will have to remain in disagreement.

Why did I bring up the RPG and MG business in the first place? Because I wrote a database representing these very vehicles, and given the sudden appearance of a visual aid on the subject it seemed apropos to mention why, in spite of Army hype that the vehicle is "proof" against these weapon types, I reached the somewhat more pessimistic conclusions that I did. Is that "chest-thumping rhetoric"? I don't think so. I'll admit that the remarks about shooting from a tree were an unnecessary elaboration, but hardly constitute a stunning revalation given that mujahidin perfected the technique decades ago in Afghanistan. I will also admit to some non-game-related pontification on various subjects from time to time, but this particular bit was tied back directly to my actual work on the game.

Having explained myself, I promise not to post anything further on this matter.

--- Kevin

Ivan Rapkinov
10 Mar 04, 23:25
I'm the one that posted the images, and considering I got it from a free website that deals with defence matters, I have no qualms about doing so in the future.

This is US hypocracy at it's best - during the Chechen War, FMSO constantly web-published the downfalls of the Russians in Groznyy, including how to defeat Russian armour. So, now if, a foreign lessons learned site posts the same about the Stryker, I'm supposed to not post it for fear of reducing operational security. (SIPRI). How many Russians died because that info was made public?

When the head of the OPFOR at the NTC posts how to defeat the SBCTs on the public domain, and various PRO-ARMY sites consistantly list the defects with curret operational procedures and equipment, including how it can be defeated.

If you want OPSEC then do what the Brits and Israelis do - don't release the details.

11 Mar 04, 07:06
Being British where even the most unimportant military document is listed as restricted which often is rediculous I am infact often surprised how much freedom of information there is in the states.

11 Mar 04, 08:08
I'm the one that posted the images, and considering I got it from a free website that deals with defence matters, I have no qualms about doing so in the future.

This is US hypocracy at it's best - during the Chechen War, FMSO constantly web-published the downfalls of the Russians in Groznyy, including how to defeat Russian armour. So, now if, a foreign lessons learned site posts the same about the Stryker, I'm supposed to not post it for fear of reducing operational security. (SIPRI). How many Russians died because that info was made public?

When the head of the OPFOR at the NTC posts how to defeat the SBCTs on the public domain, and various PRO-ARMY sites consistantly list the defects with curret operational procedures and equipment, including how it can be defeated.

If you want OPSEC then do what the Brits and Israelis do - don't release the details.
As I have stated before, just because someone does it doesn't make it right. If an official military website wants to release info, then that's their right to do so.

I was mainly pointing to illegal sources and cases where someone takes unsanctioned reports or photographic records, posts them with very little info or nothing but conjecture, and may even give little tidbits of true information.

The main point of securing information is that rarely is ONE piece of information useful to anyone, but an AGGREGATE can reveal more than was ever intended.

If you are settled with the fact that, just because someone else posted it first, and the source of the information is verifiable by YOU, and you know it has been approved by sources in a better position than yourself to decide if it is sensitive information, then by all means, have a blast.

Again, my main point was to make people think about what they are doing and act responsibly,...not because I tell them to, but because it's the right thing to do.

Ivan Rapkinov
11 Mar 04, 08:28
sorry Curt - I came off as more antagonistic than I wanted to.

I suppose a lot of it has to do with anti-american sentiment as well -> it's in vogue to criticise any US action atm, and as such, highlighting events like the slat armour (I visited Groznyy in 1998 where the Russians had tried similar things, and I *know* Chechens that used US reports on the web (like FAS, and FMSO) that were public domain to work out what worked best.) is seen as a small victory for the anti-US crowd.

to tell the truth, a lot of sentiment regarding the Stryker in other countries is grim bemusement, with lots of people happy to see it fail. I personally don't like it, but my point was to show to others in this select wargaming group (I specifically did not post it in the general discussion areas because I knew I would get calm, reasoned debate about the various atttributes) an example of how the slat armour, deemed by so many Stryker-proponents as RPG-proof, had failed, and as such, what should the next step be?

(I actually posted it after reading two separate articles on companies being awarded contracts to build armour kits for both the HMMWV and the FMTV series truck. To my mind, personal protective measures like IBA should be more important than providing a stop-gap solution that is destined to fail anyway)

anyhoo, apologies if I came off as a prick :D

11 Mar 04, 08:33
Iíll ditto that Philip!

In 1967 I was attached to the Royal Artillery at their Guided Weapons Range in the Outer Hebrides. Officially Iím still not allowed to discuss what went on there and to make sure I donít, I was obliged to sign the Official Secrets Act on leaving the Army.

I do see the point Curt is making though, thinking before we act is good advice. During the war we lost a number British Military Police who were trapped inside a Police Station. The enquiry is still ongoing but it looks like they had insufficient ammunition. Before the conflict I remember seeing on a forum that UK personnel were short of basic equipment including ammunition. Iím not saying that this had anything to do with the disaster, but is does highlight how easy it is to get hold of sensitive information.

14 Mar 04, 01:19
I hear you, Curt.

I have created a couple of "Fulda Gap" type missions in Steel Beasts and TOAW that showed such startling results that I was afraid to post them in fear of revealing too much that may help our enemies. The scenarios clearly illustrated that conventional static defenses result in defeat, while the more mobile, "air-land doctrine" of the modern US army results in overwhelming victory. I hope to create similar scenarios with ATF.

Call it naivete, or arrogance, but I remain concerned that as we continue to get closer to sims that are accurate models of the modern battlefield, we risk giving out information that could be helpful to our enemies, and endanger the lives of our soldiers currently serving. I sometimes feel that my learnings of tactics from the creation and study of these scenarios is so valuable, that it should be classified and kept as a national secret. On the other hand, probably much of whatever I have learned would be considered mundane common knowledge among the officers currently serving in the armed forces and not much help to enemies. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between.

14 Mar 04, 16:58
I humbly accept any and all apologies, but they are truly unnecessary. I KNEW I would ruffle a few feathers, and believe me, I used to think much as most of you, that if it's already out there, what harm could it do?!

I currently work in an environment where accurate replication of equipment, terrain, and tactics is an absolute necessity. I sometimes must actively strive to be INaccurate in things I do and say outside of that realm.

Yes, gaming is getting very realistic in the sense of replication of the heart-pounding fear associated with battle. Anyone here play Call of Duty? If so, remember your heart rate as you ran accross that field under blistering mortar fire, using dead cows for cover?

Experiences like these, and using simulations such as ATF are fun and thrilling, but will not teach someone how to defeat an enemy. ATF, TOAW, and other simulations/games can't do it either. It takes someone actually teaching these things and using the sims/games as a visual representation of the teaching points to actually be considered as dangerous.

Being a digital deathmonger is a far cry from being an actual on-the-ground leader!