Military reviews rules for helmet cams after Niger attack

WASHINGTON – U.S. military leaders are considering new guidelines for the use of the helmet cameras on the battlefield after the Islamic State-linked militants in Niger used recordings made by a fallen American soldier in a propaganda video that highlighted the deaths of four AMERICAN troops.

Weeks after the deadly October ambush, people linked to the militants shopped around the horrific images on the news organizations. When there is no or little interest, the insurgents added music and propaganda, made a short movie and posted online. Then it was written about in a number of the stories around the world.

The Islamic State of the group’s market capitalisation at her fortunately, after the north-Niger battle highlighted the risk to the AMERICAN army of men and women with the aid of the popular mini cameras on missions. Experts say that the military officials the chance to respond with tighter controls.

“The need for clear guidelines about the use of cameras in operation was strengthened by the ambush in Niger,” said Marine Captain Jason Salata, the spokesman of the Special Operations Command, located in tampa, Florida. And U. S. Africa Command, which does not have its own policy on the issue, is also concerned with an evaluation to determine whether new guidelines are needed, said Army Col. Mark Cheadle, spokesman of the command.

The goal is to ensure commanders understand the risks when they consent helmet cameras or other video can be recorded. One idea centers on safety precautions, that would make it harder for the enemies that can get their hands on such images to use.

“I think they are doing the right thing by saying,” Well, we can’t restrict the use, we need the limit of the vulnerabilities, such as encrypting them,'” said Spencer Meredith, associate professor of national security, the National Defense University. “So, how do we do something as a helmet-cam, which is an essential instrument for the ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), for the training, for the mission, analysis, after action reports and set limits to the vulnerabilities?”

While some form of encryption would be the most likely approach, Meredith said, other technological solutions are ways to limit the life of the battery, or otherwise a device no longer works after a certain period of time. Other guidelines address who can give consent for the use of the helmet cameras and similar technology, and where and how they can be used.

The commanders of the AMERICAN troops in Africa and the Middle East will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

The military increase of the use of GoPros and other video cameras reflects their growing presence in our daily lives. Such technology can provide bird’s-eye views of the skiers hurtling down the slopes, divers exploring the seabed, breathtaking parasailing tours, and white water rafting. It requires no special training for amateurs to pick up.

But the technology is the penetration of the military over the years has been uneven. Originally, it was more in the foreground between the special operations forces, but has since become conventional forces if the camera’s more and more criticism and more commanders became convinced of their value.

The benefits range from training to help on the battlefield. Troops often wear the cameras during drilling as a way to hone skills, identify deficiencies, and through various exercise scenarios. Once deployed, forces and the use of missions, the capture of movie of enemy operations or to obtain information.

The video is generally stored on the camera, not the live stream back to observers or commanders. It can be useful after a mission to review the details, analyze enemy tactics, or to prove or disprove the allegations of abuse or civilian casualties. For example, the AMERICAN troops have tried to use video to capture dangerous incidents with Iranian or Russian aircraft or ships, in the hope of documenting what happened in case of complaints will be challenged.

Combat camera photos or video recordings of a training or military missions also often released to the public or posted on the Ministry of Defence websites and social media accounts, after being released and cleared.

“The value is after the fact, when you analyze” Meredith said. “Is there something that you’ve missed, a person who is that you want to go back and talk to? It is the after-action report, where it is useful.”

Rules for helmet use of the camera should, however, remained. Instead of having their own guidelines, such devices so far are merged with other, more general restrictions on photography and video. This is largely prohibit pornography or any unauthorized images of the victims, detainees, classified or sensitive equipment, or locations, or the gathering of intelligence.

But rules were meant to be non-related problems. After the video surfaced of several Marines urinating on the corpses of enemy fighters in Afghanistan, the U.S. Central Command in 2013 enhances the photography and video requirements for the troops to Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas in the Middle East.

They stipulated that troops can make use of videos for official purposes in the collection of evidence or intelligence or other assignments which would be helped by images, as it is approved by an officer who is a lieutenant-colonel or higher. In the Navy, would that be a commander or higher.

In the Niger mission, the team of American and Nigerien forces traveled to the last known location of a senior militant and sought to collect all of the remaining evidence. A helmet camera can be used in the right way that kind of mission.

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