Defense

August 6, 2018
 

New DOD policy prohibits GPS-enabled devices in deployed settings

Jim Garamone
DOD News

Deployed service members are going to have to ditch their “geolocation devices” in response to a new memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan.

This includes physical fitness aids, applications in phones that track locations, and other devices and apps that pinpoint and track the location of individuals.

“Effective immediately, Defense Department personnel are prohibited from using geolocation features and functionality on government and nongovernment-issued devices, applications and services while in locations designated as operational areas,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning III told Pentagon reporters Aug. 6.

Deployed personnel are in “operational areas,” and commanders will make a determination on other areas where this policy may apply.

The market for these devices has exploded over the past few years, with many service members incorporating them into their workout routines. They use the devices and applications to track their pace, running routes, calories burned and more. These devices then store the information and upload it to central servers where it can be shared with third parties. That information can present enemies with information on military operations.

Using GPS devices pose risk
“The rapidly evolving market of devices, applications and services with geolocation capabilities presents a significant risk to the Department of Defense personnel on and off duty, and to our military operations globally,” Manning said.

These Global Positioning System capabilities can expose personal information, locations, routines and numbers of DoD personnel. Their use in overseas locations “potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” Manning said.

Personal phones and other portable devices also contain apps that rely on GPS technology, and they will be affected. Commanders will be responsible for implementing the policy, and they will be allowed to make exceptions only after conducting a thorough risk assessment.

Security is at the heart of this guidance. DOD seeking a balanced way that allows for legitimate official and personal uses of geolocation technology that does not impact security.

Manning said the department will continue to study the risk associated with these devices and change the policy as needed.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – September 24, 2018

News Sexual assault: Here are the bases where troops are most at risk – Men and women assigned to Navy ships at sea are far more likely to be sexually assaulted than service members at bases elsewhere across the force, according to a new Defense Department report.     Business Sub builder Electric Boat injects...
 
 

News Briefs – September 24, 2018

U.S. sanctions China military agency for buying Russian arms A Chinese military agency and its director are facing U.S. sanctions over the purchase of Russian weapons. U.S. government officials say China’s Equipment Development Department and director Li Shangfu violated a 2017 law meant to punish Russia for interfering in U.S. elections and other activities. Administration...
 
 
NASA photograph by Steve Moon

Partnership, teamwork enable landmark science glovebox launch to ISS

NASA photograph by Steve Moon NASA’s new Life Sciences Glovebox undergoes testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, prior to its Sept. 22 flight to the International Space Station. The r...