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Russia bans soldiers from using smartphones and tablets over OPSEC concerns
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
Russian lawmakers have approved a bill banning the armed forces from carrying smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets capable of recording and keeping information while on duty.
- According to the bill, approved in its third and final reading in the lower house on February 19, only regular phones with no cameras and without an Internet connection are now allowed in the Russian armed forces.
- The bill also bans military personnel from sharing information online about their military units, missions, services, colleagues, former colleagues, and their relatives.
- The bill says that "information placed on the Internet or mass media by military personnel is ... in some cases used to shape a biased assessment of the Russian Federation's state policies."
- The bill was approved by 408 lawmakers with no vote against.
- The legislation was necessary because military personnel were of "particular interest for the intelligence services of foreign governments, for terrorists, and extremist organizations," the Duma said.
- In recent years, photos and video footage inadvertently posted online via smartphones by members of the Russian military have revealed information about the location and movements of its troops and equipment.
- Human rights activists were also sometimes able to obtain from the Internet video and photographic proof of the hazing of young recruits in the Russian military.
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
WATCH NEXT: Russia's Next Space Weapon?
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on The Conversation.
In a series of bloody campaigns from 2014 to 2019, a multinational military coalition drove the Islamic State group, often known as ISIS, out of much of the Iraqi and Syrian territory that the strict militant theocracy had brutally governed.
But the Pentagon and the United Nations both estimate that the group still has as many as 30,000 active insurgents in the region. Thousands more IS-aligned fighters are spread across Africa and Asia, from the scrublands of Mali and Niger to the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan, to the island jungles of the Philippines.
I keep track of the loose alliance of various global affiliates and insurgent groups collectively known as the Islamic State. It's part of my research chronicling America's wars in remote lands where I have worked for the CIA and the U.S. Army. I also monitor Islamic State activities around the world for a University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth project I lead called MappingISIS.com
In recent months, the Islamic State group has reconstituted itself in the Syria-Iraq region and continues to inspire mayhem across the globe.
In June, 2018, when a group of Marines noticed a family was being swept along by a powerful rip current at Atlantic Beach in North Carolina they immediately swam out to save them. Now, more than a year later, those Marines have been recognized for their actions.
About 1,500 Schofield Barracks soldiers, 16 helicopters and hundreds of Humvees, heavy equipment and shipping containers are headed to Thailand for the first stop of Pacific Pathways 2020, an Army approach to bulking up in the region with a light but persistent footprint that follows the "places, not bases" mantra of the Pentagon.
This year also will bring similar Pathways four- to five-month troop deployments (but not from Hawaii) to the Philippines and, in a first, an Oceania rotation to locations including Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga, Fiji, Palau and Yap.
The fall time frame will include another first for the Army: Defender Pacific, in which 8,000 to 10,000 mainland-based soldiers will practice rapidly deploying for 30 to 45 days through the second and first island chains that China defines around the South China Sea.
In 2021 Defender Pacific could jump to 30,000 soldiers rotating through on relatively short notice, Defense News reported. About 85,000 soldiers are assigned to the region.
There's nothing quite like finding out that the nifty little trinket you blew a paycheck on when you were a junior enlisted service member is actually worth three-quarters of a million dollars. (Take that every SNCO who ever gave a counseling statement on personal finances.)