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Report: Military Blocked Commercial Websites To Free Up Bandwidth In Japan

March 15, 2011

Military units operating in Japan face bandwidth shortages and network limitations that inhibit communications and command and control, Defense sources told Misawa Air Base, located on the northeast tip of Honshu, warned its personnel on a blog post Friday that the Defense Switched Network, which handles voice calls, was in backup mode and had only limited capacity, a fact confirmed by a Pentagon source Monday.

The blog post added, "We have a number of connectivity issues. Internet has been up and down due to our connections through other places in Japan. For example, Yokota [Air Base] and several other locations are having issues because we all have power and connectivity issues right now."

The Pentagon also took the extraordinary step of blocking access to a range of commercial websites to ensure that its networks have enough bandwidth to support mission-essential communications, learned. This move, a military source told, possibly indicates one or more undersea cables used by military networks were damaged by the earthquake.

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