Soldiers deploying overseas with the 82nd Airborne Division will not be allowed to bring personal cellphones or any electronic devices that could reveal their locations due to what the Army calls "operational security,” according to division spokesperson Lt. Col. Michael Burns.
Burns acknowledged the decision is unusual given that many troops routinely deployed already do have personal electronic devices and can even purchase them overseas. The decision, he said, was made in part because the elements of the 82nd that are deploying are part of a rapid response forces and it's not clear where they may eventually be sent.
“We are not going to put our soldiers at risk,” he said.
Burns said the division is trying to keep families fully informed about the deployment and that phone centers would be established for soldiers to make calls eventually.
"This is not the normal kind of deployment. The decision 100% an operational security and force protection measure," said Maj. Gen. James Mingus, the commanding general.