US Senators Are Being Issued Satellite Phones in Preparation for a 'Disruptive Event'
Members of the U.S. Senate were recently offered satellite phones that will allow them to communicate in the case of a “man-made” or natural disaster, according to a report.
Citing numerous people familiar with the matter, CBS News reported all 100 senators were recently offered the phones.
More than 50 took Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson up on the offer.
The network reported Gibson said the phones were offered last month as a means “to ensure a redundant and secure means of communication during a disruptive event.”
Gibson reportedly demonstrated the phones.
Senators who agreed to take the devices were urged to keep them close by during travel.
It is not known exactly what type of satellite phones the lawmakers were given.
It was also not reported which lawmakers accepted the phones. Each device was paid for with federal funding, and service will be offered at no expense to those who are in possession of them.
CBS News reported the availability of the technology was one part of a broader effort to bolster security for members of Congress following the January 2021 incursion at the U.S. Capitol.
However, Gibson implied the devices could come in handy in the event of some sort of disaster.
CBS reported: “Gibson said the phones are a security backstop in the case of an emergency that ‘takes out communications’ in part of America. Federal funding will pay for the satellite airtime needed to utilize the phone devices.
“A Department of Homeland Security advisory said satellite phones are a tool for responding to and coordinating government services in the case of a ‘man-made’ or natural disaster that wipes out communication.”
It is unclear if Gibson or others in top leadership positions within the federal government have reason to anticipate such an event.
Gibson has been in her role since March 2021 and spent more than three decades in the U.S. military prior to that.
Her appointment was announced by Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York in March 2021.
I’m excited to announce the leadership team at the Senate Sergeant at Arms:
Lieutenant General Karen Gibson
This is the first time in history the office will be led by a team of women, and we know they’ll be successful.https://t.co/djPut773WK
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 3, 2021
During 33 years of service, she held numerous high-profile roles in the intelligence and cybersecurity communities.
She served as the director of Intelligence for U.S. Central Command from 2017 to 2019.
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