I forgot to read this one when I saw the link earlier: Midshipmen Disciplined Over Downloads. The story strikes me as rather odd. First, Academy officials go in and seize the computers of midshipmen suspected of downloading. Now, they are punishing them. But they are punishing them for an unspecified “conduct offense” rather than for violating the Academy’s honor code. Presumably, the “offense” here is using government property–the computers and bandwidth–for personal use. But I suspect nobody is being punished when they surf the internet looking for football scores or using them to play games. And, I’d wager that there was no specific regulation or order given previously that dealt with music downloading. So, really, what the Academy is doing is punishing middies for an honor violation but not treating it as an honor violation–i.e., expulsion as unfit to serve as naval officers–because the leadership doesn’t really believe the conduct was dishonorable. All-in-all, a rather bizarre episode.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.