Pentagon Restricts Use of GPS Trackers to Find Yef

| August 8, 2018

The Pentagon is restricting troops’ use of electronic fitness trackers and other electronic tracking devices.

There is a security problem that apparently did not occur to the Eager Beavers who think there are no Bad People in the world who want to find you and kill you. Perhaps they need to be put into a war zone with a GPS microchip embedded in their posteriors, just like in those Bond movies.

Per this AP article:  military personnel and other defense personnel (an undefined term) deployed to sensitive bases or high risk areas will not be allowed to use electronic fitness trackers or cell phone applications (“apps” to you gadgeteers) that can/will/are likely to reveal their whereabouts.

No…. Really??? That thought didn’t occur to anyone at the 5-sided parking garage on the Potomac? And these people get a paycheck?

‘The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, stops short of banning the fitness trackers or other electronic devices, which are often linked to cellphone applications or smart watches and can provide the users’ GPS and exercise details to social media. It says the applications on personal or government-issued devices present a “significant risk” to military personnel, so those capabilities must be turned off in certain operational areas.

‘Under the new order, military leaders will be able to determine whether troops under their command can use the GPS function on their devices, based on the security threat in that area or on that base.  (Okay, but what if you don’t want to use one at all? Are you going to get spanked for not being socially electronic? Is your paycheck going to be fined?)

“These geolocation capabilities can expose personal information, locations, routines, and numbers of DOD personnel, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” the memo said.” – AP article quote.

This comes from the revelation in January that an online tracking map titled Global Heat Map, created by Strava, a GPS tracking company, was pinpointing the locations of subscribers through satellite uplinks to Strava’s fitness service.

This means that we can no longer track whether or not Yef is in the hallway running the floor buffer or trekking across the grinder to get ice cream.

The other side of this coin is this questionable need to be electronically connected to everything in the world. My phone annoys me enough when it rings and doesn’t tell me who is robocalling me. Is it really, truly necessary to be so digitized that you can be followed by a satellite uplink whether you like it or not?

Like I said above, what if you just don’t want the damned thing in the first place?

Category: "Teh Stoopid", "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", "Your Tax Dollars At Work"

Comments (86)

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  1. ChipNASA says:

    It’s time to do away with vibrating bluetooth combat GPS app buttplugs.
    It’s the only way.

  2. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    How about a lensatic compass and a topo grid map to find out where you are.

    • Dave Hardin says:

      What is a Topo? How does it work with my Compass
      App? Why would I need a map of grid, where is that?

      • Eggs says:

        Isn’t Topo that mouse from the Ed Sullivan Show?

      • GDContractor says:

        If you feel lost, it’s okay. Just don’t cheat.

      • AW1Ed says:

        Why would I need a map of grid, where is that?

        In the box with the sea bat, Dave.

        • OmegaPaladin says:

          Oh God…

          That was the one story my Dad liked to tell about his time on the Big E back in the 70s. Geeky Hoosier who had never seen the ocean before asked to check out the sea bat caught in an air intake.

          He saw the bat alright…

      • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

        Topographic grid map that one would use so you could locate where you are on the map and use the lensatic compass for orintation. Used one for a compass land navigation course while doing my 2 weeks up at Fort Drum when I was with the NYARNG 75-77. we also used the plastic grid coordinater I think they called it so you would hold the piece of plastic which had 7 to 10 tic marks on them for the latitude, longitude along the horizontal, verticle grid lines. I’m trying to to do this from memory. This was before compass apps. I wish I would have saved the plastic piece and scanned it to you. I’m sure some of the commenters will help me out and correct anything that I said that was wrong.

        • Frankie Cee says:

          I still do use a lensatic compass, and when driving use an actual Rand McNally Map book. I do have both a “Land Nav” GPS and a Highway GPS, but use the former for finding waypoints that I have in the ocean, (backed up by marks on my marine charts), and the latter for amusement while driving, (I so love hearing that wench tell me to turn around and do it her way.).

        • Mason says:

          I forgot about those little plastic overlay boxes! Thanks for the memory.

          • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

            Mason; I guess from my original comment about using the old school lensatic compass and topographic and then all the other comments that came down on me, I realized that the new Military uses electronic GPS devices. We used to do the compass navigation going to different spots and then directed to other points. the guys used a string with beads on them which each represented 1 click that we measured with our stride as we walked the course.

            • Mason says:

              I was USAF, so the longest march I ever went on you could see the starting line from the finish. 🙂 So no ranger beads to mark our pace.

              My job (NBC stuff) we did have to learn land nav, by lensatic compass and chart. We used those little overlays to mark exact locations on the map of nuke/chemical strikes to then map out the downwind hazards.

              We had GPS, the old PLGR dating to DS/DS, but it was terrible. I could finish a land nav exercise before that thing could acquire enough sats to give you an accurate fix. Even then it’ll just give coordinates, so you still have to know how to read a map.

              The COTS GPS units people can get now are worlds better than what we trained with just 15+ years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised to see people using Google Maps though to plan out their patrol route in theater since that’s what everyone knows from back home.

              I wonder how kids in the next couple generations are going to know where anything is, since it seems like basic map reading is becoming a lost art.

    • AW1Ed says:

      And wasn’t The Lensmen a 50’s ScFi book series? What possible good would that do for location- unless one is reading them between cel shots with the sextant.

      • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

        I’m getting killed over my old school Lensatic compass and topographic maps/plastic grid cooridanator protractor comment. HELP!!!! I tried to paste one in this window but could not.

        • AW1Ed says:

          Like this?

          • Dave Hardin says:

            I would know nothing this kind of thing.

            • Dinotanker says:


              WTF is that!? It looks like some kind of a slide rule, except for trajectories(big time guess there)?

            • AW1Ed says:

              We had electricity in the aircraft.

              • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

                I had a pocket slide rule back in the very early 70’s the HP came up with the portable calculator like the one above and it ran around $400.00 if I remember then after awhile, the prices shot right down.

                • HMC Ret says:

                  Jeff: Had a wooden slide rule from 72-74 or so, calculating isotope doses, radiation exposures, etc. First calculator was about the size as a loaf of bread and did a few simple functions plus inverse, square root, etc. Cost several hundred dollars. Same one today less than $5.

            • FuzeVT says:

              I have a couple of those! When I was leaving the Artillery community (2003 – forced lat-move to the Comm MOS), the FDC wouldn’t have missed them. Everything was AFATDS.

          • Dinotanker says:

            Flashing back to being lost at Ft Lewis, Ft Bliss, Gowan Field, the O club at Ft Benning…

            I still have one of these but it aint as pretty as this one and certainly not a 2008 version.

          • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

            That’s it AW1Ed. There are a couple of different over lay designs, but they all do the same.

          • SaraSnipe says:

            This is called a Protractor. I had some round ones that the troops woul wig out over when I pulled it out. It fits better under my PC.

        • David says:

          ‘Lensman” series was from E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith. If you feel sentimental and want to re-read it, the Australian Gutenberg Foundation site (think it is has the entire series as e-books free. Australia has only a 50 year copyright period, so a lot of boks you have to pay for in the US are available there free, like all the Edgar Rice Burroughs series.

    • 10thMountainMan says:

      I once convinced a young rifleman that the “plugger”( first army GPS) was how we directed the rounds we called in. Had him on the OP watching us point it at targets with its 2 inch antenna.

      But I can’t talk too much shit. When I was a private they convinced me to go to S3 and get the keys to the safety box.

  3. AW1Ed says:

    Quis custodiet ipsos facies inamabilis sciurus.

    (Who will guard the oh look a squirrel!)

    For reasons known only to Government IA personnel, my Garmin Fenix sports watch is banned from our P-8A System Integration Lab (SIL).

  4. SGT Fon says:

    unless they start putting fitness trackers in my 24 oz molsons cans, i think i am safe. even if they did they would not seem much movement except from the truck to the fridge, fridge to me and then 6 mins or so later, me to the garbage/recycling can…. i can live with that!

  5. AnotherPat says:


    We were given FITBITs and EchoDots this past Christmas (still unopened)….

    Oneday, when we have interest, we may open them…

    Yours Truly,

    The Dinasaour Family

    • Dave Hardin says:

      Ahhh…go ahead and plug Alexa in. You probably still have DVD’s and make phone calls instead of Face Time.

      • Dinotanker says:


        You say Face Time like its a good thing…

        If I recall, there two kinds of facetime; the kind where the Horseholders all surfaced when a Colonel or General was around.

        Or the kind of facetime 2LT/1LT/CPT Dinotanker usual got from CPT M or MAJ S; usually commenced with the phrase “Dino, ya done good but ya farged up…” You can imagine the rest.

  6. Roh-Dog says:

    When I was in country I stuck to the Nokia brick. Always worked, cost was next to nothing, can’t kill ‘em.
    There are no apps so no need to *try* turning off the tracking services, if needed the off button worked.
    The Mac got VPN and encrypted, back up hard drive was emp/f protected and placed in the armsroom.
    And that was for my personal computer sh*t ANd I’m a dumb Grunt!
    Wise men once told me: always use one movement technique closer to the ground than you think your enemy can observe.

  7. GDContractor says:

    Way to go Yef. You made the big time!

    • Yef says:


      I have been away since last week. I got an slot in the course developer class. That’s a level 3 instructor course, so I am the shit now. Hopefully I can compete for the next Fort Benning/MCoE instructor of the year.

      I will get back to buffering the floor on Monday.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Wondered where you were, Yef.

  8. SFC D says:

    Since we can no longer track Yef through GPS, I recommend a GPS bug on the buffer, which will be shackled to Yef. Just enough slack for him to utilize the latrine.

    • AW1Ed says:

      For geolocation purposes, we’ll have a Yef CEP50 of 10 meters or so.

      Not too bad.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Naw. Just get the base vet clinic to put a microchip in his left hindquarter. Then he’s tagged, bagged, and you can rag him.

  9. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Find Yef? Just follow the trail of Bud Light cans…

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      He’s the nekkid kid in the Brigade CP swilling PBR and buffing floors at 0-dark-30.

  10. Mason says:

    Opsec was so much easier when it was just making sure guys weren’t telling their nookie when/where we were going.

    Now with a decent Internet connection, any of our enemies can piece together all of our troop movements, including pictures of the box lunches and MREs eaten, while enroute.

    • David says:

      Some intel analysts in the early ’80s used Stars & Lies articles to put together a better TO&E of USAREUR troops than had ever been published. It caused some embarrassment.

  11. CAPT0302 says:

    Aren’t you the idiot that thought Millennials couldn’t open cans with can openers?

  12. 26Limabeans says:

    I always know where I am.

  13. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    I never get lost on long trips, but my wife just doesn’t appreciate that maps and such are fine but that sometimes I am compelled to employ seat-of-the-pants navigation. The occasional shortcut that I develop out of nowhere, based on nothing but a feeling, has caused some interesting exchanges between the two of us from time to time. I am saddened to say those days are effectively over, ever since my wife discovered navigation apps. I don’t use them and I don’t own a cell phone, so when “another 50 miles” to the destination turns into 70 or more, just like the good old days, nowadays I’m driving solo.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I still have printed maps. I will always have printed maps, even if they are 30 years old and beaten up and creased to death.

    • AW1Ed says:

      My trips, excluding the ones to West Virginia, are I-95 North or South, depending. Hard to get lost on that bitch, but I do like my GPS display just for an ETA to my destination. That and a high-end radar detector are pretty much all I need. Mrs.AW1 is usually snoozing, so I get to play what I want on XM radio, too. Win-win.

      Pro tip- buy a bag of chocolate coated coffee beans. They’ll keep you wired without that need to ‘stop and go’ so often.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Map out where every McDonald’s is on your route. You’ll never go hungry or thirsty, or have to put up with wet clothing when it rains.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        “without that need to ‘stop and go’ so often”

        When they raised the speed limit to 75 mph above Bangor the trip north was lowered to a four beer ride instead of a six pack. Hell, no need to stop at the Medway rest area anymore.
        And you arrive with a slight buzz instead of knee walking drunk.

  14. Just Lurking says:

    You know, I get that Yef runs his mouth too much and talks a lot of crap about non-grunts, but I do hope that people realize that he is this guy DELETED (he made reference to it once in a post some time ago). Whatever most here might think of him (justifiably enough), he is also an honest to God American hero.

    AW1Ed edit- do not out PII here, for many very real reasons. If you want to contact a TAH member, email Admin in the ‘Contact Us’ tab, or say so in your comment.

    • GDContractor says:

      Meets the criteria of honest to God hero in my book!

      Respect, Yef!

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Yef frequently presents himself as a goof. Does NOT mean we don’t love him for it, especially since he doesn’t brag on himself.

    • 5th/77thFA says:

      Much respects to William The Younger (BillyBoy)Bad Ass. (AKA Yef) More respect rendered for your lack of horn tooting. When TSHTF believe I’ll set up my Fire Base in your Ruck.

    • SFC D says:

      Yeah, I give Yef a hard time and rib him about pretty much everything. He’s a good man and I pick on him like I would a little brother. God help anyone else who picks on him though, TAH would unleash hell. He’s ours, and we’re keeping him.

  15. Ret_25X says:

    Well, they were warned. Back in 2013 they thought I had lost my mind when I predicted this problem. Said things about being too “old school” and not “with the times”. Idiots.

    Sigh…it occurs to me that I have been in this field long enough now to be the “old hand” and see what should have been obvious 5-10 years ago become problems.

    In other news, water is wet and Yef is still lost in space.

  16. 5th/77thFA says:

    Love’s me some Rand McNally prints. Cell is a flipper to make & receive calls on. Lap top for looking a Grand Baby pictures and lurking on TAH. Not looking for Yef. Might have served with his Dad or Uncle back in the day. What little TV I watch is on antenna. Wouldn’t mind meeting Siri or Alexa in person. Might follow IDC-SARC’s example and hit it. They’re still trying to drag me kicking and screaming, into the future. Did use the slide rule thingy to cipher out TOT’s.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      Siri and Alexa are trannies. I assume you didn’t know that…

      • 5th/77thFA says:

        Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Say it ain’t S00000000000000000000000000000000000! Is that why IDC-SARC has not bragged on hitting it? The Siri that Raj met didn’t have an obvious adams apple.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        I tried talking to Alexa.
        Got nowhere.
        Reminded me of my ex GF

  17. m0311 says:

    Does this guy look phony?

    Pastor Joe Fox is a retired US Army Special Forces (Green Beret) and National Intelligence officer. He’s a SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) instructor, Armed/Unarmed Combat instructor, former Firefighter and Boy Scouts Scoutmaster. PJF has been living the preparedness lifestyle since he was a child, and now teaches men, women and children all over the country to prepare and survive. PJF will impart knowledge you just cannot get anywhere else.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      I clicked on his blog link there. Two entries, both his and dated 2006 and no comments. I hope he is more successful at his training business than he is as a blogger. Also, his claimed cred of BSA scoutmaster seems a tad out of place.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      Kinda reminds me of the Kidnap rescue guy that was Goose Hunting with Don.

  18. FatCircles0311 says:

    Except 2nd Lts. All of them are to report to the company office to be GPS tagged for future recovery and scientific data gathering.

    • AW1Ed says:

      Some of the GPS units will be data loggers, some will be real time transmitters, and some will have a placebo GPS. Colored ear tags will differentiate between the types.

  19. PLASTIC DUCK says:

    Actually Pentagon are either incompetent or slow or both. AP have plagiarisd the info. I read them when they came out as on Bellingcat mailing list. BULLSHIT “The Pentagon immediately launched a review,” 6 MONTHS TOO LATE
    Jan 29 1018
    July 8 2018

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I would like to have known about this much sooner. Thanks, Duck!

      If there is anyway to send an alert on something like this to us without violating security, please let us know.