On Monday, the US Department of Defense announced that a number of social networking and media sites would be blocked on its network, citing bandwidth concerns. "This is a bandwidth and network management issue. We’ve got to have the networks open to do our mission. They have to be reliable, timely and secure," a US Strategic Command spokeswoman told Stars & Stripes. (Marshall Kirkpatrick has a good blog post summing up the reaction across the blogosphere.)

For their part, YouTube isn't accepting the ban without a fight. Today, YouTube told the Associated Press they would challenge the US Defense Department's decision. "Watching or uploading online video does use bandwidth and can slow or tie up a network, but [CEO Chad] Hurley expressed doubt that soldiers' use of YouTube could have any real effect on the military's massive network," reported the AP.

Hurley joked that since the Defense Department invented the Internet, bandwidth shouldn't be a problem. But he vowed to work with the military to figure out how to keep YouTube available to American soldiers. Hurley, and CTO Steve Chen seemed to believe that content was more likely the issue behind the ban. They said YouTube policies about violence already mean they remove most graphic videos being uploaded from Iraq and Afghanistan, but they would be willing to hear what sort of controls the Pentagon would require to keep the site up.

"We want to protect the [YouTube] community from being exposed to something violent, but at the same time, we want to educate people on what's happening around the world," Hurley said. "It's hard for us."

Even more baffling to YouTube was the apparent contradiction by the Pentagon, who a couple of weeks ago launched their "boots-on-the-ground" YouTube channel in order to present its own combat videos. In light of this, YouTube was "especially puzzled" by the block, said the AP.

What do you think about the US military's ban on YouTube, MySpace, Hi5, and other social networking and media sites? Do you think YouTube has a chance of getting the block lifted?