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Pentagon braces for March Madness streaming

There's nothing wrong with obsessing over the Big Dance. But maybe don't stream games at work, the Defense Department tells employees.

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No. 1 seed Gonzaga takes on No. 16 seed South Dakota State in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Defense Department sent a notice to its workforce on Wednesday telling employees not to stream March Madness games on Pentagon computers, warning the department's network could be overwhelmed.

"March Madness is officially upon us," the Joint Service Provider, which handles IT services for the Pentagon, wrote to workers in an unclassified email obtained by CBS News. "Your JSP support team acknowledges and appreciates that college basketball fans within the DoD are excited to cheer on their favorite teams, update brackets, and otherwise obsess over the Big Dance."

A Pentagon official confirmed the authenticity of the email.

Acknowledging the inevitability of workers tuning into the tournament at work, the JSP said "engineers will closely monitor bandwidth consumption and server availability to handle additional network strain as best as they can."

But the office reminded employees "that we share a single network and visiting non-mission essential websites degrades network performance for everyone."

"Please keep in mind; if you're streaming video to watch your favorite player shooting free throws, you're consuming network resources that could be served to support the Warfighter," the email said in a stern warning.

The 64-team tournament gets underway on Thursday and will be broadcast on CBS and Turner networks. CBS will carry 24 games, including the final four and championship rounds. (Editors' note: CNET is owned by CBS.)

Rebellious Pentagon employees can stream all games broadcast on CBS for free without a login on the NCAA's website and mobile apps. If so inclined, they can also fill out brackets and compete against colleagues on CBS Sports.

Here's the full email sent by JSP to Pentagon employees Wednesday:

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

JSP Notice: March Madness Video Streaming and Network Consumption

SUMMARY: March Madness is officially upon us. Your JSP support team acknowledges and appreciates that college basketball fans within the DoD are excited to cheer on their favorite teams, update brackets, and otherwise obsess over the Big Dance. In preparation for the event, JSP engineers will closely monitor bandwidth consumption and server availability to handle additional network strain as best as they can. However, it is important to remember that we share a single network and visiting non-mission essential websites degrades network performance for everyone.

Please keep in mind; if you're streaming video to watch your favorite player shooting free throws, you're consuming network resources that could be served to support the Warfighter.

If you experience any questions or concerns, please contact the JSP Service Desk for assistance.

Sincerely,

Joint Service Provider (JSP)

Communications

This story originally posted as "Pentagon warns employees: Don't stream March Madness games at work" on CBSNews. com.

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