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Safety of DoD Members, Families Drives Electronic Device Review, Official Says

180201 D BN624 0001 - Safety of DoD Members, Families Drives Electronic Device Review, Official Says

The safety and security of Defense Department members and their families is Defense Secretary James N. Mattis’ top priority as he reviews the use of electronic devices at DoD locations worldwide, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said today.

White said a “heat map” from the Strava fitness application provided an opportunity to see a “possible vulnerability.” The heat map showed the routes of exercise enthusiasts who used the app to track their fitness activities, including at military installations worldwide.

“You have to also consider the fact that we have been attacked, bases have been attacked,” White said at a Pentagon news conference. “Information is power and our adversaries have used information to plan attacks against us.”

Mattis is taking into consideration the “totality of the DoD enterprise,” not just at the Pentagon, White explained. She said the review extends beyond cellphones and includes a “wide array” of electronic devices. 

“We always are thinking about how do we enhance and adapt our security procedures,” she said, adding “and that’s what’s happening now.”

Comprehensive Look at Electronic Devices

White had no timeframe on when a decision would come out of the review, which she described as a comprehensive look at the use of electronic devices. “Technology is very dynamic,” she said. “It is important that we always adapt our security procedures.”

Mattis’ primary interest is to ensure that “we are all safe and that we are all secure,” White said. “Operational security is his priority,” she added.

“The secretary is looking across the DoD enterprise,” she said. “He’s taking a comprehensive look at our security measures, what we can do, mitigating factors, and of course he will also consider the concerns of the workforce.”

She said the Strava incident and other incidents allowed Mattis to “take a bigger look at what are we doing and how are we doing it.”

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)