82nd Airborne paratroopers just deployed without their phones. Your unit could be next
As America’s adversaries become more sophisticated, U.S. combat troops heading to the war zone may have to get used to leaving behind their phones, laptops and even personal gaming devices, military experts say.
The Pentagon doesn’t have a blanket policy barring service members from taking electronic devices on deployment, but combat commanders are beginning to prohibit them when going into the unknown.
Last week, Maj. Gen. James Mingus, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, ordered his paratroopers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team to leave personal phones, computers and all electronic devices at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, when they were alerted for a short-notice deployment to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran.
“My commander wanted to own the decision to avoid putting soldiers at risk,” said Lt. Col. Mike Burns, spokesman for the 82nd Airborne. “It’s an [operational security] issue.”