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The Military First Person Shooters (Games) Games Technology

Navy Seals Disciplined For Revealing Secrets As Consultants On Video Game 204

Hugh Pickens writes "CBS reports that seven active duty members of SEAL Team Six, best known for killing Osama bin Laden, have been disciplined for revealing secrets working as paid consultants on a video game, Medal of Honor: Warfighter. The game does not recreate the bin Laden raid, but it does portray realistic missions, such as an attack on a pirates' den in Somalia. Electronic Arts boasts that real commandos, both active duty and retired, help make its games as realistic as possible. EA says Medal of Honor Warfighter was 'written by actual U.S. Tier 1 Operators while deployed overseas,' and that it 'features a dotted line to real world events and provides players a view into globally recognized threats and situations letting them experience the action as it might have unfolded.' It is unclear what secrets members of SEAL Team Six gave away, but while serving as consultants for the game, they used classified material which had been given to them by the Navy and also violated the unwritten code that SEALs are silent warriors who shun the spotlight. 'We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as Sailors in the United States Navy,' says Deputy Commander of Naval Special Warfare, Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli. 'The non-judicial punishment decisions made today send a clear message throughout our Force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability.'"
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Navy Seals Disciplined For Revealing Secrets As Consultants On Video Game

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  • Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim12s ( 209786 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @09:15AM (#41930959)

    How on earth can the military staff haemorage their IP for the sake of an ef'fing book deal. There is too much public information on public deals that put military operations and lives at risk. The whole point of military superiority is based on an advantage of forces as a result of numbers, skill, training, tactics, operations, etc. I know that, as a geek, I love reading aircraft, lazer, and weapons development trials and developments but c'mon. All the US people are doing is destroying its own capability.

    Now I understand how freedom of information protects against poor weapons systems, faulty weapons systems, bad quality, abuse of authority, etc. I don't have all the answers but what I do know is stupid - leaking you current tactics manuals and giving away all of your secrets. Might as well open-source the military.


  • Re:Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @09:20AM (#41930991) Homepage Journal
    Look, I'm not a call-of-duty guy or whatever, medal of honor, apparently medal of buttsex on submarines this time around, whatever. But you have to admit that this sort of thing is good, solid cultural advancement. I mean, warfare isn't cultural advancement; access to history is, knowledge in all its forms is. Maybe they slipped some state secrets--I suspect there were implications, less revelation of direct classified data, stuff that hints too close to home. That's bad. But this whole "We should be silent and proud!' thing is stupid. Being an over-egotistical gaudy asshole is one thing, but this... this is a contribution to society. It has value.
  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @09:37AM (#41931083)

    Does it really matter? Half the stuff that seems to come out as tactics eventually is just plain old common sense.

    Most of the militaries secrets are in intel and technology, and it doesn't seem that they've really leaked anything much there as the issuse seems to be about tactics.

    Having played the game, I don't think that matters anyway as the AI usually just runs in like a headless chicken and takes a thousand bullets because it's invulnerable. There was one mission based in the Philippines that said it was based on actual events, but again I don't know what of value could really have been given away. That US special forces may have been involved in something in the Philippines once? No shit. That's groundbreaking information.

    I recall when the "tactics" for the SAS raid on the Iranian embassy were eventually released and everyone made a big fuss, the tactic in question was sticking a flashlight on the gun, firing from the hip and using the centre of the torch as your aiming point whilst doing so. Hardly something top secret that no one else was ever going to think of.

    As I say it's our intel, our training, our combat experience, and our technology that makes special forces what they are. That's something you either can replicate or you can't, no amount of computer games or books are going to make up for it.

    Honestly, I think the punishments are more about maintaining military style discipline than because they released anything of any value yet one of the things that makes special forces special is because they recruit people smart enough to think for themselves and who don't need the baby style treatment of run of the mill grunts to ensure they do what needs to be done.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @09:49AM (#41931149)

    And the EA PR team just shared a collective orgasm. They must already be trying different font settings to display "So real, Navy Seals were disciplined for it!" on the game cover.

  • by IceNinjaNine ( 2026774 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:04AM (#41931229)
    this whole "rock star" mentality with the SEALS. If I were that good.. fucking "Jedi" good.. I'd want to remain invisible. Due to compromised identitities, I view it as a matter of time before the bad guys start putting things together and whacking the families of operators as retribution. If I were those guys I'd develop a major case of STFU and teach everybody in my family how to handle a weapon. Of course, for every Mark Owen [] there are probably five guys wishing he'd shut up.

    A quote:

    Retired Army Col. Ken Allard, a career intelligence officer, described Delta Force members as "quiet professionals. Silence is security."

    Read more about it here [].

  • Re:Could be worse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:07AM (#41931263)

    There is a serious problem of believing in our own hype. It's one thing when the enemy believes that you CAN do something (which you can't, but want them to believe you can), it's a much more dangerous situation where YOU believe you can do something (but cannot reliably do it).

    The deification of special forces in popular culture is very dangerous. These people are human beings, physically fit and specially trained to be sure, but regular human beings with an immense logistical system to support them.

    I worry tremendously because the general population (and government leaders) will permit actions which while technically possible, are tremendously risky from the perspective of national interests. We blind ourselves with our successes and can easily slip into a might makes right belief system. I feel that we hear far too often the phrase 'teach em a lesson'.

    Believing that we can or should 'teach lessons' through the use of our special forces is incredibly dangerous and actions like the raid to kill Osama should only be undertaken sparingly because not only is the risk high, but without maintaining the moral highground it will become an incredibly dangerous world when OTHER actors being to reach out and 'teach' their own 'lessons' on a similar scale.

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:20AM (#41931401)

    it may seem like common sense, but that's after years of work creating it, during which some men probably died before it was figured out. Hell we make revisions to tactics after nearly every big engagement. It's called an After Action Report, and everything, every little stinking thing, is written about and analyzed.

    And while it may seem common sense to us, it frequently isnt to many combatants around the world. the majority of the taliban and iraqi insurgents have no training whatsoever, and those that do have very little discipline. many many of them emply spray and pray tactics, full of bravado and give em hell, but little thought, little planning, no tactical sensibilities, etc.

  • by kelemvor4 ( 1980226 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:44AM (#41931591)

    The fact that this meme gets consistently modded to oblivion when there's more than enough evidence to suggest that it's at least a fucking possibility does nothing but increase the probability of it in fact actually being the case, at least in the minds of those not necessarily hooked on the Fox News/CNN tit...

    Never say never, I suppose - but the idea does seem a little crazy. He's been dead for quite some time and there's been no problem justifying the foreign wars without him. There was also no problem doing it before any of us ever heard of him. Seems like a long and risky road for the government to take to get a justification that they didn't even need.

  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:54AM (#41931679)

    ...from the active duty SEALs used in Act of Valor []? Oh wait, I know the answer: Because Act of Valor was a nice little right-wing propaganda film that showed the Navy in their best light. And EA is just a gaming company. Or something like that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @11:14AM (#41931893)

    Considering that many Special Forces unit soldiers have advanced college degrees, or the education equivalent to one, id question your 'source' if information. The average enlisted solider might not always be that smart, but the government doesn't hand someone above an E-5 access to millions of dollars worth of equipment if they are as dumb as a tool bag.

  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @11:22AM (#41931997)

    a bit vitriolic, but I agree with most of what you are saying. I was discharged in 2001 for a spine injury at 24-it kind of fucked up my plans forward. Im in IT now, but I still have constant daily reminders of my service to Uncle-good and bad, mind you, but when it hurts to pick up my 4 yr old daughter and play with her, I get a little jaded.

  • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @11:28AM (#41932083) Homepage Journal

    Funny to think how much money we throw at defense and almost none of it gets spent on you guys. That's the real travesty there.

  • by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @11:41AM (#41932275)

    What they want to keep secret are the ways in which they do things.
    Surprise, they like it. Confusion, they encourage it. These are things that help keep them alive.
    In football you of course do not want the opposing team to know what play you are panning on doing next.
    But it is also damaging to have the opposing team have your play book.
    The seals were giving out pages of the Seal playbook for a fucking video game. I play games. I like em.
    Really though. Giving out pages of the Seal playbook so that a fucking video game can be a little better should be punished. Heavily.

  • by sgtrock ( 191182 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @12:16PM (#41932665)

    I can echo some of what this former soldier says, but disagree with some.

    I served in the Navy from '77-'83. I got out as a petty officer first class so I wasn't exactly at the top of the heap.

    From a financial standpoint, this was just about the worst possible time to be in the U.S. military for about a hundred years. We had just moved back to an all volunteer force after years of a very unpopular draft. Vietnam had created a public perception that only baby killers and drunks wanted to enlist in the first place so the overall quality of people enlisting was all over the map. People really did join up because they had to (sometimes because the judge ordered them to), or because they felt an obligation as a citizen to do so. Not much in between. (BTW, some of the best sailors and Marines knew started out with some judge telling them, "Four years in uniform or prison. Your choice.")

    Standards were pretty low because all of the branches were desperate to fill slots. High school diploma? Boy, you were an ace recruit!

    It was common practice for recruiters to pull all kinds of tricks to fill quotas; lying on enlistment forms, taking qualifying tests for recruits, etc. I can't say that I blame them, though. If they didn't, they were subject to all kinds of judicial abuse. (Court martials for not filling quotas? Really??)

    While I was in boot camp, I worked in the chow hall's storage locker. I personally saw huge stacks of canned beef with expiration dates from the late '50s. The cooler broke down and we were still told to put the spoiled milk on the line. When I finished with Service Week, just about the only things I would take off the line was bread and water. At least I knew that was fresh.

    I knew married chiefs and senior chiefs with 20+ years in who qualified for food stamps. Year long deployments with 2 week turnarounds, while rare, weren't unheard of.

    One year, 3 ships were declared unfit for sea the day they were scheduled to deploy due to lack of funds for proper maintenance.

    The Iran hostage crisis exposed fundamental flaws in our communications network, logistical support, and inter-service doctrine. Thankfully, that was all largely addressed before the Gulf War.

    In spite of all that, it wasn't all bad. My electronics training was pretty good considering the lack of resources. I had an opportunity to work with a really broad range of communications gear with people who really knew their stuff. I was way ahead of my civilian colleagues when I got out and hit the market.

    Once I got out to the fleet I found out that Navy chow was actually pretty good most of the time, especially at shore stations. From an enlisted man's point of view, it's one major advantage that the Navy has traditionally had over the Army, after all. ;-)

    I worked a swing shift schedule at one base for several years. We covered electronic maintenance on communications gear all over Oahu. Our command was responsible for supporting not just Navy, but Marine, Army, and Air Force equipment too. It gave us the chance to sample chow at a lot of different bases during our midnight runs.

    I'd have to say that the best midnight breakfasts to be had were at Hickam Air Force Base. The cook behind the grill served up a mean Western omelet.

    Wheeler Army Airfield had a pretty good chow hall, too. I was partial to their steak sandwiches.

    The chow hall at the submarine base at Pearl Harber was run by a Filipino master chief who injected a lot of his native dishes into the menu. It's where I was introduced to lumpia. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now, 30+ years later. :-)

    Given the same circumstances and what I know now, would I still enlist? Absolutely. My Navy electronics training got me started in IT with both the skills and the experience to put me head and shoulders above the competition. As a junior sailor I had more responsibility in my early 20s that most civilians don't get until they're

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