More than a year after banning US soldiers from using YouTube, the Pentagon has launched TroopTube, its own video-sharing site.

The Pentagon says its new video sharing website is designed to help military families keep in touch.

The site is meant for use by troops and families of US Active Duty, Guard and Reserves, an estimated 4m people.

Videos on TroopTube can be viewed by any visitor but registration is required to upload material to the site.

One of the videos on the homepage is a tribute to the troops from General David Petraeus, the new commander of US Central Command, for their tremendous work in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

TroopTube was created in partnership with a Seattle, Washington-based startup, Delve Networks, and Marion, Montgomery, Inc, a marketing and interactive agency.

In May 2007, the Pentagon banned US servicemen using Department of Defense computer systems from using YouTube, MySpace and ten other social-networking websites.

It said the ban was intended to prevent military Internet connections from being clogged with uploads or downloads of data-rich files such as video clips.

The move was also meant to guard against infiltration by malicious or spying software hidden in files by hackers.

Until the ban, US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan had been using YouTube and social networks to share videos, images or stories about their daily lives.

US soldiers are still allowed to write online journals, or 'milblogs', using Department of Defense networks as long as they adhere to requirements not to reveal information that could jeopardise missions.

MySpace, YouTube and the other websites were targeted for restriction after a usage study showed they were the most visited websites by soldiers, according to the Pentagon.