WASHINGTON, D.C. (American Forces Press Service) -- A
new Defense Department policy prohibits all commercial photography or
other image collection on U.S. military bases and installations.
Command (NORTHCOM) issued the policy message Feb. 28 after detailed
images of Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, appeared on the Google Map
Web site, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Gary Ross, a NORTHCOM spokesman.
Google Corp. representatives had entered the post with
permission and taken the images with roof-mounted recording equipment,
according to the policy message.
Google Earth's Street View Web site revealed 360-degree
detailed imagery of the post, including headquarters locations, access
and control points, barriers, facilities and communal areas, Ross
"This poses a serious operational risk to our
force-protection effort," Ross said.
Google reportedly has removed the images from the Web site, he
Concerned that such imagery could be used to inflict harm on
U.S. personnel or facilities, NORTHCOM put out guidance for all
military installations banning all commercial image-collecting as soon
as it became aware of the Fort Sam Houston incident, Ross said. That
guidance is being forwarded throughout the Defense Department by the
services and defense agencies.
In addition to banning any future commercial image collection,
the guidance also requires anyone aware of a similar incident to
report it immediately to installation officials.
The Fort Sam
Houston incident isn't isolated, Ross said. Similar filming incidents
have occurred at two nonsecured former bases closed due to Base
Realignment and Closure Commission efforts. One, Fort Benjamin
Harrison, Ind., was closed as part of the 1991 round of BRAC closures,
but still houses the Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Indianapolis, as well as U.S. Army Reserve and Indiana National Guard
units. Another, the former Treasure Island Naval Base, in San
Francisco, was turned over to local government control in 1996, but is
still owned by the Navy.
Ross said, is filming known to have occurred at military housing areas
outside the secured areas of Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and the
U.S. Naval Training Center San Diego. Ross said he doesn't know
whether that imagery ever was posted on the Internet.