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Can Army commands restrict on-duty cell phone use?

Is there a regulation governing the use (overuse) of cell phones in the work place in the military? Can you tell a Soldier not to bring a cell phone into work?

To my knowledge, there is no regulation governing the use of cell phones in military environments unless it is a classified area or an area in which a cell phone would create a safety hazard. For example, you cannot bring a cellphone into a classified briefing or to an area where explosives are being prepared.

If neither of those conditions exist, you probably cannot restrict a Soldier from bringing a cell phone to work. However, if the Soldier’s cell phone overuse is preventing him from being able to do his job to standard, a performance counseling can be administered. You could recommend to the commander that the Soldier’s cell phone privileges be revoked for a period of time to get the Soldier to comply with reasonable use. Separation action can be initiated if performance does not improve.

Consider establishing a work area policy that dictates that personal calls will not be allowed except during an emergency or that restricts use to a limited number of minutes per a given number of hours (somewhat like a smoke break). A policy of this nature would need to be reviewed by the command and potentially JAG.

posted on 11/02/2011 under Q&A
Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training..

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