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Can my chain of command make me bring my cell phone to work?

Counsel Quick - Army Counseling Software

Can my chain of command order me to bring my cell phone to work so that they can contact me.

This response is provide based on the information you provided. You should not use this content as the sole source in making your decision. Seek guidance from your chain of command, JAG, IG., or other appropriate agency.  Do your own research. Then make an informed decision.

Your chain of command cannot order you to take your cell phone to work, nor can they require you to have a cell phone.  However, they can require that they be able to get in touch with you in a timely manner.  At work this may not be an issue because you should be located in an area with a land line, have access to email, and/or they can get in touch with you through your chain of command.  While this may not be convenient for the chain of command, they have alternatives they can use, rather than the cell phone.

But let’s look at this from a different perspective.  Why is it important that you leave your cell phone at home?  Are you trying to make it difficult for your chain of command to contact you?  Are you using this as a way to avoid contact with your chain of command? Afterall it’s your cell phone, you are paying the bill and you can do what you want with it and use it in a manner of your choosing.

You should ask yourself the following questions: “Why am I leaving my cell phone at home?  What is my motivation for doing this?”  Is this a battle I really want to wage? Is the chain of command really asking me to do something unreasonable? Or are you just upset because of the way they are approaching the issue? Is this a battle that is really worth fighting?

Regardless you should choose your course of action by looking at the facts from an unemotional perspective.  There is nothing wrong with your chain of command wanting to get in touch with you in a timely manner. If in fact your chain of command is demanding that you use your cell phone to communicate with them or is somehow being overbearing concerning this issue, I can see how this can make a Soldier irate. If this is the case you might want to consider addressing this with your chain of command by using the open-door policy with your 1SG and/or Commander.

If you chose not to maintain your cell phone during duty hours your chain of command could consider other alternatives like:  Making you call them every hour to see if there is any information they need to share with you, having you swing by the unit HQ before  leaving for lunch, upon returning from lunch, and prior to leaving the unit for the day. They could also make it mandatory for your squad leader to contact you so many times a day to check on you or to pass you information.  Odds are you don’t want to have your first line leader upset with you either. They could choose to make your life rather miserable and there is not much you can say about it because they need to be able to get in touch with you in a reasonable manner.

I can understand if you cannot afford a cell phone, if only had a land line, if your chain of command is being overbearing and demanding you have a cell phone.  Remember they can’t make you have a cell phone or a land line.  But then you have to ensure they have a reliable way of contacting you and should they not be able to get in touch with you then that is a failure on your part and puts you in a bad position.

Only you can decide what course of action is appropriate.

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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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Disclaimer: Though all content posted on AskTOP.net is reviewed by our qualified subject matter experts, you should not make decisions based solely on the information contained in this post. Use information from multiple sources when making important professional decisions. This is not an official government website.


  • frank


    I have a question to ask, but I was having trouble finding the link to submit the question. The question is for my son, who doesn’t have access to a computer, as he is in training. For expediency I will ask it in the first person form.

    “I joined the Army as an E2 in late August of 2020, and underwent OSUT. I have excelled during my training (pt test of 511, weapons qualifications) but during the later part of my training I received a company grade article 15 for fraternizing with female recruit whom I have consensual and reciprocated interest.

    I was reduced to E1, and had xtra duty for 7 days. I am scheduled to leave OSUT the day after my last day of xtra duty and report for Airborne school. I will complete my 6 month of time in service two weeks after I complete my OSUT and while I’m in Airborne school. My question is, am I eligible for automatic promotion to E2 at six months (which would be three weeks after I got demoted? Am I still eligible for promotion to E3 at 10 moths TIS and 4 months TIG? Will this Article 15 follow me to my new duty station?

    • Mark Gerecht


      Frank, it would be best if you contact me via email to discuss

      Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel Mentor Military


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