Social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook will soon be available to US Air Force personnel under new Department of Defence rules.

The service is already available in five Pacific air force bases, including Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, Eielson AFB in Alaska, Elmendorf AFB in Alaska, Hickam AFB in Hawaii and Yokota Air Base in Japan.

The service will subsequently be available to all air force bases from April.

According to DoD officials, Internet-based social networking services have become integral tools for all manner of operations across the military services and in collaboration with other federal agencies and the public.

Air Force Space Command Headquarters will act as the approval authority for the AFNET.

The move is part of the Department of Defense Directive-Type Memorandum 09-026 – Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-based Capabilities, issued on 25 February.

The air force implementation plan will ensure a tight and secure network to defend against malicious activity to safeguard the missions that depend on cyberspace.