AP: Military units track guns using technology that can help enemies | News – Pennsylvanianewstoday.com

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Icon Oct 3, 2021

The Associated Press said it decided to track the gun and turned to technology that would allow the enemy to detect troops on the battlefield.
Despite the Pentagon itself describing the technology on firearms as a “significant” security risk, it continues to be deployed in Army and Air Force bases.
The Marines rejected weapons radio frequency identification technology for that very reason, and said the Navy has stopped its own fight this week.
As technology is known, RFID is infused throughout the daily life of civilians. Thin RFID tags help drivers navigate through tollhouses, hospitals find tools, and supermarkets track inventory. Tags are also included on some ID cards, airline baggage tags, and even amusement park wristbands.
Embedding tags in military guns can save hours of time-consuming tasks such as numbering and distributing weapons. However, outside the arsenal, the same silent, invisible signal that helps automate inventory checks can become unwanted tracking beacons.
The investigation included a new field test that showed that even low-tech enemies could identify US troops farther away than the contractors installing RFID systems say.
A Pentagon spokesman said that policymakers would embed tags in firearms, except in limited and very specific cases, such as guns used only in shooting ranges rather than in combat or base security. That is why I said I was against it.
Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Uria Orlando told AP, “This poses a significant operational security risk in the field, making it easy for enemies to identify where Pentagon personnel operate and potentially even their identities. I will be able to do it. “
A spokesperson for the Air Force and Army headquarters said they did not know the number of units that modified their weapons.
AP has discovered five air force bases operating at least one RFID arsenal and another base planning to remodel.
The Florida-based Army Special Forces 7th Special Forces Group has confirmed that it is using this technology in a “few” arsenal. Special Forces spokesman Major Dan Lessard said Special Forces soldiers could bring tagged weapons into the field. Another pilot project at Fort Bragg, North Carolina’s vast army base, was suspended for COVID-19.
The Navy told AP that one arsenal at a base on the coast from Los Angeles is using RFID for inventory. Then this week, after an extended question, spokesman Lieutenant Luis Aldridge suddenly said the technology “did not meet operational requirements” and would not be used throughout the service.
As unit commanders seek to increase the safety of their weapons, defense industry contractors have provided familiar technology that originated in the development of radar during World War II.
In the US military, RFID use increased in the 1990s after the first Gulf War showed the need to unravel the vast supply chain of shipping containers. Its use has shifted to weapons management in recent years. Equipped with arsenals of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and other governments.
The conversion can cost thousands of dollars, and in some cases even more. Convenience is a big selling point. Instead of manually recording the serial number of the firearm on paper or scanning the barcodes one by one like a cashier, the armorer can read the tags of multiple firearms with a wave of handheld readers. .. The tag pushed inside doesn’t even need batteries.
Armory remodeling contractors say tags can only be read within a limited range, usually tens of feet or less. However, AP field tests have shown that two prominent cybersecurity experts can detect tags in rifles from a great distance using inexpensive components that fit in a backpack.
The RFID reader system lost its tag at 210 feet because hackers comply with federal regulations that limit the power of radio signals. Christine Padgett, a “hacker princess” who has worked for tech giants such as Apple and Tesla, said enemies who didn’t feel so restricted could detect tags miles away.
RFID system Paget and her hacking partner Marc Rogers cost about $ 500 combined. They said they could learn skills that required tinkering to access YouTube.
Executives from two companies that installed RFID weapons at airbases said they had never heard of 210-foot readings.
Some said they didn’t believe it. Eric Collins, CEO of Trackable Solutions, said he had heard concerns about military tracking for years, but couldn’t find the tag more than tens of feet away, even with more powerful power supplies. Therefore, I insisted that there was no problem. ..
Weapon RFID is “no risk at all,” Collins said. He said the Pentagon’s security concerns were invalid: “Leaders need their staff to give them better guidance.”
However, the Marine Corps’ best weapons expert said he witnessed how the tags were read from a distance during a training exercise in the Southern California Desert in December 2018.
“Using RFID tags for tanks, weapons, and magazines, you can ping them to find the location of your units,” said Wesley Turner, Marine Corps Warrant Officer 5, in a spring interview. Did. “If I can ping it, I can find it and shoot you.”
According to Captain Andrew Wood, the corps has decided not to tag the gun. Doing so strengthens the military’s digital signature on the battlefield and “increases the risk of security / unit protection.”
An Air Force and Army spokesperson said in a written statement that the unit commander could add RFID systems as an additional layer of accountability, but no overall service requirements were planned. Policy experts within the Secretary of Defense did not seem to be aware that the service was tagging firearms.
Pentagon spokesman Orlando was asked why the branch could provide technology that Pentagon planners consider very dangerous, and first tagged the Pentagon with a gun because of security concerns. Said he told him he wasn’t doing it.
Informed that the AP had found a unit that allowed the use of technology, the Pentagon revised its statement, saying it would allow the service sector to explore innovative solutions. “We are trying to balance the current security risk ban on preemption with the flexibility to adopt new technologies as they mature and reduce risk,” the Pentagon said.
LaPorta was reported by Hickman, CA, Pritchard from Los Angeles, and Hall from Nashville, Tennessee. Also contributed by Serginho Roosblad in San Francisco and Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz, California.
Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
AP: Military units track guns using technology that can help enemies | News
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