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British Army should woo public on YouTube and Twitter, says RAF chief

Karl Flinders

The UK military should learn from the Israeli armed forces and use social networking sites such as Twitter to win public opinion, says the head of the Royal Air Force.

According to a report in the Belfast Telegraph, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton said the Israeli air force ran information operations in cyberspace to win public support for their work.

"Accurate and timely information has always been critical to the military but its importance is increasing as societies become more networked," he said. "This is intimately linked to developments in cyberspace; as we saw in the conflict in Gaza in early 2009, operations on the ground were paralleled by operations in cyber-space and an 'info ops' campaign that was fought across the internet: the Israeli Air Force downloaded sensor imagery onto YouTube, tweets warned of rocket attacks and the 'help-us-win.com' blog was used to mobilise public support."

The attacks on Gaza were unpopular around the world but the Israeli army used the internet to win support by showing some of the actions of the enemy.

In a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Defences, Dalton said, "The exponential growth in the availability of information means that we must understand how to deliver and protect our national interests in the cyber domain and, although this is clearly a cross-government issue, defence has a legitimate interest in the development of offensive and defensive cyber-capabilities."


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