Marine Corps eliminates social networking ban

The Marine Corps' change in policy arrives weeks after the Pentagon issued a military-wide order that opened social networks to both military leaders in the District and troops in the field.

Previously, those Web sites had been blocked on most service members' computers and networks, in part out of concerns that social tools would consume too much of the military's bandwidth or present serious security risks to U.S. interests.

But the Pentagon stressed in late February that it would monitor its networks aggressively to ensure those websites did not hamper the military's systems. The Defense Department later promised it would shut down access to those services only temporarily in order to safeguard essential bandwidth or ensure the safety of combat troops.

"This directive recognizes the importance of balancing appropriate security measures while maximizing the capabilities afforded by 21st Century Internet tools," Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III said last month upon announcing the changes.