FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — 10th Mountain Division Soldiers will now be required to abide by a new cellphone policy.
This policy was detailed in a memorandum issued by 10th Mountain Division Commanding General Major General Milford H. Beagle Jr. on June 7.
According to the memo, this policy will ultimately limit the use of personal cell phones during Soldier’s duty hours, prohibit work-related texts before and after work hours and restricts topics in group texts or chats.
However, MG Beagle confirmed that the policy is not a ban on cell phones or an approach to “limit personal freedoms.” The Commanding General said the policy will instead increase predictability, prevent the stress of “FOMO,” fear of missing out, and encourage leaders to engage in direct, timely and effective communication.
Effective immediately, Soldiers are prohibited from carrying or using personal cell phones during official work-related meetings or unit trainings on Fort Drum during the standard duty day. Cell phones must be set to silent prior to meeting start times. Exceptions can be made by the most senior ranking member of the meeting for emergency circumstances.
The policy also restricts work-related texts, chats or messages before 5 a.m. or after 6 p.m., local time, unless a unit or person is still working due to mission requirements. The policy states that “every effort should be made to avoid testing or messaging others that may not still be on duty.”
This extends to Soldiers on authorized leave or pass statutes, weekends or a Day of No-Scheduled Activities. This rule does not apply to personal messaging or emergency circumstances.
Corrective counseling will be required after the second violation of this policy by a Soldier’s immediate supervisor. These meetings must identify the policy violation, prescribe corrective training and reiterate compliance.
All commanders must also ensure that change of quarters stations and personnel manning those stations have active and working landlines sor other phones for official use. Policies do not apply for official government cellphones.
Fort Drum leaders are now encouraged to educate and conduct leader development on training management, and conduct unit formations,. and conduct key leader huddles to include end-of-day formations.
Background on the new policy is included in MG Beagle’s statement below:
The overuse and reliance on cell phones causes unforseen stress on Soldiers and families. Change is a constant around us, but not all change needs to be communicated via text, chat groups, or other messaging applications. The constant need to be tethered to one’s phone for work-relayed information serves to keep Soldiers and leaders on edge, unable to function withou the fear of missing something.
This policy only addresses the symptoms of a broader challenge: training management. The better we become at training management, using the proper forms and forums for information dissemination and exchange , the less we have to rely on leadership by text. This then leads to less stress on our force as we stand to gain a higher level of predictability. We owe it to Soldiers to proivde good leadership, great training and predictability. Predictability helps to ensure uninterrupted personal time oustide the standard duty dayMG Milford H. Beagle, Commaning General