ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT —
Service members must understand that “our behavior, whether it is in cyberspace or day-to-day,” reflects on the military, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford said as far as conduct is concerned there is no difference between the real world and the cyberworld. He was speaking in general about the “Marines United” Facebook group, where Marines exchanged nude photos of female Marines. The general would not speak specifically about the group or any actions which may be happening, he did though emphasize that all members of the joint force have a duty to treat each other with dignity and respect.
“It’s important to realize that our behavior, whether it is in cyberspace or day-to-day, reflects on the institution,” Dunford said during an interview. “For those of us in uniform, there is no such thing as on-duty or off-duty when it comes to our values, our character or our behavior.”
Cyberspace poses unique challenges to military leaders, Dunford said. There is an education aspect to behavior in cyberspace that service members must learn, and -- if they violate those standards of conduct on the Internet -- they will be held accountable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the general said.
The other thing this incident highlights is the need for leaders to have the cyber tools to spot problems online and to take action when service members “are going in the wrong direction,” Dunford said.