Social Media Crackdown at BMT

Air Education and Training Command is blocking all social networking sites from government computers at Basic Military Training at JBSA-Lackland, Tex., since officials believe that the majority of high-profile sexual misconduct cases between military training instructors and trainees began on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This change should be complete “any day now,” 2nd Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Len Patrick, who oversees BMT, told reporters during an Oct. 11 teleconference. With the exception of former SSgt. Luis Walker—now an airman basic—who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after his conviction on 28 counts of sexual misconduct, including rape, Patrick said the majority of the 20 misconduct cases investigated to date were consensual, yet unprofessional relationships between an MTI and trainee. “Walker is an outlier. He raped women,” said Patrick. In most of the other cases, “social media played a large role,” he said. Under the new regulations, MTIs also no longer have access to graduates’ cell phones. “They aren’t even allowed to look at the cell phone of the graduate. They were in the past and [sometimes] exchanged social media contact information,” said Patrick.